Itauba decking is a great alternative to ipe for outdoor decking. Itauba looks like ipe, costs much less and is easier to install. The janka hardness is 1900 compared to 2100 for garapa and 3600 for ipe. So, maybe you can expect only 40 years of life out of itauba instead of the 100 years we’d expect for ipe but how many lifetimes of use do you need from your decking. Itauba has the same insect and rot resistance qualities that ipe and most other Brazilian hardwoods offer.
New itauba is light colored with some boards almost as light as pine. Other boards are varied shades of brown and no red. In less than 3 weeks after installation, the boards turn to the same colors of brown as ipe. The first two photos below are ipe. The bottom four photos are itauba – one new and three are browned to the color you should expect within 3 weeks after installation.
Itauba has a unique characteristic in that it displays “oil spots”. Less than 3% of the wood displays a few small (less than dime size) spots that look like faint oil spots. When the boards turn brown, the spots are hardly noticeable. The spots are not made from oil but mineral deposits in the wood.
Itauba is a fantastic ipe lookalike at a fraction of the cost.