Category Archives: Hardwood News

Decisions, Decisions: Understanding the Different Types of Wood Siding

If you want to give your home a makeover, then the siding is a great place to start. The right siding can give your house that “wow” factor, and make it the envy of all your neighbors.

Visuals aside, your siding also serves a functional purpose, which is to protect and insulate your home and its occupants from harsh weather like rain and snow.

When you’re in the market for sidings, there are a lot of choices. There are so many types of wood siding options that picking the right one may be a bit overwhelming. The difference is not only in the type of wood but also in its grade and overall design.

If you’re looking for the best wood siding for homes, then read on to learn about the many types of wood siding out there.

Wood Siding by Type of Wood

The type of wood you pick for your siding determines its look, durability, and insulation capability. Here are a few wood siding options to consider:


Fir sidings are among the more cost-effective siding options. Fir is a softwood that’s relatively easy to obtain. It’s ideal for large houses because you can get fir in long lengths.

It’s also generally easy to install and leaves a lovely finish. Since it’s a softwood, you can cut it into various designs. So if you want it in planks, shiplap, or tongue and groove, you can easily get it that way with fir.


Ipe sidings are among the lesser-known siding options, but they’re arguably the best type of wood siding. That’s because when you compare it to other wood options, ipe has a clear edge over the others.

First off, ipe is a virtually maintenance-free hardwood, requiring only one oil treatment annually to retain its color. It’s popular in some parts because of its ability to retain structural integrity even under the harshest weather conditions, among other benefits. That means you won’t need to replace your ipe siding for a good long time once you install it.

If you don’t maintain it, the siding turns a grey color, which is what most owners want. If you want it to get its original color back, you just oil it, and it’s back to brown.


Folks love cedar for its lovely color. You can also reveal the grain through the stain to make the siding even more appealing.

It’s also relatively low-maintenance when you compare it to other wood species. That’s because cedar is resistant to rot and insect damage, unlike most other wood types.

If your taste is more of the red type of cedar, then prepare yourself to pay top-dollar for “heartwood” cedar.


Cypress is an extremely durable hardwood that’s very popular across the country. In fact, it’s so durable that some folks can salvage it from demolished homes to reuse it, and it still lasts.

It’s also lightweight, which makes it easy to install. Plus, just like cedar, it’s resistant to rot and repels insects, hence it requires little maintenance. The downside to cypress is that it’s very expensive, and most people aren’t willing to spend that kind of cash on their sidings.

Siding Types by Wood Grade

Most people select wood sidings based on their appearance. As such, there are no building codes to stipulate wood grades. Some agencies, like the WWPA, create their own grading systems that many suppliers choose to adopt.

With that in mind, here are the most common wood grades.

  • Number 1: This is a clean, high-quality wood with little to no knots or defects. It gives a very high level of finish.
  • Number 2: This is also good quality wood, just not as good as Number 1. It has more knots and minor defects here and there.
  • Grade A to Grade D: These grades denote wood that has a considerable number of knotholes, slight warping, a few splits and checks here and there.

Siding Options by Style

When it comes to style, all your options boil down to two main types of sidings which are horizontal and vertical. Horizontal sidings are lovely to look at but are also harder to maintain than vertical ones. After you pick your sidings orientation, horizontal or vertical, you next have to pick a style.

When it comes to wood siding styles, you can choose from:


Boards are cut-outs from wood that you arrange either vertically or horizontally. They come in different lengths, widths, and thicknesses.

Color and Finish

The color and finish style has been all the rage for the past half-decade or so. After you install the siding, you finish it with a fresh paint coat of your preferred color. This style has immense visual appeal and also lengthens the lifespan of the siding.


The stylish person can always settle for shingles because it gives the house a more classic, rustic look. It works well, especially with ipe and cedar sidings. You can order shingles in a variety of shapes to suit your style.

Choose Your Types of Wood Siding Wisely

With so many types of wood siding, you have plenty to choose from. While it’s only natural to base your decisions off of aesthetics, you should also consider durability and maintenance.

Also, remember to buy your sidings from a reputable supplier to get your money’s worth.

For beautiful, durable, and robust ipe sidings, contact us today, and we’ll help you out.

Dispelling the Most Common Hardwood Flooring Myths That Exist Today

Hardwood flooring is one of the best amenities that you can add to your property. It spikes up your home’s resale value and makes jaws drop as they enter the room.

However, there are many misconceptions and “myths” out there in the marketplace about this flooring option.

Perhaps people believe that hardwood flooring is too good to be true. They think that there has to be a downside to something as beautiful as hardwood.

Whatever the case might be, this article is here to shut them down. Here are some of the most common hardwood flooring myths and reasoning for why they’re untrue.

