Types of Brazilian Hardwoods
There are dozens of hardwoods that originate from Brazil. Some of them are part of a subcategory of the species below, and some are not suitable for flooring for various reasons. The most common species used for flooring include:
- Brazilian Ipe: Often called “Ironwood” due to the hardness and durability of the wood. It is actually a type of walnut and it is one of the strongest natural woods in existence, with a Janka hardness rating of over 3600 (most common flooring options range from 900-1500, the larger the number the more durable).
- Brazilian Cherry: Also known as Jatoba, this wood – like most Brazilian species – is also extremely hard and durable with a Janka rating of 2350. It has exceptional natural beauty and tends to be tan/light red in color with black accents that turn dark red with time.
- Brazilian Teak: This wood is also known as Cumaru and is extremely hard, at 3400 on the Janka hardness scale. This wood tends to be dark in color with large amounts of natural color variation.
- Tigerwood (AKA Zebrawood): The name comes from the unusual contrasting colors not often found in natural woods. It is adequately durable for flooring material, but the real selling point of this wood is the color – it becomes an elegant focal point of any room.
- Purpleheart: Not unlike Tigerwood in its durability and color properties, but instead of contrasting colors, it has a solid natural, deep purple color not often found in nature. It is a great conversation starter in any room it’s installed.
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Additional Brazilian Hardwood Flooring Considerations
Chances are very good that the wood will come unfinished without any protectant or varnish on it. While these woods have excellent natural water, moisture, and microbial resistant properties, at the very least several coats of a urethane should be applied to ensure protection from UV rays fading the color of the wood
Brazilian Hardwood Flooring Costs
The following prices are based on national averages only; actual costs will vary slightly due to the location within the U.S. you reside. Due to the large distances the woods must travel, costs will also vary slightly due to the current price of oil as well. These prices also assume a ¾” thick board by 4” wide – thicker boards will significantly increase costs.
- Brazilian teak and cherry costs are quite similar; expect to pay $10-$12 per square foot for these materials.
- Brazilian Ipe, tigerwood, and purpleheart are less expensive, falling in the range of $6-$9 per square foot depending on quality.
- Installing Brazilian hardwood flooring costs $4-$8 per square foot depending on the difficulty of installation, or $800-$1,600 for a typical 200 square foot room.
- Removing and disposing of an existing floor will add $1-$4 per square foot to the total cost depending on the type of flooring being removed. Carpet is cheapest, while stone tile and existing wood floors tend to be more expensive.