5 Reasons Why We Invested in Brazilian Hardwood

Five Reasons Why We Invested In Brazilian Hardwood Decking

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Brazilian hardwood wasn’t even on my radar until six months ago. I was completely unfamiliar with it; in fact, the only decking I had encountered before was pressure-treated pine and composite. If you had asked Brian and me a year ago what material we plan to use for our deck rebuild, we would have told you pressure-treated lumber.

Affordable and readily available, pressure-treated lumber is a typical go-to for decking. We figured we’d pick some up, learn how to put a deck together, and then wait a few months before staining it. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

So, why did we change our minds?

Decking Options

Somewhere along the way (about six months ago, to be exact), I began to look into the finer details of sourcing materials for our deck project. I was specifically searching for KDAT (kiln dried after treatment) lumber. Brian and I had this idea in our heads that we wanted to avoid the moisture, warping, and shrinking of standard pressure-treated lumber.

KDAT isn’t available at any of the Home Depot or Lowe’s locations around us, so I did some research and found a few online retailers, along with a handful of local lumber yards. As I’m reading along, I come across a wood that surpasses the quality and durability of KDAT: Brazilian hardwood!

Granted, it’s more than five times the cost of pressure-treated lumber, but only 20% more expensive than KDAT. Fortunately, some local lumber yards stock KDAT and Brazilian hardwood species. Brian and I headed out to learn more about our options.

Brazilian Hardwood

After seeing and learning about the differences between KDAT and Brazilian hardwoods in person, Brian and I decided to splurge on the hardwood. Even though we could have completed our decking with standard pressure-treated wood at a fraction of the price, we wanted to try something different. In the end, the overall durability, longevity, and natural beauty of Brazilian hardwood won us over.

Cumaru

Cumaru (pronounced coo-mah-roo), also known as Brazilian Teak, is a tropical hardwood that is 100% natural and has natural weatherproof properties. While it may not possess the same level of strength as the highly favored Ipe (ee-pay), another Brazilian hardwood, Cumaru comes close. Though these hardwoods are fairly similar, we selected Cumaru for our decking due to its price point and color variation.

Working with Cumaru was a great experience. Brian and I have zero regrets about spending extra money on Brazilian hardwood. Although it’s pricey, we value our purchase and see it as an investment.

Here are five reasons why we made the switch to Brazilian hardwood decking:

1. It’s naturally resistant to decay, insects, and fungi.

Pressure-treated lumber eventually breaks down from moisture and insect damage. Brian and I experienced this deterioration at our previous home as well as at our current one. We were interested in acquiring a stronger material, one that would offer the best protection against rot. Tropical hardwoods have natural oils that provide natural resistance to weather, insects, and rot.

2. It has a long lifespan.

Admittedly, Brian and I have no interest in rebuilding our deck again. Don’t get me wrong—we had a blast with it! However, we intended to build our deck in such a way that it would last for a long, long time. As the second-hardest Brazilian hardwood, Cumaru is known to last well over 50 years.

3. It’s incredibly low-maintenance.

Once installed, Brazilian hardwood decking requires little maintenance. It’s recommended to clean it once or twice a year, which involves spraying it down with a hose or using a deck cleaner. The hardwood can be left to weather to a natural silver-grey appearance, or a natural decking oil can be applied every 1 to 2 years to preserve the original coloring of the hardwood. Oiling is purely aesthetic, as Brazilian hardwood requires no protective treatments.

4. We love the character and warmth of the natural wood grain.

Not only is Brazilian hardwood highly durable and long-lasting, but it’s also extremely beautiful! We sincerely appreciate the natural color-shading and wood grain variations throughout our Cumaru selection. It’s unique, stunning, and very different from what we would see from pressure-treated wood.

5. Our DIY route provided budget flexibility and the freedom to try something new.

We learned that installing Brazilian hardwood is more cumbersome than installing pressure-treated wood. It’s remarkably dense and requires carbide-tipped blades for cutting, as well as pre-drilling to prevent cracking. We’d never worked with Brazilian hardwood before, so we took on the challenge! It took some time to install 500 sq. ft. of Cumaru, but we wouldn’t have done it any other way.

The DIY route allowed us to pick and choose where we spent our money. Since we weren’t paying for labor costs, we were able to invest more in our materials.

As Brian and I have learned, no one else will ever care about your project as much as you do. With this in mind, we decided to move forward with Cumaru decking and slowly learned how to install it properly, even when that meant only installing a couple of boards a day.

Finding the Value

Despite the hefty price tag, we are very happy with our purchase. Brian and I find value in rebuilding for the better. While it’s true that we could have spent far less on decking, we ultimately wanted to avoid the shorter lifespan and maintenance of pressure-treated wood. Brazilian hardwood costs more upfront, but we end up saving on maintenance, effort, and energy in the long run.

Would you ever consider investing in Brazilian hardwood decking?

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2 Responses

  1. I have to admit that I’m more than a little envious of the choice to use Brazilian hardwood instead of the less expensive PT decking. My own 30X14′ deck, while less expensive to purchase, requires yearly maintenance to keep it looking good. I once considered using composites for the deck, however that material holds the summer days heat well into the evening. It also has a tendency to bow between the stringers unless you install additional supports. I applaud your choice for the better material and wish you many years of entertaining on it.

    1. Thank youuuu! We appreciate it 🙂 Honestly, we initially struggled with the decision to purchase Brazilian Hardwood because of the price difference; PT is much more affordable! Like you, Brian and I briefly considered composite, but its heat retention and predisposition to warping (without additional supports) discouraged us from looking into it any further. We’re happy we learned about cumaru and are looking forward to spending time out on our deck!

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