Sometimes you can get confused with different offers of ipe decking. This occurs as sapwood ipe (sometimes called ipe brancal) is not so common decking as heartwood ipe (usually called only as ipe). But what is ipe brancal?
To understand the difference you should consider two parts of a tree log: heartwood and sapwood as shown in the following picture.
Ipe decking and Ipe Brancal decking are extracted from the same species but in different parts of the log. Ipe brancal is extracted from sapwood while ipe decking comes from the heartwood (the kernel of a log).
Heartwood and sapwood ipe are differentiated by color. Heartwood is brown or brown-kernel with yellowish or greenish reflections. Sapwood is yellowish-white.
Both parts present hard density, fine texture and are hard to cut.
Both types of ipe wood can be used for decking. In fact, few hardwood species are as tough as ipe for making decking boards.
Prices are determined by customer’s preferences and marketing strategies. This way dark color of ipe heartwood is considered more valuable than ipe brancal.
Having knowing that, you should realize that ipe brancal can be a good value for your money. Next time you buy decking, consider also quoting sapwood ipe. You will get surprised with its quality and beauty.