1. Scratch or Faded Hardwood Floors Need to Be Replaced

As with any other material, hardwood will start to lose a bit of its coloring as the sun beats down on it over time. You might also notice that your hardwood floor has gained a few scars (scratches) from Lucky, the house dog.

The myth here is that your only resolution for getting rid of the scratches or faded color is by replacing the flooring. That couldn’t be further from the truth!

Hardwood flooring can be refinished and look as brand-new as the day that you first had it installed. In fact, you can refinish the same hardwood floors up to 10 times before they need to be replaced.

Many people doubt the strength and endurance of hardwood flooring. Be sure to inform yourself on everything you need to know about hardwood lumber.

2. High Heels Won’t Damage Hardwood Flooring

Ladies, you’ve probably had someone tell you that those high heel shoes you wear aren’t going to damage your hardwood floors.

But the truth is that any item that puts a heavy amount of pressure on a specific point (such as spiked heel in your shoe), will more than likely cause damage.

Every step that you take will put an excessive amount of force into a square inch of your flooring. That kind of pressure can severely damage the hardwood lumber that your floor is made out of over time.

That’s not to say you can’t ever wear high heels if you were to install hardwood floors.

Just try to be sparing about the number of times you wear them and try not to walk across the same room more than once or twice while wearing your go-to pair.

3. Hardwood Flooring won’t Scratch or Dent

Technically speaking, this myth has already been debunked in this article with the first paragraph.

However, it’s worth repeating so that customers won’t get a preconceived notion before their flooring is installed.

While it’s true that hardwood flooring can take quite the beating and will hold up nicely as it ages, no flooring material is entirely impervious.

Especially considering the high-traffic areas of your house, such as your kitchen, living room, and hallways, which take a much workload to keep its form.

Your hardwood flooring is bound to gather a few scratches and maybe even a dent or two. The important thing to remember is that it can be refinished!

Unlike many other flooring materials, hardwood allows you to make it look as good as new 8 to 10 times in its lifetime.

4. They Shouldn’t Be Used in Kitchens

This myth is utterly ridiculous. In fact, most hardwood flooring experts agree that a kitchen is one of the best places to install hardwood flooring in your house.

Because of how durable hardwood is, it can stand up to many different spills and can withstand the high level of traffic that kitchens attract.

They can provide a beautiful aesthetic to your kitchen while providing a much comfier flooring option over tile or other hard materials. It has just enough give to help your feet have more support as you walk.

If you plan to keep your kitchen looking as nice as possible, then proper kitchen maintenance is of the utmost importance. Hardwood floors are perfect for your kitchen maintenance. As long as you keep up with it, the floor will keep its shine!

Be warned, however, that continually mopping the hardwood floor can do more damage than good. Instead, try taking a microfiber cloth to it when it needs to be cleaned.

5. Fading Color is a Sign of Defective Hardwood

Many people confuse the discoloration or fading of their hardwood as a sign of defective materials.

No matter how high-quality the hardwood you purchase is, the color is going to inevitably fade over time. As has been pointed out in this article already, refinishing your flooring can bring that color back easily.

The faded color is not a sign of a defective floor. In fact, not even cupped or warped wood is a sign of defective hardwood. It’s just a natural part of the process.

Be sure to move your furniture around frequently so that you can prevent significant fading over a few certain areas.

Consider it like getting a tan: if you keep your sunglasses on too long, you’ll have a skin tan with an imprint of where your glasses were.

Have Your Dream Hardwood Flooring Installed Today!

Now that you’ve seen the debunking of several common hardwood flooring myths, it’s time to receive a quote for getting yours installed!

Be sure to read this message from our CEO on the details of installing hardwood flooring during the pandemic and why we’re continuing business as usual.

For more inquiries, please begin by reaching out via our online contact page and we’ll be happy to assist you further!

Why You Want a Kitchen With Hardwood Floors

No kitchen remodel is complete without a new floor. But picking a material for your new floor can be hard. Do you want to go with a more traditional tile look, or do you want something a little more unique? What about hardwood? Hardwood might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine your new kitchen, but it’s more convenient than you might think. Here are a few reasons why you might want a kitchen with hardwood floors.

The Benefits of a Kitchen With Hardwood Floors

Using hardwood in the kitchen affords you many of the same benefits as hardwood in a living room. These include:


Hardwood is one of the easier materials to clean. Dust and debris won’t get stuck to it as easily as tile. You can easily clean it with a simple sweep, vacuum, or mop.

With tile floors, you have to be extra careful not to spill anything too oily. The substance can easily get stuck between tiles and in the grout. Hardwood holds up to simple spills much better.

Plus, the shine you get with clean hardwood is really pleasing to the eyes.


Tile floors can get very cold, especially in the winter months. If you tend to walk around barefoot, you know how shocking it can be to step onto a cold kitchen floor in the morning. Hardwood will keep warmer, meaning increased comfort for you and your guests.

