Considering Ipe vs Black Locust for your deck or other outdoor project? Here’s what you need to know about how Ipe compares to Black Locust.
Background on Ipe vs Black Locust
For the past 20 years, trees marketed as Ipe have been a popular choice for high-end, long-lasting decking boards. Ipe has been prized for its strength, rot-resistance, and attractive appearance. But recently the global population of the 106 different species that comprise Ipe has declined rapidly, heading towards the brink of extinction.
This is mainly because Ipe trees take hundreds of years to grow to a harvestable height. And they can only survive in low-densities, which means forests can only support 1 Ipe tree per several acres.
Environmentally conscious homeowners and landscape architects began seeking a sustainable alternative to Ipe, which has led to the re-birth in the use of Black Locust.
For hundreds of years, Black Locust was ubiquitous in outdoor projects on the east coast of the United States. This included fence posts, foundational timbers, boat building, railroad ties and more. It’s native to most of the Eastern USA and re-grows incredibly quickly, so there is always a renewable supply. Like Ipe, Black Locust is strong, rot-resistant, and attractive. Ironically, it fell out of favor because it re-grows incredibly quickly and at a high-density. In fact, some people consider it an invasive species. And it’s so long-lasting that once it was installed, it would essentially never need to be replaced.
Everything old is new again and today Black Locust is resuming its role as the sustainable wood of choice for outdoor projects. Here’s a breakdown that compares Ipe vs Black Locust. Use this information to decide which product makes sense for your outdoor wood project.