Massaranduba: Budget-Friendly Tropical Decking

mcilvain lumberyardAmong the many exotic hardwood decking species, Massaranduba probably wins for having the most tongue-twisting name. It also provides a more budget-friendly price tag than the ever-popular Ipe while retaining many of the same highly prized qualities.

The sizeable Massaranduba tree grows prolifically across Central and South America. On average, these trees grow to heights of 100 to 150 feet, with trunk widths typically measuring between 24 and 48 inches, but sometimes topping 60 inches in diameter. The remarkable height and trunk diameter combine with the trunk’s long, straight bole to provide an abundance of straight grain yield with very little waste. Between the high availability of Massaranduba trees and the vast amount of usable wood each tree provides, it’s easy to understand how the high supply allows Massaranduba to be reasonably priced, despite its praiseworthy qualities. In addition to price, this easy-to-grow species can thrive in a variety of soil types, making it highly sustainable, as well.

Also commonly referred to as Brazilian Redwood, Massaranduba has a reddish brown heartwood but a pale brown sapwood, with a subtle distinction between. With exposure to the elements, this wood will take on a silvery hue; however, retaining the red coloring can be achieved with periodic treatments using a solution such as Messmer’s deck oil with UV inhibitor. This strong, hard wood has earned the species another nickname: “Bulletwood.” In fact, its hardness is ranked at 2890, more than double that of Red Oak at 1260.

mcilvain lumberyardDespite its remarkable hardness, this wood still machines well, causing no major blunting to cutting edges. It can be planed to a smooth surface that nails and screws well, but pre-boring is preferred.Nicely finished Massaranduba can be polished to a high shine. The straight, indistinct grain and lack of knots provides a fine, uniform texture many of our customers value. Other nicknames for the species include Acana, Beefwood, Paraju, and Red balata.

Massaranduba boasts many qualities that make it ideal as a decking species. Resistant to both decay and insects, Massaranduba is a dense, durable species. At the same time, the wood can warp and check badly during drastic or sudden shifts in temperature and moisture, making it less than ideal for installation in some climates. Such movement issues can be reduced by equalizing moisture content via kiln drying. Proper finishing, combined with the same oil treatments that can help retain the gorgeous red color of Massaranduba, can help control potential movement problems.

mcilvain truck doorFrequently used in interior flooring, stair treads, and billiard cues, Massaranduba is an increasingly popular tropical hardwood decking species. Along with Cumaru, Sapele, and Ipe, J. Gibson McIlvain carries an inventory of high-quality Massaranduba for our discriminating decking customers who want a budget-friendly, highly sustainable option.

J. Gibson McIlvain Company

Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company ( is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods. As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.

To order Massaranduba, contact a lumber sales representative at J. Gibson McIlvain Company by calling toll free 800-638-9100.

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