Hardwood floors also help keep your home insulated. They’ll keep heat in during the winter, and expel it during the summer. You can even get a hardwood floor specially insulated to really reap the benefits.

Upscale Look

Hardwood is one of the most upscale looks you can get. It’s more expensive than tile or laminate floors, and that extra price shows. It gives your home a more rustic and warm look, and shows off your distinguished side.


If you’ve recently had a baby, even they’ll benefit from the hardwood floors.

Hardwood is softer and warmer than tile, making it much more pleasant for a baby to crawl or walk around on. Hardwood is also completely non-toxic, and you can more easily see potentially dangerous stains.

Increases Home Value

Hardwood floors may not be the cheapest option, but the increase in property value makes it instantly worth it for many. Hardwood floors can actually improve your home’s value by around 2.5%!

If you plan on selling your home in the future, you should consider installing hardwood in the kitchen. The right company will offer you great prices on hardwood flooring.

Acoustically Pleasing

There’s a good reason that concert halls and theaters use wood flooring. It’s all about the acoustics.

Hardwood floors will lower echo and vibrations, and let you hear people across the room with unparalleled accuracy. It’s probably not the main reason you’ll want to go hardwood, but it’s a great little bonus. Especially if you like to sing or listen to music while working in the kitchen.


A good hardwood floor will last you years without wearing down. Some choose to have their hardwood refinished every five years or so, but it’s not necessary for everyone. Most of the time, you won’t have to touch your hardwood again unless it sustains damage.

You might consider using a sealant on your new hardwood floor to protect it from damage. Hardwood can warp or get stained if a spill is left on it too long. A sealant can help prevent that.

You should also try to wipe up any spill as soon as it hits the hardwood.


There are tons of different woods available for hardwood floors. These will all give you a different look. Some of the most popular choices include:

  • Fir
  • Cherry
  • Pine
  • Birch
  • Hickory
  • Walnut
  • Ash
  • Maple

Each of these has a unique grain and color. Make sure to sample a few of these before locking in to see what best matches the rest of your kitchen.

Hardwood floors look immaculate with the right kitchen furniture and appliances. You can contrast the floors with marble or brick, or compliment it with a further rustic, wood look. You can even customize the color of your hardwood to better fit the room by going with something darker or lighter.

Staying Organic

Hardwood is a great choice if you’re trying to make your home more eco-friendly and sustainable.

There are no vinyls, plastics, or non-renewable resources that go into hardwood floors. It’s just good old biodegradable wood. This makes hardwood floors one of the most environmentally conscious flooring decisions out there.

What About the Cons?

There are very few drawbacks to having hardwood in the kitchen, but there are some things to consider.


Hardwood isn’t cheap, so it’s probably not the right choice if you’re on a strict budget. Although, as mentioned above, the increase in property value may make the price worth it in the long run.

Not Ideal for Pets

If you have dogs or cats, you might notice some small scratches over time. A good sealant can help repel these, but not all the time. The floor may also be slippery on paws, but that mostly depends on how your pet behaves.

Sun Damage

If you have a lot of windows in your kitchen, your hardwood floors might fade over time. To avoid this, try finding a sealant with UV protection. It may offer some relief.

Hardwood: A Solid Choice

Hardwood isn’t just for the living room anymore.

There are tons of benefits to a kitchen with hardwood floors. From durability to cleanliness to pure beauty, hardwood is a unique and excellent choice for any kitchen. If you want a kitchen floor that’ll bring a smile to your face every morning, go with hardwood.

If you’re looking for a good hardwood floor for your kitchen, see what we can do for you. Contact us with any comments or questions.

How to Creatively Use Tigerwood in Your Next Decking Project

Research shows that a new wood deck recovers 106% of its value when you sell your home.

Backyard decking creates a focal point for get-togethers, adds style to your backyard, and sets an inviting ambiance for late summer evenings.

You’ve heard about tigerwood but you’re unsure how to introduce it to your decking project. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Tigerwood?

Tigerwood is distinctive because of its bold splashes of color. It’s also known as African walnut, goncalo alves, and Brazilian Koa, but tigerwood makes sense because of its tiger-like stripes.

They range from light orange to a deep brown, covered in either broad strokes to delicate lines. Unlike other hardwoods, such as garapa wood, tigerwood adds personality to any room or outdoor decking area and works best with simple furniture.

Benefits of Tigerwood

Before you choose ipe decking, consider the advantages of using tigerwood.


Tigerwood has an 1850 Janka scale rating, which means it’s more durable than popular hardwoods like maple.

It’s perfect for decking as its tough surface resists dents, so it looks great for longer. Also, as it’s softer than cumaru wood, tigerwood is more comfortable underfoot, which is great for families with young children.


