All posts by ipewoodadm

What is the Lifespan of Ipe Wood?

You will see on our site that we say up to 75-Years. Some people say, how can a wood last this long? This brings up some good points that people often don’t think about. Ipe material can absolutely last up to 75 years, and indoor flooring may be longer. But I am going to list five major considerations that you have to take into account.

1. Application and Exposure – If you are comparing a pier that’s in the sun all day to a covered porch, this will be drastically different. However, up to 75 years is reasonable as even the Coney Island Ipe Boardwalk, which was made in the 1940s and has been in high traffic commercial use for over seven decades, used Ipe decking. They have replaced some boards from time to time, but remember this is a high-traffic commercial site, next to the seawater and with full sun exposure

2. Size of Boards – If you buy the smallest boards, like a 1×6 instead of a 5/4×6, you will not get the same lifespan; thicker boards weather better over time. Thicker boards also enable you to sand it if needed, bringing back a beautiful face to the project many more times and also giving you more options for remediation if needed in the future.

3. Board Modification I.E., Grooving – If you groove or pre-groove the boards, it can further reduce the lifespan, as it is creating a weaker side where the groove is in the board. This is also if you leave holes in the boards from predrilling or having milled areas that increase potential exposure. Anything that creates more surface or areas for weathering to affect the boards.

4. Treatment – Annual maintenance on Ipe is not required if you are okay with the boards turning grey. We currently recommend and sell only Messmer’s and Ipe Oil. The chemicals have been changing due to regulations, and some brands we are finding are requiring more frequent treatments to keep the boards with a finish looking good. The treatments can further extend the life, but again, it is not necessary with Ipe.

5. Lumber Quality – When buying, often times customers will try to make a lower-grade board work to save money. This can affect longevity due to the defects that make boards lower grade. This occurs due to the weather, such as rain or snow, getting into things like knots. When water snow or temperature change occurs, it can cause the defects to expand and contract and lose stability and even expand. The longest-lasting boards for Ipe are FAS grade which has very little or even no visible defects in the boards.

Ipe Woods USA Remains Open During Pandemic – CEO Message

The hardwood lumber industry has been deemed essential for the Nation during this trying time and so we will remain open and fully operational. We expect no delays in operations or delivery for any orders in the United States. Our hearts go out to all people that have been affected.

Message From CEO-


In the wake of the recent COVID-19 “Coronavirus” Pandemic (Originating in Wuhan, China), we have a message for our customers. We, along with you, are concerned about the use of government funds to bail out the large corporations and print more money, while largely ignoring the plight of small and medium-sized businesses like yours and ours.

Every time the politicians go back up for election, they tell us how small businesses (classified as under 500 employees) are the backbone of our economy. They tell us how important we are and that, overall, we are the largest employers in the country we make this country what it is. But when it comes to tax time, the largest corporations pay the least. When it comes to a crisis like this COVID-19, those large corporations are the first to take the money that is handed out from the Federal Government. Never have I seen a small business get a bailout. The money they give to these large corporations is massaged into the economy by inflation and the printing of new money, which falls on the backs of the middle class, and small business.

I wouldn’t normally write something like this, but I want to express to our customers, who are literally the hands that built this country, that we are on your side. You know what it takes to build a business and you care about the well-being of every employee you have. We, like you, will work through this tough time to help our customers meet their commitments and we will also work to ensure our employees can take care of their families.

No bailout is coming for us, but in many ways, I prefer it that way. I’ve never been one to take a handout and I know that most of you feel the same way.

I want you to know that you can count on me and every employee of Ipe Woods USA to treat you like the hard-working people you are and to give you the respect you deserve. We are taking steps to make sure we don’t add to your level of anxiety at this time of uncertainty.

As part of this outreach, as of today, we will not seek to collect any debt on small businesses for at least 90 day and no interest will be charged over this time. We will also waive any interest accrued in the last 30 days. As the situation warrants, we will consider extending this grace period if that is In the best interest of our customers.

Secondly, for all projects that have used our lumber, we will accept your job photos (which you submit) and use these to promote your businesses and your relationship with Ipe Woods USA in your city or area of operation. All this is to be done at no expense to you.

