If you’re looking for a beautiful tropical wood product for your home or deck, garapa is an outstanding choice. This durable wood lasts for decades, providing a charming appearance that’s easy to care for and maintain. With proper upkeep, you can enjoy the distinctive look of garapa for years to come, with or without its naturally silver patina that can develop with age. Understanding the basics of garapa wood care will help you get the most from your deck. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Garapa Wood?
Garapa wood, also known as Brazilian ash, is a popular material for everything from siding and decking to furniture and fences. It has a straight grain and ranges in color from pale yellow to a deep golden brown. Over time, this wood develops a silver patina. Many homeowners find this a charming look and enjoy allowing garapa to age naturally and change color over the years. However, you can also preserve garapa’s natural hue with an ultraviolet (UV) inhibitor.
Garapa naturally resists pests, rot, and extreme weather. With a Janka hardness rating of 1,650 pounds, garapa is harder than cedar and redwood, though it’s softer than similar tropical woods such as ipe. This provides both pros and cons. Garapa doesn’t have ipe’s outstanding hardness, but this makes garapa easier to work with, from the lighter weight associated with shipping it to the enhanced malleability when cutting and shaping the wood.
Properly cared for, garapa can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years. Compare this to a pressure- treated board that can break down in as little as five years or a composite board that will last for around a decade. Garapa is an excellent investment that you can continue enjoying for many years.
How to Care For Garapa Wood
Some woods require a lot of attention and special treatment, but garapa is relatively low maintenance. You can keep garapa decking looking new by hosing it down periodically with a garden hose and scrubbing it with a basic soap and water solution. Use a stiff non-metallic brush to remove any stubborn dirt or grime from the surface. Garapa’s high density and natural oils help it resist insects, mold, and mildew. However, this wood isn’t immune to these types of issues. If the decking gets neglected, it can develop problems over time.
Immediately clean up any spills on your deck. If you’ve sealed the wood with oil, liquids won’t penetrate unless they’re left to sit for a long time. A prompt cleaning can keep your deck looking like new. Sweep leaves, twigs, and debris off your deck at least once a week. You may need to sweep more often in the autumn or stormy seasons. Allowing debris to sit invites moisture and pests.
Once a year, you should give your garapa deck a thorough cleaning. Following the instructions above, scrub down every part of the decking until you get down to the wood. This is all you need to do if you’re allowing your deck to develop a patina. If you don’t want your deck to develop this patina, you should apply a UV protectant once a year.
How to Restore Garapa Wood Decking
Several options exist if your garapa looks too aged and you’d like to restore your deck to a richer, fresher look. If your deck has developed a deep patina that you want to remove, you may need to begin by gently sanding the wood. We only recommend this in cases where you’re addressing years of aging and aren’t satisfied with the current color of your deck. If you’re restoring your deck from only a moderate amount of age and wear, you can skip this step.
Restore your deck to a beautiful finish with a penetrating deck oil formulated for garapa, such as linseed or Brazilian rosewood oil. Products that contain trans-oxide pigments will help produce a natural wood finish. You should select a day when the temperature is below 90 degrees Fahrenheit but above 40 degrees. It can take several days for oil to dry completely, so plan accordingly for a time when you can stay off your deck for a while.
Clean your deck thoroughly before applying the oil. Remove all furniture and decor to work on as much deck space as possible. You can typically apply oil with a roller or a brush, though you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Wipe off excess oil with a rag as you work. In hot, sunny conditions, you should work in smaller sections, so the oil doesn’t sit too long before you wipe it down.
Tips for Garapa Deck Installation
Though you’re undoubtedly excited about the possibilities for your new garapa deck, you shouldn’t rush into the installation process. Garapa needs between seven and 14 days to acclimate to the environment. This means that you should keep the wood on-site for a week or two to get it used to the conditions before you start the building process. This will prevent significant shrinkage or expansion in the future.
You can pre-drill your garapa boards, fasten them directly to the deck joists, or install your deck using concealed deck fasteners. If you’re not familiar with deck installation, you should work with a professional installation company to make sure the boards are properly prepared and installed for the maximum lifespan.
Applying a UV inhibiting finish immediately after installation is best to help your deck acclimate to the environment. If you want a patina on your deck, you can allow the finish to wear off over time.
Caring for and maintaining garapa is relatively easy. However, you may want to invest in the services of a professional restoration company every few years to keep your decking in prime condition. Our team at Teak Master is knowledgeable in all the unique needs associated with garapa decking. We can provide outstanding refinishing services tailored to your home. Feel free to get in touch with us to learn more.