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Durable Hardwood Decking: Ipe vs Machiche For Outside Decking

When choosing durable hardwood decking, choosing between hardwood decking options such as Ipe lumber or Machiche lumber. We will go through the different characteristics Ipe lumber and Machiche lumber.


Scientific name: Tabebuia spp
Common names: Brazilian walnut, Lapacho negro, Tahuari, Amapa

Ipe hardwood lumber is a good option when looking for FSC certified lumber. Ipe has great characteristics that make it great as durable hardwood decking such as resistant to wear, rot, splintering, termites, fire, chemicals, and marine borers. Ipe contains no added chemicals, which makes it ideal to be used near water without potential contamination. Ipe is mainly used in residential and commercial wood products ex boardwalks, piers, hardwood decking, benches, bridges, and fences. Not only is Ipe extremely resistant to wear and moisture, there is little checking, twisting and/or bowing making it very low maintenance. It has a very tight interlocked grain that makes it extremely hard and dense causing it to have high cutting resistance and difficult to glue properly without proper surface preparation. Due to its extreme density, Ipe can be difficult to finish due to its chemical make up that interferes with absorption of wood stains and top coats. The lifespan of Ipe is 3-5 times long than redwood or cedar lumber with a lifespan of over 25 years.

Durable hardwood decking - Ipe lumber

Unfinished, sanded Ipe

Durable hardwood decking - Ipe lumber

Sealed Ipe







Scientific name: Lonchocarpus castilloi
Common names: Mayan Mahogany, Black cabbage bark

Machiche hardwood lumber is very easy and readily available to find FSC certified. Machiche is also a great alternative option for durable hardwood decking. When building on a budget, FSC Machiche is cheaper to buy than FSC Ipe. Machiche lumber has a Class A fire rating that makes it excellent to be used in residential and commercial wood products ex boardwalks, piers, hardwood decking, benches, bridges, and fences. It has a slight lower density than Ipe which makes it easier to mill and finish; yet durable enough to resistant termites and decay. Machiche is highly resistant to shrinking, splintering, twisting and cupping and ages gracefully to a slight silvery patina if it weather naturally. Machiche is twice as hard as Oak and has a lifespan of over 25 years.


Unfinished, sanded Machiche


Sealed Machiche







Images used by permission of The Wood Database.