We appreciate you all, and we are so proud to work with and be associated with such a great group of American businesses. It is you that have made this country what it is today and we intend to support you through thick and thin.

-Steven Rossi

2019 Ipe Woods USA Scholarship Winner Announced

We had many applicants in 2019 for the Caitlan Wallace Memorial Scholarship. Upon review of all the applicants, Ipe Woods has selected Zayd Albowyha from San Francisco State University in California as the grand 2019 scholarship recipient of $1500.

In 2018 our recipient was from Arizona State University. Making this the second annual scholarship award. We also have increased every year the amount of the scholarship.

We are glad to be able and provide this scholarship with the purpose to increase awareness and help prevent even just one tragedy from impaired driving in memory of Caitlan.

Ipe Woods USA will be offering the scholarship again in 2020. This scholarship will again be increased. This information will be coming shortly.

Congratulations to Zayd!

Great Alternatives to Ipe

The most common reason we see for people looking for alternatives to Ipe is price. If you are looking for an Ipe alternative this article is for you. Ipe is the king of hardwoods, the reasons for that are numerous. But what are the best alternatives? Here are two of our favorites and why. Ipe Woods USA sells all of these alternatives, but since they are less popular the availability is limited. Most commonly these Ipe alternatives come in 1×6 and 5/4×6, however due to stability in a less dense wood, it is recommended to use 5/4x material when using anything except Ipe. It is also not recommended to groove any 1x material to ensure a more stable deck and installation.  Following just those 2 recommendations can help make your deck last much longer.


From a density and longevity standpoint, we prefer Garapa. It is a great wood and is substantially less expensive than Ipe. So what are the pros and cons of Garapa?

Garapa Pros:

  • Less Expensive
  • Extremely Durable
  • Long life span can exceed 30 years
  • Greys over time if untreated, making it end up looking similar to more expensive woods

Garapa Cons:

  • Color is yellow, but it will turn grey if allowed. Also can be treated to darken the color
  • Somewhat plain-looking as the wood doesn’t have many age rings or contrasting color characteristics. 


Cumaru is a beautiful wood, but in our experience, it is less stable around water than Ipe and Garapa. In fact, we have seen it prone to cupping especially in the 1×6 size. While this usually happens when moisture and/or water are near it.

Cumaru Pros:

  • Beautiful exotic look
  • Less expensive than Ipe
  • Durable
  • Life span can exceed 25 years

Cumaru Cons:

  • Not as good around water
  • Less density
  • Not recommended in 1x material
  • Has a tendency to cup in thinner material

In the end, all of the woods no matter if it is ipe, garapa or cumaru are great choices. But there is only one king of hardwood decking and that is Ipe.

Tropical Hardwood Needs Acclimation

It is vital for the success of any project using Tropical Hardwood to Acclimate!

Getting the wood ready to install–acclimate your Ipe wood!

Ipe wood needs to acclimate to the local conditions (humidity and temperature).  This is true of any hardwood. This means it needs to sit near where you will be installing it to adjust to its new climate.  Leave it there for a least seven (7) days, or longer if you are in a drier climate. Don’t store Ipe wood for any more than 28 days without checking with us at Ipe Woods USA for additional handling tips.

How to acclimate your Ipe wood–a list of do’s and don’ts

  1. We recommend you store Ipe wood on blocks of wood.  Do not sit Ipe wood anywhere directly on or near the ground or on a block of concrete, so it can acclimate.  It must be stored a minimum of 12 inches away from the ground to let the boards underneath get enough ventilation. If it is not interacting with the environment, it is not acclimating!
    Proper Hardwood Acclimation
    Wood stacked for installation.
  2. Cover Ipe wood with plywood during the acclimation process.  Do NOT cover the Ipe lumber with any tarp or any plastic. These trap water and moisture and can create stability issues.  Ipe must be kept dry until it’s installed.
  3. Air Ipe wood outside.  Never store it in an enclosed space, such as a garage or any other enclosed area.
  4. Proper ventilation is best achieved by separating the rows of boards with wooden shims.  The more air can move around the boards before installation, the more acclimated the wood will be for your project.
  5. We mentioned this above, but never store Ipe lumber for more than 28 days without double-checking with us at Ipe Woods USA.

