Category Archives: News

Inspecting The Under-structure Of Your Deck

One of the best times to inspecting the under-structure of your deck is usually before summer arrives. And the reason is simple: you want to enjoy your deck during the hotter nights of the year. So, as always, safety should come first. So, by inspecting everything related to your deck beforehand will allow you to enjoy it with your family and friends without any safety concerns.

However, what exactly should you inspect? How can you make sure that your deck can be used safely?

Before we talk about each specific thing you need to look at or task that needs to be done, it’s important to acknowledge that you should always follow local building codes as well as you should be wearing the right safety gear to protect you.

So, here is all that you need to do when you are inspecting the under-structure of your deck:

#1: Ledger Board

In case you don’t know, the ledger board is the board that makes the connection between your house and the deck. This is always a key point of support and this is one of those places that you really should inspect every single year.

The first thing you should consider doing is looking at the fastening method used to connect the ledger board to your home. In case you see nails or any other material that isn’t bolts you should definitely replace them with bolts only. And while you’re making the change, don’t allow anyone to be on the deck.

In the second place, it’s time to check flashing. Flashing is what prevents the water from penetrating into the wood which generally leads to rods and possible failure. While you may not notice any flashing, make sure that you check the board itself and look for penetration. Sometimes, they may not be evident marks but the danger is present.

The last thing that you need to check out on the ledger board is to see if there ate any corroded or loose fasteners.  

#2: Joists & Beams

Both joists and beams are pieces that carry the deck’s weight to the posts and to the ledger board. Each joint and each beam need to be carefully examined to check on termites and rods.

One of the easiest ways to do it is to poke the wood. If it breaks apart or you feel the wood spongy, you need to change that specific joint or beam.

When you notice you have one joint or beam that needs to be replaced, make sure that you carefully check the ones around them.

One of the most common places for failure to occur is where the connections are made. This is why it is especially important to check the hardware for corrosion and rust.

#3: Posts

The posts are the ones that carry the entire deck structure, your family, and your friends. While traditionally they aren’t involved in a failure of a deck, it’s always best to be safe and sorry. So, just do the same process as you did with the joints.

#4: Concrete Footings

The concrete footings are, basically, your foundation. In this part of your deck, you need to check for cracks. In case you notice that your concrete is dry or cracked, this may mean that your post is standing on an unstable ground, which can cause the post to sway, leading to the deck’s collapse.

Plus, you should also check the hardware that connects your footings to your posts for rust.

 

 

 

Tips on How to Build a Deck in the Fall

Now that we are near the end of the Summer, many people are wondering if they should take the opportunity to build their own ipe deck considering that the ipe prices are looking attractive right now.

The truth is that you can definitely take advantage of such a deal. Even though ipe is now a lot more affordable than it was just a couple of years back, the truth is that you never know how the price is going to be tomorrow.

However, when you are building a deck, there are some things that you need to consider. These things will not only allow the installation of the new deck to be simpler and easier as well as it will ensure that your ipe decking will look amazing and strong now as well as in the future. 

#1: Before you immediately start cutting the ipe decking as soon as it gets to your home, just let it adapt to your humidity levels and immediate environment. As a rule of thumb, let the ipe bundles be there between 3 to 5 days.

#2: One of the reasons why a lot of people chooses ipe deckings is because ipe is naturally resistant to mold. However, if even in this situation you are concerned about the wet leaves covering your ipe wood or about the excess moisture, you can always build a simple canopy over the wood. While you could also use a tarp to cover it up, the truth is that a canopy works a lot better because it allows the air circulation and it also is a time-saving solution.

 #3: You probably already heard that you should apply deck oil finish. However, make sure that you only apply it once the ipe wood has acclimated as well as after you install the ipe decking. If you apply the Ipe Oil before you finish the installation, you may end up with some scratched ipe boards. Even though they can be fixed, this means more time and energy spent.

#4: The best time to apply an ipe end sealer is immediately after you cut the decking. Please note that this is a critical step to ensure the health of your deck boards. If you end up waiting for one hour or more, this can be enough for the ipe to end up with split or check ends.

#5: Since you’re planning on installing your ipe deck on fall, it means that in the next few months it will need to deal with rain, wind, and possibly snow. So, your deck will have a lot of moisture content. This is why you need to make sure that you build a deck as tight and stiff as possible because when spring and summer arrive, the boards will start to contract. So, if your ipe decking isn’t as strong as it should be, you’ll start to see some warped and loose boards.

 One of the best ways that you have to assure that your deck is well built even if you’re doing it in the Fall is to pre-drill the ipe with deck screws.

 

 

The Durability Of An Ipe Decking

When you want to build a deck, one of your main concerns is usually related to the material that you are going to use. After all, you want to make sure that your deck is not only beautiful as it is durable as well.

In what comes to the materials used when building a deck, they have been changing throughout the years. In the olds days, the materials that were used more frequently were cedar, redwood, and pressure treated wood. In the last couple of years, a new trend emerged and home owners started using composites. However, this was never a unanimous position since while some home owners love it, others just can’t stand it. And then you have ipe decking.

In order to make a well-thought decision, you need to know a bit more about each one of these materials.

#1: Redwood And Cedar:

Both redwood and cedar were usually preferred because of their strong performance records. They used to have a life span of more than 30 years and were extremely resistant to bugs. However, with the huge demand and the fact that these woods started to become scarce, the prices increased a lot. So, home owners needed to look for better options.

#2: Pressure Treated Wood:

There are many advantages when you choose pressure treated wood. One of the main ones is the price that is quite affordable. Plus, the fact that it’s very easy to work with led to many home owners to choose this material for their decks. However, there’s a great catch – the maintenance. When you decide to use pressure treated wood in your deck, you’ll need to strip, sand, and stain every single year so that your deck continues to look amazing. As if this wasn’t bad enough, there were some recent studies that showed that this kind of wood can release chemicals when wet.

