What’s the Difference between Teak & Ipe Wood Outdoor Furniture?
Teak and Ipe are attractive and durable woods that lend themselves to the fabrication of high quality and long-lasting outdoor furniture. Teak has been traditionally grown in Asia, while Ipe grows in Central America and South America. Both have experienced unlawful harvesting and currently have regulated cultivation. It is likely that choosing either one will bring you low-maintenance satisfaction for decades to come.
Teak is a long-prized hardwood used to make both indoor and outdoor furnishings. It possesses natural oils that protect it in exposed locations from termites and other pests. Even when oil, varnish or sealant isn’t applied, it continues to be durable. Cultivated teak is often called plantation teak. It is also of superior quality and performs on par with old-growth teak. It can, however, be more susceptible to UV exposure, and color changes may result.
Most commercially cultivated teak is grown on teak plantations in Indonesia and controlled by Perum Perhutani, an organization that manages the country’s forests. The lion’s share of this teak is utilized to produce outdoor teak furniture for export. Kerala,located in southern India, is home to the world’s oldest Teak plantation.
Teak is a very costly and valuable wood, so it’s not surprising that illegal teak logging is still going on in Myanmar as well as at other locations. You can help protect old growth teak forests by being careful to purchase only those teak furnishings made with cultivated wood. Teak is cultivated on plantations in the Americas, including the west coast of Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. This cultivated teak is closer to U.S. locations, which affords those purchasing furnishings transportation savings and overall better prices.
Ipe is a tropical hardwood tree that grows abundantly in Central America and South America. It thrives in numerous types of ecosystems, including marsh, riverbank and even on high ridge lines. Capable of reaching a height of 140 feet and spanning up to 6 feet in diameter, Ipe is one of the tallest trees in the Amazon region.
When compared to teak, Ipe has nearly four times the hardness and is so dense that it actually sinks in water. Concrete and steel have a class 1 fire rating—and so does Ipe. It has many other names, but the one that stands out is ironwood. The quality of this wood is appreciated because like teak, it’s durable, insect resistant and decay resistant. These superb qualities make it ideal for the fabrication of outdoor furniture, with coloring and grain that give it pleasing tone and quality.
Ipe is chocolate colored when new. Over time, sunlight transforms the color into an elegant silver patina. And quality furniture made from Ipe has the same fine look as teak. FSC® certified Ipe means that the wood is harvested in an environmentally responsible way. You can read more about the physical characteristics of Ipe in the Wood Database.
Jensen Leisure Furniture has an extensive line of easy-to-care-for outdoor furniture crafted from 100% FSC® certified wood source materials.
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