See also our decking installation page

Ipe Woods USA Awarded Best Of Houzz 2019 – Second Win In a Row

Ipe Decking

Awarded by Community of Over 40 Million Monthly Users, Annual BOH Badge Highlights Home Remodeling & Design Professionals with Top Ratings

While we strive every day to offer the best prices and service, we are pleased to be recognized by a community of over 40 Million members as the best company for exotic hardwood decking service.”— Steven Rossi

SAN FRANSICO, CA, UNITES STATES, February 25, 2019 – Ipe Woods USA has won “Best Of Customer Service” for the second straight year, Houzz the leading platform for home renovation and design. The innovative lumber distribution company was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.1 million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz badge is awarded annually, in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design awards honor professionals whose work was the most popular among the Houzz community. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including a pro’s overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2018. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award.

A “Best Of Houzz 2019” badge will appear on winners’ profiles as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Best of Houzz is a true badge of honor as it is awarded by our community of homeowners, those who are hiring design, remodeling and other home improvement professionals for their projects,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We are excited to celebrate the 2019 winners chosen by our community as their favorites for home design and customer experience, and to highlight those winners on the Houzz website and app.”

Follow Ipe Woods USA on Houzz

About Ipe Woods USA:
While lumber is an old industry the direct to consumer market for lumber is relatively new, and so is Ipe Woods USA. Utilizing a distribution network of more than 10 warehouses and/or mills and over 300 pickup locations across the United States. The company specializes in Ipe decking but also offers Massaranduba, Garapa, Tigerwood, Purpleheart and Cumaru.

About Houzz:
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community
empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. Houzz is a registered trademark of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit

Ipe Woods USA
+1 844-674-4455
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Buy Ipe Direct Acquired by Ipe Woods USA

As promised here is the big news, the acquisition of Buy Ipe Direct has been completed. Read all about it in this months Business Insider.

We are excited to add this amazing brand to our portfolio of Ipe companies in an effort to better serve customers and provide the best customer service. We continue to grow rapidly and appreciate the customers that value our high standards and make our business possible.

The sites will operate much the same as they have and we are looking to eventually work towards a seamless integration into our successful business model.

2019 Caitlan Wallace Memorial Scholarship Announced


Winner info here.

Next year we will be increasing the scholarship and changing the topic. Thank you to all the applicants.


The Caitlan Wallace Memorial Scholarship

The Caitlan Wallace Memorial Scholarship was created to remember the life and legacy of our dear Caitlan. Since education is a gift that lasts a lifetime we are delighted to announce our second annual scholarship offering.  We lost Caitlan suddenly in a tragic car accident on September 29th, 2015. She had just turned eighteen and was looking forward to life full of promise. 

We had many great applicants last year, but unfortunately we could only give one scholarship which went to Samantha Martinez from Arizona State University . We want to thank all participants and ask you to join us again in The Caitlan Wallace Memorial Scholarship.

My name is Steven Rossi of Ipe Woods USA. This wonderful young lady was not only my niece, she was also inspiration to our whole family. She was an intelligent, witty, spirited young woman who was the light of our lives.  Her dream was to go to College and in her memory, Ipe Woods USA is offering a College Scholarship in the amount of $1500.

This scholarship of $1500 will be offered to someone who needs financial assistance to fulfill their college dreams.

Scholarship Subject : Intoxicated Driving – What can we do to raise awareness 

Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes—that’s one person every 48 minutes in 2017

In a three-page essay please discuss the following:

How can we prevent drunk driving? What can be done to raise awareness about intoxicated driving?

Inform people about the dangers of drinking and driving

We ask that this essay be a concisely written creative essay that can be shared in Memory of Caitlan Wallace and her tragic automobile death.

Essay Format:

  • Use the basic principles of an opinion essay:
  • An Introduction that previews the 3 essential points of the essay
  • A Body that discusses each point of your argument for safe driving
  • A Conclusion that summarizes your points

The essays will be judged on academic excellence, writing style and the concise conveyance of the points you make highlighting the need for safe driving.

