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Aesthetic Appeal of Ipe and Philippine Mahogany – Which One Suits Your Style?

There are plenty of durable woods to choose from for your next furniture piece or deck. For long-lasting durability, it’s always a good idea to opt for solid wood or lumber. Having said that, there are a variety of types of lumber available in the market. For example, Philippine Mahogany and Ipe.

In this blog, let’s do a comparison of Ipe vs Mahogany – and see which of them is more suited to your style. 

Ipe vs Mahogany – An Overview

Philippine mahogany is a form of deciduous tree that loses leaves during the winter season. This tropical hardwood tree is native to the Americas region but is also found in parts of Oceania and Asia. Reddish brown in color, Philippine mahogany wood is hard and dense, making it resistant to moisture and pests.

Ipe is another deciduous tropical tree found mainly in the Americas and South America. Referred to as Brazilian walnut, Ipe wood ranges in color from reddish brown to yellowish olive brown. This wood is also hard, durable, and resistant to fungus and pests.

Ipe vs Mahogany – Key Differences

Both Philippine mahogany and Ipe are visually appealing and ideal for outdoor furniture and decks. At 3,680 lb, Ipe wood is much harder than mahogany, whose hardness stands at 760 lb. The weight of mahogany wood stands at roughly 800 kg per cubic meter, which makes it heavy and dense. However, Ipe wood weighs much more at around 1,100 kg per cubic meter.

How do these woods fare in terms of pest and moisture resistance? While mahogany is highly resistant to these elements, Ipe takes the crown due to its heaviness and extreme density. 

Next, let’s discuss the aesthetic differences between these two hardwoods.

  • Appearance

With its reddish-brown color, mahogany wood looks good on any type of outdoor furniture. It has a straight and tight grain appearance with fewer knots and gaps.

On the other hand, Ipe wood has a straight and wavy design with interlocked grains. Comparing the two woods, Philippine mahogany wood provides a better appearance, based on your preferences. However, Ipe wood, with its straight, wavy grains, provides a nice and smooth finish to outdoor decks.

  • Wood color

Both Philippine mahogany and Ipe woods have distinctly recognizable wood colors. Genuine mahogany wood color ranges from pink to a reddish-brown or reddish-orange color. On the other hand, Ipe wood color ranges from dark blackish brown to reddish-brown. 

Like any natural wood, the colors of these woods change over time. Both of these kinds of wood ultimately change to gray, which can often suit the color and design of your backyard. With proper oiling, you can also maintain the natural colors of both of these woods. When left untreated, Ipe wood ages to a silvery gray patina.

  • Staining

Staining is the best way to change the natural color of both of these wood types. However, Ipe wood is not good for staining. This means that over time, you may need to settle for wood with faded natural colors. Alternatively, you could invest more in staining such furniture.

On the other hand, Philippine mahogany wood is better suited for artificial staining. You can also use creative stains and add a personal touch to your deck with mahogany wood.

  • Pricing

Overall, Philippine mahogany wood is more expensive than alternate choice. However, mahogany brings lower expenses for machining. 

Ipe vs Mahogany – When to use which wood?

Considering their properties and costs, which of these woods must you use for which purpose? Let’s find out: 

  • Philippine Mahogany wood

This wood is a better choice when you are looking to make beautiful and aesthetically appealing furniture. This includes expensive indoor furniture, doors, windows and decorative items. If you want a lavish and extravagant style, furniture with mahogany wood would look better – it would be considered the more popular choice

  • Ipe wood

If you are looking for a more affordable and durable option, then this is the best wood for you, still your choice! In fact, this wood is also more resistant to heavy impacts and moisture. Some of its best properties include resistance to scratches, fires, moisture, natural slips, wood decay and termites.

Thanks to its natural look and finish,  it is an excellent choice for outdoor decks as well. It is also recommended for outdoor projects like slides and fences.

For outdoor decks, you can also consider using a mix of both of these hardwoods. For instance, you can place the mahogany wood in any enclosed area – and the Ipe wood in areas exposed to outdoor or external elements.


Depending on your aesthetic style and available budget, you can select the right wood between these two options. Based on the differences highlighted in this article, you may  make an informed decision. 

Between the choice of Ipe or mahogany, no matter which wood you select, these woods will help you add style to your home décor by forming some exceptional furniture and outdoor decks. All the best!