GARAPA - A Great Alternative to IPE

We are often asked when designing and building a high-end deck or other exotic hardwood feature – what’s the best type of wood to use, Ipe or Garapa? American Cedar & Millwork is experienced with, and offers, both Ipe and Garapa and Ipe tends to be the preferred choice with builders. However, considering current market conditions and the minimal differences between Ipe and Garapa, we think it’s time to give Garapa a second look. 

Current lead times for Garapa are significantly shorter than those for Ipe.  Garapa costs less versus Ipe.  And, as they age, Garapa and Ipe develop a silvery finish looking virtually the same, the look many builders, architects and homeowners are going for when they purchase Ipe.  And they both stand up to the test of time.  These are all significant variables to keep in mind when choosing between Garapa and Ipe for your project.

Following are the specs for each wood and the benefits of each.


  • Originally a golden yellow color. When it oxidizes it turns to a beautiful amber tint.
  • Silvers with age
  • softer than Ipe but harder than cedar, composite, or pressure treated woods. It is as stable as Ipe.
  • A little lighter than Ipe but not significantly
  • Requires staining to keep from turning the natural gray
  • Class A Fire rating same as steel
  • Medium to High rot resistance but less than Ipe.
  • Insect and Rot resistance like Ipe
  • Less expensive than Ipe
  • Has a 25+ year life span as a deck wood


  • Silvers with Age
  • Extremely hard
  • Heavy wood
  • Requires staining to keep from turning the natural gray
  • Class A fire rating (same as steel and concrete)
  • Twice as dense and 5 times as hard as pressure treated wood
  • Available in long lengths
  • Virtually defect free
  • Little to no warping
  • Requires pre-drilling and or hidden fasteners
  • Has a 40+ year life span as a deck wood

Garapa is beautiful and very popular in modern architecture and has the incomparable durability of tropic hardwoods. At a lesser price and shorter lead times, it may be time to consider Garapa over Ipe.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like advice on a project!