Exotic hardwood choices: Lapacho
Lapacho is a hardwood variety that hails from the Western Hemisphere, growing in both Central and South America. Also known as Brazilian Walnut or Ipe, it features a pale yellow sapwood that can be shot through with streaks of olive brown. Interestingly, however, the heartwood is a very dark brown, bordering on black – very nearly the equivalent of ebony. It is this combination of light and dark woods that make Lapacho such a striking choice in flooring material as the contrast can be very eye-catching.
Lapacho tends to darken over time. This is particularly true when the exposed wood is subjected to high levels of sunlight. Lighting conditions, however, will not change the grain, which can vary hugely in this species, sometimes exhibiting a straight appearance and sometimes being wildly irregular. Texture varies less, though Lapacho does feature a texture that ranges from medium to fine.
Lapacho wood in its natural state is somewhat oily, so flooring made from this material must be very thoroughly dried in advance – over dried, as some installers will recommend. When prepared properly, Lapacho does not shrink much during installation. Lapacho has a Janka hardness rating of more than 3000, which makes it one of the hardest woods consumers can obtain for floors. Because of its extreme hardness, Lapacho will need hardwood floor sanding and polishing services somewhat less frequently than is true of other woods. When it does come time to have floorboard sanding performed, it is advisable to hire an expert floor sanding services firm with experience working with dense hardwoods.