The work must be original and unpublished. The writing will be checked for plagiarism and writings that were previously published on any kind of media outlets, including personal blogs, Facebook pages, and similar platforms, will not be considered applicable.

The essay must include at least three official and authentic sources to corroborate your argumentation.

Once you submit your essay, you give permission to use it for commercial purposes.

Writing Guidelines

    • The essay must follow logical reasoning as your writing must be based on factual and logical arguments to prove your point.
    • The writing style is free, as creativity is also evaluated. We welcome and cherish conceptual writing, provided that you follow the aforementioned guidelines of argumentation and remain objective.
  • The writing must explain a particular point of view and prove it reasonable and logical based on the official sources you have to include on your writing.
  • The sources that refer to objective statements must be cited as quotations, whilst official data sources, like statistical data, can be simply referred at the end of the writing by an index markers system of your preference, i.e., “1, 2, 3, 4….”; “*, **, ***”.
  • Both types of sources, either quoted statements or data sources must be referred at the end of the essay in a separate section that must be titled “References”. You must include links for the official websites where the information can be accessed or, in the case of books and other printed media, you must include an extended reference with the number of the page and paragraph where the data or statement can be found, as well as the year of the publication, and the name of the book and the author.
  • Once again, note that the essay must follow a logical reasoning. Religious books or any other kind of abstract, empiric or non-scientific sources are not valid to corroborate your argumentation and you will be eliminated from the contest.
  1. Your essay must be saved as a “.doc” file.
  2. Application Guidelines
  • Send us your essay by email to [email protected]  with the subject “2019 Caitlan Wallace Memorial Scholarship – YOUR NAME”

In the body of the email include the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Telephone number
  • Full name of the school/university you are attending
  • Area of Study

You also must submit an official document that proves you are currently studying and associated with your school/university, including an official  certification by the institution, as a signature or an official stamp. This document must be scanned with a good resolution and attached to your email.

Review and Winner’s Announcement

The applied works will be reviewed under the following criteria:

    • Evaluation of the proper grammar usage
    • Evaluation of writing skills
    • Evaluation of creativity
    • Evaluation of argumentation and sources
    • The evaluations will get a grade of excellence based on the performance on the aforementioned criteria. The total highest grade will naturally be selected as the winner
    • The announcement of the winner is made on (or shortly after) December 15th. The winner must claim her prize within one month or the second-highest grade of the selection will be awarded as the winner.
    • To claim the prize, we will contact you and your school/university to prove your association and subsequently, the prize will be sent via check .
  • Deadline The final date for submission is December 15th, 2019, and we will choose the winner by December 25th, 2019 and the check will be mailed out by January 1st, 2020.

Steven Rossi


In Loving Memory of Caitlan Wallace

Tigerwood Decking, Ipe or Cumaru: Best Tropical Decking Options

Two men unload Ipe Decking from a truck in Utah.

Spring is decking “season” and we have a while to get there. But late December is a great time to think about what wood to use on your next deck. During the springtime, the mills use the vast majority of their day grooving Ipe decking boards which are meant for hidden fasteners. Most of our trucks are usually loaded with Cumaru, Ipe or Tigerwood decking to be moved all around the country and even boats to other countries based on client’s request. Just as we have disclosed before on this site, Ipe remains an unquestionable decking material; however, the cost keeps rising year by year. Hence, we are looking towards other possible decking option to Ipe currently, and we felt that it is an ideal time to share the available options with our clients.

A lot of quality tropical decking species with different appearance and performance are available, but, how do you know which species are appropriate for your need?

Ipe Alternatives

Red Balau Decking: This kind is workable than many other similar tropical types of wood. Balau belongs to the Shorea genus – a reason why it shares texture, hue and workability qualities with Mahogany. Balau is relatively hard – when compared to the domestic Hard Maple – durable, and has a regular and flawless color pattern than most other tropical decking woods. Besides, it is half of Ipe’s cost in price. For this reason, it has become a great wood in the tropical decking world. However, it cannot be easily seen as Ipe or Cumaru, which makes it difficult for local sellers to find.

