Premium Garapa Lumber: Beautiful and Affordable Brazilian Hardwood
Hardwoods are a popular choice for exterior projects thanks to their incredible strength, durability, and beauty. Premium Garapa lumber is no exception. Installed and taken care of properly, decks made with this gorgeous golden wood can last as long as 25 years, even in harsh climates.
While Garapa is often compared with Ipe, another Brazilian hardwood, this unique wood is in a league of its own. Read on to learn more about Garapa lumber and reach out to the marine lumber experts at Decks & Docks if you have any questions – we’re more than happy to help you decide on the best material for your next project.
What is Garapa?
Also known as “Grapia” or “Brazilian Ash”, Garapa is an exotic hardwood exported from South America. An affordable alternative to denser hardwoods like Ipe and Cumaru, Garapa is still twice as strong as softwoods like cedar, redwood, and pine. This makes it a suitable outdoor building material for homeowners on a budget.
Garapa is known for its long lifespan, and natural resistance to rot, insects, heat, and splintering. But most of all, this wood is known for its spectacular sun-kissed color. From light yellow to gold, any shade of this wood is sure to make your deck stand out.
How is it Used?
Strong, durable, and scratch-resistant, Garapa is the perfect choice for outdoor projects such as decks, porches, siding, railing and furniture. Because it isn’t as hard as Ipe, it may not be the best choice for a commercial project that will undergo a lot of wear and tear. But for the average homeowner, a Garapa deck can easily withstand daily use.
What Does Garapa Look Like?
Garapa is considerably lighter than Ipe. Available in shades of light yellow, bronze, and gold, this hardwood’s warm, honeyed hues are undeniably gorgeous. The graining of this exotic wood is just as appealing, similar to the fine graining of mahogany or maple. No two pieces of Garapa wood are the same – your deck will be a unique work of art.
Like Ipe, Garapa will begin to fade if it is not refinished regularly, but some people actually prefer the weathered wood’s soft silvery hue. If you’d rather keep the color of your deck as rich as the day it was installed, simply apply a UV-inhibiting oil to the surface once a year.
Benefits of Garapa Lumber
Garapa has all of the same qualities that make hardwoods so appealing for exterior projects, including durability, insect resistance, rot resistance, and longevity. But the benefit that makes this lumber stand out from other hardwoods is its affordability.
For homeowners, the price point of Garapa lumber is just right. Softwoods are cheaper, but not as durable. Hardwoods like Ipe and Cumaru are more durable but more expensive. Garapa is the perfect compromise, giving homeowners the strength they need for outdoor projects without breaking the bank. Combined with Garapa’s long lifespan, it’s a worthwhile investment.
Of course, you shouldn’t base your decision on cost alone. If you’re between using Ipe and Garapa for your next project, consider what you’re looking to get out of your lumber and what you’d like the final appearance to be.
Garapa combines the beauty of natural wood with the durability of a composite material. High density and hardness make it well-suited for harsh outdoor environments, And with a natural bending strength of 12,900 psi, a deck made with Garapa lumber is extremely sturdy. It won’t creak or bounce when walked on.
Garapa is also scratch-resistant, making it a great choice for outdoor decks and patios. You can walk and move furniture around without worrying about making ugly scrapes in the wood.
Insect & Fungus Resistant
Despite being a type of wood, Garapa is naturally resistant to termites, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, and other wood-eating pests. This is thanks to the wood’s high density and natural oils which make it difficult for insects to penetrate it. Just remember that insect-resistant doesn’t mean insect-proof – it’s still a good idea to have your deck and the rest of your home inspected for termites every year or two.
Like insects, water also has a hard time penetrating this dense hardwood, making it naturally resistant to fungus and rot as well. If you live in a humid or rainy climate, this natural moisture resistance is an essential benefit.
How much maintenance you put into a Garapa deck largely depends on what color you want the deck to be. If you’d like the wood to maintain its deep golden hue, annual refinishing with a UV inhibitor will do the trick. If you’d rather not refinish and let the wood weather to its natural silver color, it won’t affect the lifespan of your deck. Unlike softwoods, it doesn’t need to be treated to maintain its natural durability.
Aside from the optional annual refinishing, Garapa is extremely low maintenance – simply remove dirt and leaves with a broom or a hose. We don’t recommend pressure washing because using too much pressure will damage the wood. However, if you do decide to pressure wash, use no more than 1,200 psi.
Treat & Protect Your Garapa Deck
Hardwoods like Garapa, Ipe, and Cumaru are loved for their appearance and how easy it is to maintain that appearance. To keep your golden Garapa deck looking as brilliant as the day it was installed, we recommend using the Penofin Hardwood Formula. Formulated to penetrate and protect hardwoods while still allowing their natural beauty to shine through, applying this treatment once a year is an easy way to keep your deck or patio in perfect condition. Just stop by your nearest Decks & Docks location to grab a gallon!