While tropical decking of all species is definitely continuing to trend, Ipe and Cumaru are favorites, by far. In addition to Red Balau, Jatoba is another lesser-known species of tropical decking that we think deserves a little more attention. Commonly known within the North American market as “Brazilian Cherry,” this species has largely been utilized for interior flooring, a use for which it’s definitely well-suited. Its deep reddish color along with its remarkable stability and hardness certainly make it perfect for flooring. But Jatoba’s potential isn’t limited to indoor use: it’s also rot and insect-resistant, allowing it to be used commonly for outdoor furniture, siding, and decking.
How does it compare to the more popular decking species, though? Jatoba isn’t as dense or heavy as Ipe or Cumaru, allowing it to acclimate more quickly and easily. At the same time, it’s certainly stable enough to provide a durable decking surface that will last for decades. Let’s take a look at more of what makes Jatoba such a great option for your next deck.
As its nickname implies, Jatoba behaves similar to Cherry, in that its color deepens over time. When you combine that tendency with the color-change scenario that applies to all decking lumber, you realize how important timely treatment will be if you want to retain the beautiful coloring of Jatoba. After initial milling, you’ll want to wait for the color to deepen; you can expedite that process by setting it out in the sun for an afternoon. Once its deep red undertones come out, you’ll want to apply a decking oil in order to keep your Jatoba from fading into a bleached gray.
Unified Indoor-Outdoor Areas
The most remarkable aspect of Jatoba’s appearance isn’t its unique color-changing tendency; it’s the fact that it can blend almost seamlessly with interior flooring. The trend toward a unified area by blending indoor and outdoor areas can really benefit from the use of Jatoba. While it’s important to note that Brazilian Cherry indoor flooring is a different product than Jatoba decking, the fact remains that the two products come from the same kind of tree. (Jatoba decking is kiln-dried to between 12 and 15% moisture content, while indoor Brazilian Cherry flooring is dried to between 6 and 8% moisture and installed as tongue-and-groove flooring.)
Sourcing & Availability
With the amazing cross-over potential of this species, however, comes some issues with sourcing. Because Brazilian Cherry is so popular for indoor flooring, Jatoba decking is more difficult to source. Additional difficulties in sourcing arise due to shipping constraints during the Brazilian rainy season, making finding a consistent source difficult. Thanks to J. Gibson McIlvain’s decades-long relationships with reliable Brazilian suppliers, we can provide our customers with a consistently high quality inventory of Jatoba suited to both indoor and outdoor applications.
Continue reading with Part 2.