Tigerwood has an abundance of natural oils, which helps it ward off water damage. Once laid down, apply a finish to stop it from warping or cracking even in a damp environment.


Even though tigerwood isn’t classified as a budget hardwood, its price-tag as an exotic hardwood is fair. This is a great reason to use it for your decking as you’ll make a statement with this durable, moisture-resistant wood without breaking the bank.


Not everyone has the luxury to scrub their outdoor decking frequently. Luckily, with tigerwood, the cleaning process is simple.

Use a damp mop to clean it once a week with a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar mixed in a quart of water. Or use 1/4 soap and 2 gallons of water as it works just as well.

It’s essential to use mild cleaners to cut through grime without harming the tigerwood’s finish.

Creative Ideas for Tigerwood Decking

Consider using these ideas to elevate your outdoor decking.

Add a Pergola

A pergola can dramatically change your backyard for the better. It welcomes the best of both worlds with an open roof. Pergolas offer some shelter from the environment so you can continue entertaining guests outside.

Use tigerwood as the decking to create an inviting spot to hang out during warmer months. You could also add a hanging garden, climbing plants like potato vine, purple clematis, and rambling roses.

Floating Deck

If you want to add elegance to your backyard, consider a floating deck. They’re great for pools, or gazebos, and doesn’t add any strain to your home because it supports itself.

Once you’ve constructed it with tigerwood, add potted plants, a cozy seating area, and while away the afternoon in your stunning backyard.

Get Creative With Lighting

From strings of fairy lights to tiki torches, highlight your tigerwood deck with lighting.

Create a relaxing atmosphere with recessed lighting, or if you’re environmentally conscious, there are many stylish solar-powered options too.

Think about where and how you’ll mount the lights. For example, you could light the decking’s stairs with recessed lighting which not only looks great but is safe too.

Create a Garden Path Deck

Encourage guests to explore your backyard by adding a series of interconnected decks winding throughout. It could lead to a more solid tigerwood decked area, but along the way, use flowers to line either side for an effective look.

Build a Decked Bar Area

There’s no better place for a sundowner than in your own bar area. Tiki torches with your tigerwood deck will create an inviting space for your family and friends. But lay a rug underneath the bar stools to prevent any potential slipping!

Be Bold With Color

Tigerwood is loved because of its vibrant color, so why not go the whole way?

It’s essential you choose complementary bold colors to make the best impact. Also, you have a chance to repurpose old furniture. Just give them a coat of paint so they look fresh. But remember to use weather-resistant finish so it’s long-lasting.

Layer Your Deck

Layered decking creates a visually interesting deck design, and works great with tigerwood decking. This style complements contemporary homes, useful for those who only have a small concrete area.

Tree-Hugging Deck

For a unique look, fit your tigerwood deck around a tree in your yard. It’s a stunning way to combine the two. Although, it’s important to consult an arborist to ensure the tree is healthy and to make sure you leave enough room for the tree’s mature size.

Master Room Decking

If you’re on a tight budget or don’t want to go overboard, add a small tigerwood deck off the master bedroom. Add a pair of lounge chairs and a table so you have a private area to wind down.

Re-Vamp Your Shed

Sheds don’t only have to be a storage space for your kid’s toys or gardening tools. You can revitalize your shed by adding a mini tigerwood deck across the entrance so it complements your backyard.

Those Are Our Tigerwood Decking Ideas

Tigerwood is an exceptional choice for decking. It’s unique markings, deep color, and durability mean it’s a perfect addition for any decking project. Get creative by adding a decked bar, highlighting your backyard’s current foliage, or add a small private decking area.


Are you looking for decking inspiration? If so, browse our collection here.

Everything You Need To Know About Hardwood Lumber

Installing a deck adds extra value to a house while also giving you a lot of extra space to enjoy the outdoors for years to come. This makes it one of the best renovation projects for any home. With so many options of wood to choose from, it’s difficult to know which material to choose for your home’s new deck. Hardwood lumber is the best choice, both for its beautiful appearance and longevity, but what else is there to know about this material?

Making sure you know everything beforehand saves you both time and money in the long run.

That’s why we’ve collected that kind of information for you down below. Keep reading to learn all of the information you need to know to get the most out of your hardwood deck installation.

Why Choose Hardwood Lumber?

Hardwood lumber comes from deciduous trees that are slow-growing, which means the wood grows compact and dense. This high density gives hardwoods extra strength and longer life. They’re able to withstand more without ever getting damaged, and it makes the wood less of a chore to clean as well.

This is why it’s important to choose hardwood for your decking material rather than softwood. It makes for a much better investment compared to softwood lumber.

Ipe Wood

This type of wood has other names such as Brazilian Walnut and Pau Lope. Regardless of what you call it, this wood stands above the rest.

