Genuine Mahogany Decking vs Cedar Decking

Recently I had to make some decisions about the rebuilding a relatively large deck of mine, namely which decking material I would choose. I wanted something that would be workable by myself and possibly some friends or family, with regular tools. Over the years I have designed and built several cedar decks and I wanted to try something new. What I discovered in my research ‘genuinely’ surprised me, which was that the material I wanted was genuine mahogany decking. Let me quickly tell you why.

From experience I know that cedar’s inherent rot and mildew resistance is low, such that it must be pressure treated to achieve durability and longevity as outdoor decking. Genuine mahogany hardwood has an inherently high resistance to rot and mildew due to its interleaved fine-fibrous structure and the natural oil resin therein. I have seen what insects and fungus can do to cedar, especially if not pressure treated, but my research indicates that tropical hardwoods like genuine mahogany have natural oils that repel these forms of organic erosion. Having also seen what mildew and natural decomposition does to composite decking, it was already out of the discussion. I also dislike pressure treated cedar, as toxic chemicals used in the process are contained in ever splinter, so this was my first knock against cedar.

Thinking about future maintenance brought back memories of sanding cedar decks in order to successfully reapply stain. I learned that strong tropical hardwoods like genuine mahogany from Fiji are not supposed to be sanded for maintenance, but rather washed. It sounds a lot less back-breaking to me, but I was still wondering about the effectiveness of staining a hardwood deck. I drove out to a project in order to actually see how well the mahogany decking was up-taking a light golden oil-based stain that also contained a protectant formula. This brings me to my next point.

I was immediately taken by the beauty of the genuine mahogany decking when I visited that project. I noticed there was basically no warping and absolutely no expansion of the material. I could easily feel that the durability class and reputation of genuine mahogany is well warranted. While being light it feels practically bulletproof. Holding samples of the lumber and seeing how it was being installed reassured me that this decking would be workable with the tools I already own. The decking boards of genuine mahogany have a deep golden lustre along its fine grain, with very few knots. This structural makeup minimizes problems for cutting the boards to size, end sealing, and staining. Seems like a win-win, as this makes the decks made out of it look excellent.

I have seen what heavy and/or large deck furniture does to cedar decks, even if they are stained and protected. I did not want to see to my deck chairs eating another deck surface, so resistance against regular wear and tear was important to me. Based on what I’ve seen, from a surface-quality point of view, the genuine mahogany boards look hard to beat. After considering all these factors that add up to an incredible finished product, the choice was clear – I had to go with genuine mahogany decking. 

Fijian Mahogany decking is available through Green World Lumber and the following retailers