Choosing a Decking Material: How Tigerwood Stacks Up
For decades, cedar decking has consistently remained one of the most popular Northwest decking materials. Portland homeowners love the look and feel of natural wood, as opposed to the many synthetics on the market. Over the past few years, however, consumers have become increasingly interested in exotic hardwood decks.
Hardwood decking is all the rage due to its renowned durability and rich, lavish appearance. Although there are a number of well-known hardwoods on the market, from Ipe to teak to Brazilian cherry, Tigerwood decking is becoming a popular alternative because it offers the quality and durability of hardwood yet is less expensive than many of the other options available. Also known as Goncalo Alves, Brazilian Koa or Muiracatiara, Tigerwood typically comes from managed forests in Brazil.
When choosing their decking materials, Portland consumers often try to strike a balance between appearance, durability and environmental considerations. Following is a look at how Tigerwood decking stacks up to other decking materials.
Unlike cedar decking, which is a soft wood that requires regular staining or sealing to protect it from the elements, hardwood decks can last for decades without any preservatives. Tigerwood decking also has more than double the Janka hardness rating of cedar, which means it’s more resistant to scratching, splintering and other damage that can occur with vigorous use.
Between its hardness and its natural resistance to rot and decay, Tigerwood decking performs well in rainy climates such as Portland and Seattle. While cedar decking is also resistant to decay, it tends to weather more quickly than hardwood and needs the help of preservatives to extend its lifespan.
Tigerwood decking has a distinct appearance that sets it apart not only from cedar decking, but from other hardwoods on the market. It ranges in color from light golden brown to reddish brown, with striking irregular black and brown streaks. Homeowners are often drawn to its sophisticated, upscale look.
When shopping for low-maintenance decking materials, Portland homeowners often feel they must trade the natural appearance of a wood deck for a synthetic alternative such as composite or PVC decking. While advances in synthetic decking have brought it closer than ever to mimicking the appearance of wood, many consumers don’t like the idea of including plastic in their decking materials.
Tigerwood decking offers the best of both worlds, as it’s considered a low-maintenance decking material. Its durability means no regular staining or sealing is required, yet it’s also made entirely of natural, biodegradable wood.
Consumers often express concern about whether buying an exotic hardwood deck will contribute to deforestation in South America. While it’s true that Tigerwood decking is harvested in Brazil and must be transported to the United States, there are environmental benefits and pitfalls to all types of decking materials.
Portland homeowners like the fact that cedar, for example, is native to the region. However, cedar decking has a shorter lifespan than other types of decks, so it must be replaced more often. On the other hand, while composite and PVC decking last longer and don’t put a strain on forests, they are not biodegradable like natural wood.
Tigerwood decking strikes a balance between the two. It’s typically sustainably harvested from managed forests and lasts longer than cedar decking, so it doesn’t need to be replaced as often. Yet it contains no plastic and doesn’t require toxic stains or sealants that can damage the environment.
Choosing the right decking materials for your home depends a lot on personal preference and what your priorities are. Fortunately for consumers, today’s market offers a wealth of options, from cedar to hardwood to synthetic decking.