With a hardness rating of 3,600, it’s one of the hardest woods on the market. Having such a high hardness makes Ipe very durable and long-lasting. It resists against common problems such as warping, denting, and has the same fire rating as concrete without additional chemical treatments.

It’s sold without any knots or blemishes so that its beauty shines without any distractions. Ipe has a natural color range in rich browns with black undertones that makes it a desirable choice for many homeowners.

Garapa Wood

At 1,630, Garapa wood has less than half of Ipe’s hardness, yet it still retains many of the same desirable qualities as Ipe. It’s durable, strong, and resists many kinds of damages without extra chemical treatments. The best part about it is that it is a cheaper option, making it a good choice for those on a stricter budget.

It’s resistant to warping, rot, and is also fire-resistant. Also known as Brazilian Ash, Garapa is unique because of its eye-catching golden tones.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Ipe and you love yellow-toned woods, Garapa is the choice for you.

Cumaru Wood

Another Brazilian-based wood, Cumaru wood, sits just below Ipe at 3,540 on the hardness scale and is as beautiful as its brethren. Cumaru, or Brazilian Teak, is the medium brown option between these three hardwoods. There are tones of purple in the wood, giving it a mystical feel.

Like the others, Cumaru has high durability and resistance to damage, rot, warping, and even fire. It’s a cheaper option when compared to Ipe, though it doesn’t have as flawless of an appearance as Ipe.

Common Defects

When you purchase from a trusted company, defects in your lumber are hard to find, but it’s still a good thing to keep in mind. Sometimes minor defects won’t cause any problems during the installation of your new deck. Other times, they’ll stall the entire project.

Once you receive your lumber, give each piece a good inspection for the following:

  • Types of warping, such as bowing, twisting, or cupping
  • Cracks
  • Splits in the wood that go all the way through
  • Grain separation
  • Loose knotholes

Hardwood minimizes the chances of these defects from occurring, but make sure to call your provider if there’s a problem.


After you’ve chosen your desired wood material, it’s time to choose the right kind of cut for your project. Different installation plans require different cuts and fasteners. Purchasing your lumber pre-prepared makes the entire installation process easier.


This is the cut most of us think about when we think of lumber. It’s as basic as you get: a board cut only to the dimensions you set, without any other incisions. The edges of the wood are sharp corners, making it easy to lay the pieces up against each other.

This cut is best used with face screws drilled into the wood. Use wood plugs or other methods to hide away any evidence of the screws.

Eased Edge

An eased edge is the same as a standard cut of wood, except it has rounded edges. You’d install this type in much the same way as standard, but the finished deck has a different feel and appearance at the end of the project. This is also a great cut for making stairs and banisters.


For an installation process that creates a seamless effect, pre-grooved is the way to go. Each side of the board has a small indentation, allowing you to fit the pieces into one another without the use of screws.

You’ll need special fasteners specific to this style to secure the lumber pieces together. Once you’re done, you’ll have a deck with nothing marring its natural beauty on the surface.

Groove and Tongue

This style of cut lumber comes with a large indentation on one end and a mirrored section sticking out at the other end. This is to help create a seamless look that hides aways any fasteners you use during the installation process.

Make sure to only select this style of lumber for places that allow for good water drainage. The grooves and tongues create hidden spaces for water to collect and cause damage to the wood over a long period. It’s a prime area for rot and mold to begin growing.

With the hardwoods listed above, you won’t have to worry as much, but it’s still good to keep in mind.

Always Choose Hardwood Lumber for the Best Results

Now that you know all of the pertinent information about hardwood lumber, installation is a breeze. No surprises wait for you around the corner when you’ve done all of your research beforehand.

When it’s time to figure out the logistics of your next hardwood renovation, make sure to check back here for everything you need!

Ready to get started on your new deck? Check out our lumber selection to find your home’s perfect match!

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

Composite vs. Wood Decking: Can We Pick a Winner?

In 2018, the percentage of houses with no outdoor addition like a deck, patio or porch dropped to 8%. It’s clear most homeowners want some way to enjoy the outdoors, no matter where they live.

That’s because outdoor spaces like decks add value to your home, add extra living space, and lets you show off your design skills.

If a deck best suits your outdoor needs, you’ll need to choose between composite versus wood decking. To help you take some of the guesswork out of the process, we’ve developed this guide.

Keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of plastic decking versus wood decking.

Composite Versus Wood Decking

When deciding between composite and wood decking, it’s important to factor in aesthetics, cost, durability, and your current lifestyle.  You may find that wood is less expensive initially but over the years it requires more maintenance and therefore, more money to keep it in good condition.

Composite may be a smarter choice especially since manufacturers are getting better at making boards that closely resemble natural wood. And while most composites absorb more of the heat in summer, making plastic decking hotter to the feet, there’s new technology available that can drastically reduce heat absorption.

Wood Decking

Wood is a natural product. However, it may be chemically treated.

