Mahogany Decking Cost Guide
Decks and wooden walkways can add beauty and value to any home, but the variety of wood available can make choosing materials an overwhelming task. Each species of wood that is used in deck applications has unique features and benefits relative to cost. However, mahogany offers a balanced compromise between price and value that makes it a great choice for outdoor applications such as decks.
Basic quality wood averaging $8.03 to $8.38 a square foot.
Better quality wood averaging $8.82 to $9.90 a square foot
Best quality wood averaging $9.57 to $10.55 a square foot
Advantages of Mahogany
Common deck Mohogany is durable. It has a Janka hardness rating of 800, respectable when compared to the 1290 industry standard. It stands up well to weather and resists rot thanks to the properties of the wood. The grain has an attractive dense pattern, and the colors can range from a light blond to rich dark red. Mahogany has the unique quality of not splintering, even when the wood has been damaged. It’s a great wood for a deck that will stand up to children and not cause painful injuries to bare feet.
Disadvantages of Mahogany
While there are a number of reasons to choose mahogany for an outdoor flooring project, it may not be for everyone. For DIY projects, mahogany may not be the best choice. Its durability is also a disadvantage in that it is difficult to cut. Mahogany also requires treatment to maintain the beautiful color for which it is often chosen. Two types of "lesser mahogany," Cambara and Meranti, have a speckled wood grain that can collect dirt and debris.
Types of Well-Known Mahogany
There are four well known varieties of mahogany.
While, in theory, it is possible to use any kind of mahogany for decks, the variety known as Honduran Mahogany has become scarce and expensive thanks to careless deforestation of the Amazon basin in Honduras, where it originated. This wood is more commonly used for furniture and interior applications that will not be subjected to the wear and tear associated with decks and flooring, or outdoor use.
The second best known mahogany is called Cambara Mahogany, which is the most common deck mahogany. Cambara is native to Brazil, and is known for a more consistent color than the other common deck mahogany choice. The heartwood tends to be a deep reddish brown, with the sapwood tending toward grey. However, it is easy to get a very consistent-looking deck when Cambara is the choice. Cambara also tends to be easy to stain, so that one can treat the wood and adjust the color to suit.
The third type of mahogany, and second that is commonly used for decks, is called Meranti Mahogany. Meranti grows in the Philippines and is also known by the name Luan. It is a beautiful wood that, like the other mahoganies, will stand up well to foot traffic and resist rot and splintering. Meranti is sometimes seen as less desirable than Cambara only because the wood tends to be inconsistent in color. Even a single plank can range from dark red to light brown. However, this can also be a positive, depending on one’s aesthetic tastes, and the variations in the wood can create a beautiful and natural-looking deck.
Lastly, a type of “mahogany” that has only come into common use more recently is Ipe, or Brazilian Walnut. Ipe has a stunning Janka hardness rating of 3680. Because of its density, Ipe wood is heavy and somewhat difficult to prepare for commercial applications like furniture. Ipe is a wonderful choice for decks because of its durability. It can last more than 25 years, is resistant to rot, insects, damage and even fire. The color of the wood can range from blackish brown to deep red, or even a yellowed olive brown.
Things to Know
While mahoganies are an excellent choice for outdoor flooring applications, there are some things that are important to know. For one, high quality stainless steel hardware is necessary to prevent the resin that makes mahogany so durable from reacting and causing an unattractive blackness in the hardware. For the socially or environmentally conscious, it is also important to choose wood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The council works to ensure that wood is sustainably and responsibly sources, to protect precious resources like the rainforests. It is also important to make sure mahogany is properly treated before being used for deck applications. Kiln dried deck wood is appropriate to be used. Mahogany can also be treated with stains and sealants to extend its life and prevent a silver patina that forms on aged wood. While laying the deck, it is important to leave 1/4-inch spacing between boards, horizontally, to allow for seasonal expansion. No spacing is required for the ends of boards, as mahogany does not expand lengthwise. Adequate air flow beneath the deck, as well as maintenance that includes keeping wet materials like leaves and debris away from the deck, is necessary to extend the lifespan of the wood to its full potential.
Overall, mahogany is a great choice for porches, decks, patios, and other outdoor uses around the home.
A dense, durable, rot resistant wood
Attractive in color with a tight grain and many shades
A good balance of value and affordability
It holds up well to frequent use, encompasses a variety of attractive colors while not having an overly finished look and will endure for many years. The pleasures of a mahogany deck balance price, aesthetics and durability.
Last updated on Nov 18, 2015
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