Jatoba: Possibly, you might have heard about Jatoba before, and it can even be the one currently used for your house’s interior flooring. It is commonly known as Brazilian Cherry. Because of its extreme hardness, it is an outstanding choice for interior flooring work. Also, it is quite resistant against insect and rot – one of the qualities which make it to be very stable. In the long run of use and due to exposure to sunlight, the appealing red color also usually becomes deeper. Hence, the use of Jatoba is an excellent choice to combine your exterior deck with your interior floor.

Tigerwood Decking and Others

Tigerwood Decking: this species is also known as Goncalo Alves. It is famous for its brownish-orange and dark stripes appearance which makes it look like a Tiger. Usually, it can become darker as a deep reddish-brown over time. While the Tigerwood does dry excellently and stays stable for different weather, kiln drying is necessary to attain stability. Although Tigerwood decking is mostly used for decking, they can also be applied to interior works. Due to the variegated stripping, the construction of deck with regular appearance can be challenging when readily obtainable. The most challenging part of a Tigerwood decking is that the stripes are not consistent – while one board may have zero stripping, another may have massive stripping. From our experience, when used as an entire decking, while the smooth surface can be quite pleasurable to a barefoot, it can be slippery.

Massaranduba Brazilian Redwood Decking: Massanduba is also called the Brazilian Redwood or Bullet wood. This species is quite dense and hard. They are usually found large and produce an excellently straight and regular grained board which are ideal for decking. They do occur in red color and do become brown when exposed. Regarding hardness, Massanduba is 20% lesser than Ipe, but it is still much durable. Besides, Massanduba hardly breaks apart when used in climates such as the Rockies and the Southwest. Because Massanduba is more stable under wet environments, they are popular in Europe. It is advisable to consider the climate before choosing Massanduba for decking meticulously. It has a similar price to Cumaru and can be obtained with ease. Also, this kind of wood is an excellent alternative for selective climates.

Garapa Decking: Garapa is another sturdy and dense decking wood. It is commonly referred to as Brazilian Oak. It is lemon-yellow in appearance, and always conspicuous. Clients mostly inform us that although Garapa is stable and handy for decking work, the color remains a “No” for many house-owners. Regarding hardness, it is about 40% less hard to Ipe. However, it remains as a harder wood than most domestic species. In fact, it belongs to the rating of class-A woods among the South American decking woods. Also, the color issues are mostly resolved with dyes or stains to give Garapa an Ipe-like appearance.

Cambara decking: they are also mostly categorized as a variant of Mahogany because they possess identical attributes such as reddish-brown hue and open grain. In truth, Cambara is not ideal for decking because of its irregular presence in Brazil and grade inconsistency. It has only been mentioned here because some people used to make use of it some years back but not anymore.

Perfect Woods for Decks

Cumaru against Ipe: Ipe is one of our most popular decking products, and it is specialized upon by Ipe Woods USA, as the name says. However, we also engage in the shipment of Cumaru, Red Balau, Tigerwood, and Jatoba of various sizes. For the Tigerwood decking, we store them in a relatively lesser amount but can be obtained in whatever quantity based on a request. Also, because we are aware that the other options stated above are workable species, we do supply them in whatever quantity our clients order for.

From our several years of supplying decking materials, Ipe has remained as an excellent product beyond others; hence, we have continued to use it as our flagship offering. However, due to the increasing cost of Ipe, we have started to engage in massive stocking position in other species as an alternative, and so far, our clients have been grateful for our new approach. Apart from the tropical decking woods, we are also ready to serve your needs concerning decking materials. Basically, in a case where our client demand for a specific kind of wood, we are always prepared to stock as demanded.

Nevertheless, all of our chosen species have reasons behind them, and most times, we do try to make clients see the reasons why they should choose a particular species over some others mentioned herein. Ultimately, many factors are usually involved in constructing a deck, and your situation may be different from others. Hence, it is advisable to allow us to pick the ideal tropical decking species for your job.

See our Ipe vs Other Hardwoods Page.