Also, what types of wood you can find may depend on your geographical location. Here is the type of wood for decks most commonly used:

Pressure-treated Lumber

Most wood decking is made from pressure-treated lumber, including the understructure frame such as posts, joists, and posts. It’s affordable and widely available.

Most treated decking is 5/4 x 6–inch planks. It’s typically cut from southern yellow pine and then treated with chemicals to resist fungus, wood-boring bugs, and decay.

The biggest con is that pine isn’t very dimensionally stable. It can crack, swell, split, and warp.

Redwood & Western Red Cedar

Both redwoods and western red cedar’s are known for their beautiful crimson color, natural beauty, and their natural resistance to decay, rot, and insects. As a result, they’re treated with fewer chemicals.

These trees made great decking because they are:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to cut
  • Stable
  • Resistant to warping

Most sizes for decking are 2 x 6 and 2 x 4. They come in a variety of grades as well.

To maintain its color, treat with a semitransparent stain every three to four years.

Tropical hardwoods

Tropical hardwoods are new to the decking scene. And they have some great characteristics such as:

  • Dense
  • Hard
  • Heavy
  • Durable
  • Naturally bug and rot-resistant

There are myriad species available so pricing fluctuates. The most common decking sizes are 3/4- and 1-inch-thick boards.

They’re easy to care for but make sure your tropical hardwood decking has been legally and ethically sourced. You’ll ensure that your wood has been grown and harvested in a legal and more sustainable manner.

The Care & Maintenance of Wood

Natural wood requires more care than plastic decks. Every two to five years, you’ll need to perform the following tasks to keep your deck in good shape:

  • Sand
  • Stain
  • Seal
  • Paint

Twice a year you should clean your deck.

Durability & Lifespan

Wood has about a 15-year lifespan to fight off the following problems:

  • Splintering
  • Staining
  • Fading

Wood can last about 20 years.

Possible Problems After 20 Years

Before the following issues begin causing problems such as:

  • Insect and rot
  • Scratching
  • Warping

On average, most wood decks last between 10 and 30 years, if untreated. It can last up to 50 years if it’s treated wood.

However, how well it was maintained, weather conditions and the type of wood used will factor into how long it lasts.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is a hybrid product. It’s composed mainly of wood fibers and recycled plastic. Common names for composite decking are:

  • Trex
  • TimberTech
  • Veranda
  • Azek

Composite decking can be dense and heavy. It’s also stain and weather-resistant. The lifespan varies greatly from company to company and low to high end product line.

Most types of plastic decking have wood-grain patterns molded into their surfaces to give them the look of real wood.

The Care & Maintenance of Composite

Unlike with wood, you don’t have to sand, seal, stain or even paint your composite. It is recommended that you clean your composite deck twice a year to keep it looking clean.

You can do that by using warm, soapy water and scrubbing your deck. Diluted bleach can kill any signs of mold or mildew.

Available in Different Colors & Sizes

Standard composite decking is available in several colors such as brown, gray, and tan. These colors will most likely fade over time, especially areas exposed to direct sunlight.

There are new fade-resistant composites available. They cost more but keep their color longer.

You can buy composite decking in lengths up to 16 feet.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Invest in a New Deck

Before you make the investment, you should ask yourself a few questions to help you decide which type of decking is best for you such as:

  • How will you use the deck?
  • Is the deck in a sunny or shaded area?
  • Will you do your own deck maintenance or hire a company?

You should also factor in how long you plan to live in your home. While a deck can help increase the value of your home, you shouldn’t blow your budget if you’re planning on moving within a few years.

The Price of Decking

It’s important to understand all the costs involved before you make your choice. Here are the typical costs of both composite and wood decking materials:

  • Pressure-treated wood: $1.50-$2.50 per square foot
  • Cedar: $3.75-$5 per square foot
  • Redwood: $6-$8
  • Tropical hardwoods: $8-$12 per square foot
  • Composite: $7-$10

Once you figure out which material you want to use, try the free cost estimator to get an idea of costs. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of maintenance moving forward if you choose wood.

Choose Your Decking Here

Now that you know the differences between composite versus wood decking, it’s time to start shopping. We have a great selection of decking materials.

We offer competitive pricing and materials that can stand the test of time. Click here to start shopping today.

How an Ipe Wood Fence Gives Your Home a Distinctive Contemporary Look

If you’re in the market for a new fence, an ipe wood fence may be just what you’re looking for. With an exotic, contemporary, and timeless look, ipe hardwood and ipe fence designs are as beautiful as they are durable.

Because of the grain and color of this tropical wood, you’ll often see it used in more modern, contemporary designs.

This guide has everything you need to know about ipe hardwood for your backyard and how to use it to create a beautiful, modern outdoor oasis.

What is Ipe Wood Fencing?

