In the commercial and residential decking market today there are many options for long lasting, low maintenance, and attractive lumber. Although there is a market for synthetic and composite products, J. Gibson McIlvain focuses on the high end commerical decks and docks and luxurious residential decks that are synonymous with tropical hardwood decking.
Our experience has proven to us that nothing can beat the durability and beauty of a tropical hardwood deck. Composite products have proven over the last 20-30 years that they do not boast the same colorfastness or durability as hardwoods like Ipe, Cumaru, Teak, Massaranduba, or Tigerwood. Additionally, more public awareness of sustainability issues, the public would be glad to know that tropical hardwood decking is one of the “greenest” options available today. We specialize in Teak and Ipe decking, but we carry and offer exceptional expertise on all these products.
J. Gibson McIlvain has built long standing relationships with mills in South America and Southeast Asia to ensure we always have quality lumber in stock. We also aim to stock FSC lumber whenever possible.
The Teak lumber we sell is usually requested by the boat building industry, and we maintain a massive inventory as one of the largest importers of Teak lumber in the country. Although the wood is traditionally used in boat building, it has found another market in private homes. High end decks and interior flooring and trim look simply beautiful in Teak. The practical indestructible nature of Teak makes it an excellent decking product.
Ipe is the undisputed decking hardwood of choice. The density, extreme stability, and resistance to rot and decay make this species perfect for decks of all shapes and sizes. In fact, Ipe is so dense that it actually has a class A fire rating. Once installed, Ipe has shown to have a 40+ year lifespan. It can be left to weather to a silvery hue or, with periodic treatment of timber oils, it can keep it’s rich reddish brown luster.
As the costs of Ipe continue to rise, J. Gibson McIlvain continues to search for alternatives at lower costs. It is hard to beat the characteristics of Ipe, but we have found with extensive experimentation that Cumaru is a solid alternative. While not quite as stable as Ipe, when dried properly and allowed time for acclimatization, Cumaru will not move or check much at all. Because of this lesser stability, we only stock 5/4 thickness at J. Gibson McIlvain, and this controls the movement of the wood. Cumaru can be found in brown or yellow variants, depending on the color of your choice. Like Ipe, it is very dense and hard, and it also shares the same decay and rot resistance. Unlike, Ipe, Cumaru does require kiln drying in order to achieve satisfactory stability so additional sourcing time is required required. We recognize a growing trend for good decking alternatives to Ipe and feel that Cumaru offers the best opportunity for a lower cost without much compromise in terms of quality and durability.
We do offer other species options if Ipe or Cumaru aren’t what you need. Massaranduba (Brazilian Redwood), and Tigerwood are even more affordable alternatives and are available in smaller quantities if you feel one of these types of wood best suits your project.
Our staff is highly experienced and knows a great deal about decking materials and how they will behave in different climates and environments. We are happy to help you decide which species is right for your job, and we can ship your selection to anywhere in the country