Ipe is pronounced ee-pay in Portuguese. Ipe wood is sourced from South America. This beautiful and exotic hardwood is from the tropics, so it makes a great weather-resistant choice for fencing.

Because it is a tropical wood, it comes naturally resistant to weather, insects, abrasion, and rot. Ipe wood fencing can stand up to rain, heat, wind, and any other elements your home may face. The Wall Street Journal describes this wood as being tough as nails.

The color is naturally a medium to a dark shade of brown. If the wood has been untreated or sealed, it may turn lighter and patina but it can easily be brought back to its natural beauty with a brightener or cleaner.

The color of ipe wood is similar to mahogany and it is a less expensive tropical hardwood that teak lumber. Because it is so durable and weather-resistant, you will often see ipe wood used in fencing, decks, outdoor furniture, and walkways.

In almost all applications, you can expect a really long lifespan out of your ipe fence. With a little maintenance, you can expect your fence to last longer than many pressure-treated woods or engineered materials.

Contemporary Design Ideas with Ipe Wood Fence

Ipe wood fencing is often used in modern and contemporary designs. The color and grain of the wood make for a great contemporary look as opposed to other more weathered or grainy types of woods.

Ipe fences can be laid horizontally for a contemporary look or even in a decorative pattern such as herringbone, or a mix of traditional horizontal boards broken up with vertical ones.

A modern fencing twist is laying the boards horizontally and using thicker, larger pieces of wood. You can separate the slats a little more as well. Bigger spaces with a wider plank give a cool take on the usual fence patterns.

The darker color of ipe boards is also on-trend right now and you won’t even have to stain it.

Another contemporary look is to mix ipe boards with black iron. You can use black iron to stabilize the fence and create a modern, industrial look.

Metal is another sleek way to stabilize an ipe fence in a contemporary and industrial feeling way. The combination of the two will give a clean and modern feel to your outdoor space.

A Good Neighbor Fence

A good neighbor fence is a newer trend where you try to have the fence look the same on both sides. The idea is that both you and your neighbor will see the same fence so one person doesn’t have a bad side while the other has a good side.

With boards laid in a modern, contemporary pattern such as horizontally, both of you will see the same thing on either side of the fence.

The great thing about using ipe as a good neighbor fence is that the natural color is also universally appealing. While it lends itself to contemporary designs and outdoor spaces, the pretty color goes well with any house your neighbor may have.

Additional Contemporary Fence Ideas

For some more contemporary looking ipe fence ideas, think of concrete or green vegetation. In addition to black iron, using concrete is also another super modern way of securing your fence and creating a minimalist and on-trend look.

Between the concrete and durable ipe hardwood, you will barely ever need to maintain this fence. While both are contemporary in design, they are also so clean and classic looking, you will have a look that is virtually timeless.

Another fun twist on the average fence is to use boxwoods or metal trellises to secure your fence. You can break up pieces of the fence with hearty, and contemporary boxwoods trimmed in a clean fashion.

Metal trellises filled with plants and vines are another pretty way to break up the fence while still creating privacy. Both looks add a natural element that are visually stunning.

The pops of green will look gorgeous against the rich, reddish-brown ipe wood fencing. This would also look pretty as a pergola, around a pool, or as a privacy wall.

Ipe Wood Fencing Price Guide

While getting a new fence can seem expensive, with proper care and maintenance, an ipe fence can last for decades. A new fence is also something that will always increase the value of your home.

Ipe fencing comes in three specific widths with varying lengths at Ipe Woods USA. There are 1×4 boards, 1×6 boards, as well as 1×8 inch boards. These are all ¾” thick.

The price of ipe wood will typically be around $2.00-$2.50/LF for standard 1×4 boards. The price will vary slightly depending on the board you go with. Each board can be used in a variety of different ways and the prices range depending on the size and quantity you need.

The 1×4 boards range in length from 4 to 20 feet.

The 1×6 boards range in length from 4 to 20 feet.

The 1×8 boards range in length from 4 to 20 feet.

It is always best to have a professional asses your needs and quote your unique job.

Why Use a Contemporary Ipe Wood Fence?

An ipe wood fence is well worth your investment. From its rich color and universally appealing look to its durability and versatility, you can use an ipe fence in almost unlimited ways.

The color and look of ipe wood make it an eco-friendly and timeless addition to your modern, and contemporary outdoor space. Use it with iron, metal, varying patterns, or in combination with natural plants for a sleek and modern fence that will transform your outdoor space.

If you’re ready to speak with a professional about your new fence, fill out the contact form here to get started on your contemporary backyard make-over.

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!

10 Tips For Creating Your Very Own Backyard Paradise

Having a great backyard is important for so many reasons. Perhaps most important is to improve your quality of life with an outdoor living space. According to a University of Michigan survey, a beautiful backyard paradise is certain to pay off. For example, home shoppers paid more than 11 percent more for a well-manicured lawn. People desperately want the curb appeal and entertainment space associated with a picturesque yard.

Read on to learn how to create your own backyard paradise. Explore 10 tips so that you can create the backyard of your dreams.

1. Lawn Treatment

Having a backyard full of weeds and dirt does not sound like paradise. One of the easiest things to do is treat your lawn. This involves seeding at least twice a year and regular fertilizer applications.

The end result is going to be a thick and rich-colored lawn. You can DIY or hire a professional lawn treatment company.

A professional company will take additional steps to make your lawn perfect. They may add topsoil to the property or aerate the lawn. The bottom line is that lawn treatment is a relatively inexpensive way to make your backyard look great.

2. Plant Shrubs and Flowers

Beautiful plants and flowers are the hallmarks of many tropical vacations. Now that your grass is forest green, it is time to add some more color. You can do this by planting shrubs and flowers.

This is a relatively cheap investment compared to other major backyard projects. There are so many different types of shrubs, trees, and flowers.

Some homeowners prefer to plant perennial flowers so that they grow back every year. This way you do not need to buy new flowers each year and plant them.

Some flowers, like lavender, attract butterflies that add to the atmosphere. There are other popular shrubs like evergreens that stay active all year long.

3. Add a Living Space

The biggest fad in homeownership is adding an outdoor living space. The foundation for an outdoor living space can be achieved in a few different ways.

There are hardwood and composite decking materials that look great. Some people prefer a deck, while others opt to lay down a paver patio. There are even deck tiles that provide a unique and exotic look.

Even laying down a few tons of small rocks can work if you are on a budget. Either way, the intent is to create an area where your guests can relax.

This is a place to put down reclining chairs and a dining table. Some homeowners buy sofas and loveseats with weatherproof cushions.

4. Incorporate Some Lighting

Now it is time to add some ambiance to your outdoor living space. A simple floodlight is not enough if you plan to enjoy your backyard at night.

The remedy is to add some string lights over top of your outdoor living space. String lights use gentle bulbs that are intended to set a relaxing mood for your guests. They also look great.

You can install string lights using a series of hooks. Some elect to hang the hooks from the house or a 4×4. One popular idea is to insert a 4×4 into a large potter and plant flowers at the base.

Another place to hang your lighting is on a beautiful new fence. Your backyard paradise needs privacy. A wood fence allows for intimate moments with some dim lighting attached to set the mood.

5. Warm Up Your Guests

If a lot of time and money was spent on the backyard, you probably want to use it all year long. However, this becomes more difficult as the seasons change and the temperature drops.

The good news is that you can warm up your guests with some cool outdoor appliances. Of course, there are traditional fire pits to roast marshmallows and cook hot dogs. There are also outdoor heaters and fire tables that use propane gas.

6. Outdoor Speakers

Every vacation paradise has great music playing in the background. Your backyard is going to be no different.

There are outdoor speakers that are commercially available. They are weather-resistant and can be mounted to the siding or any other permanent surface.

7. Outdoor Bar

There are very few tropical paradises that do not include a bar. Adding a bar to your backyard will make your house the place to be.

You will need to decide between a wet or dry bar. A wet bar gives you a sink to rinse dishes.

There are many different commercial bars to choose from. To save money, you can choose a DIY project or design your own bar.

If money is not an issue, you can install a complete kitchen in the backyard. This option comes with items like a refrigerator and a stovetop.

8. Add an Awning or Gazebo

Do not let a little rain ruin your next outdoor event. By adding an awning or large gazebo, the party can continue in spite of the weather.

A gazebo can be acquired for less than an awning. You can take it down and store it inside during the harsh winter months.

An awning likely requires professional installation. An automated awning is remote controlled and can retract after your company departs.

9. Mount a Television

With some protection from the elements, you are ready to add an outdoor television. What better way to enjoy a big football game than watching it outdoors.

This is the perfect complement for your bar and fire pit. You can mount it on the side of the house. There are weather-resistant options that can stay up all-year-round.

To take your outdoor TV to the next level, mount it on some shiplap siding. Made popular by HGTV, shiplap siding is weather-resistant and will surround your outdoor TV with style.

10. Add Some Accessories

Now, put the final touches on your backyard paradise with some cool accessories. For example, a small pond will give guests that relaxing vibe.

Another popular accessory is tiki torches. You can install them in the ground or mount them on a deck railing. There are many great add-ons to elevate your entertainment game.

A Recap of Your Backyard Paradise

Your backyard is like a blank canvas. There are so many upgrades that can make your backyard the place to be.

Taking steps like adding deck tiles or an outdoor TV mounted on shiplap siding are certain to win over guests. If you are interested in designing your backyard paradise, contact us today to schedule an appointment.