#3: Composites:

When composites appeared, they seemed like the “holy-grail”. They hadn’t any disadvantages and had the best qualities of wood. As you can imagine, this turned out to be false. What happened was that after a lot of home owners used it to build their decks, they started noticing unstable boards as well as mold formation. While most companies tried to handle the complaints as they could, the truth is that the problems are still very evident up until today.

The truth is that composites are not really wood; they are more a kind of plastic product that isn’t as strong as wood, as well as it needs special installations processes and techniques to make sure that you get a safe deck.

#4: Ipe:

One of the latest trends for building decks is the use of ipe. When you are looking for a 100% natural dark brown hardwood that requires almost any maintenance, then ipe might be a great option to consider. One of the main advantages of this wood is the fact that it has a lifespan of more than 75 years due to its naturally occurring preservative oils as well as to its high density.

In terms of the maintenance that it requires, you just need to do a casual sweeping and rinsing with some warm water. In order to preserve the color, you can do some coating with Ipe Oil and your deck will as good as new.

As you can see, you have a lot of options from the more expensive to the most affordable ones. The truth is that when you build a deck, you want to make sure that it lasts in good conditions. Considering the pros and cons of these 4 materials, there’s no question that the best one you can choose is ipe.

Tips To Maintain Your Hardwood Deck

The reality is that every lumber is unique as well as trees are all different as well. So, one of the things that you can expect when you are building a deck is that each board will have different characteristics.

As soon as you have your beautiful deck installed, you want to make sure that it remains this way for many years.

One of the things that many people tend to think is that Brazilian hardwoods aren’t as durable as most woods that are traditionally used to build decks. However, this is not true. The reality is that every wood needs some kind of maintenance to ensure that it continues beautiful and to make it last. This is just like when you have the best car in the world. You still need to change its motor oil from time to time.

According to our experience, there are two main types of deck owners: the ones who simply let their boards weather naturally, and the ones who want to make sure that they keep the same look and feel as if they just finished installing their deck.

There’s no right or wrong position here. It’s just a matter of figuring out where you fit in to take care of the maintenance of your deck according to your personal preferences.

No matter which group you belong to, one of the things that is highly suggested that you do after installing your deck is to apply a coat of Ipe Oil or just a similar UV protect finish. When you do this, you are helping the wood that you use to seal all its natural oils that will help it maintain their physical properties. From here, the rest of the maintenance is up to you, depending on whether you want to maintain the initial color or simply let the weather change it naturally. Please note that as we already mentioned above, each board is different. So, each board may have a different reaction to the amount of moisture, temperature, sunlight, or any other climate changes.

Cleaning Your Hardwood Deck The Right Way

When you decided to use Brazilian hardwood for building your deck, you knew that it required some maintenance. So, it’s time to get it done.

 Cleaning your hardwood deck should be done at least twice a year (a stronger cleaning). The first thing you need to do s to remove all the dirt and loose leafs off your deck using a broom. Don’t forget to check between the deck boards because there might be some old foliage or trash accumulated there. If it is, remove it as well.

 After sweeping, using a mild dish soap and water is advised. You can use a brush to do it. In case you notice there are any harder stains, you can try to use a specific cleaner formulated for wood.

 You should also consider pressure washing your deck. Even though it takes time, the result with be completely worth it. You need to ensure that you use a fan tip as well as the right settings to protect the wood. For example, in case of an Ipe decking, you can use a 1000 PSI setting. Since it’s always best to be safe than sorry, test it on an area that is not visible first.

 While you’re doing your regular maintenance, it’s always a good idea to check some key areas of your deck. Just walk around and see f you notice any corroded or loose fasteners. In case you spot them, make sure to replace or tight them up immediately. As you probably know, fasteners are extremely important since they are making the connections that are able to stand your deck.

Proper Deck Installation & Maintenance Helps Prevent Problems

When you have a deck, you need to carefully inspect the deck boards from time to time. The truth is that it isn’t enough to look at the surface where you and your guests walk. You also need to make sure that everything is just in the right place. After all, your deck is subjected to all kinds of weather conditions, which make it vulnerable.

Even though deck boards won’t cause a deck to fall, the truth is that when we have a couple of deck boards that aren’t in the right conditions and are near with each other, they can create some weak places or tripping hazards where someone can fall. And you want to make sure that you prevent it.

One of the main problems that decks tend to have is usually related to the installation process. Unlike what you may think, simply following the manufacturer’s instructions can actually prevent most of these problems.

There are three main issues that you need to watch for and inspect on your deck boards to keep them nice:

#1: Warping:

Warping is any deformation that you can see on your deck boards. This can include twisting, cupping, or others. Most of the times, the main cause that leads to warping is the fact that during the installation of the deck, there is a restriction of the airflow.

One of the best things about warping is that they can be easily spotted. However, the only thing that you can do when you have a warping board is to replace it by another one.

#2: Protruding Fasteners:

Protruding fasteners are one of the main causes of injuries such as falls and cuts. Fasteners include bolts, screws, and nails. There shouldn’t be any kind of problem, however, since your deck is exposed to all kinds of climate and climate changes, the boards will be constantly expanding and contracting. So, they can get loose over time.

 So, make sure that you take a walk through your entire deck and see how your fastener looks like, If you notice that some screws or nails have popped up, you need to hammer and drill them back into their place. However, make sure they are still in good conditions. In case you notice that they are slipping out, then use a new fastener in a different place on the board.

 #3: Rot:

 One of the main things that lead to rot is the fact that there isn’t a good moisture drainage. This means that if the deck boards don’t have a minimum gap between them as well as a slight pitch from the house, you may end up with rot problems. However, you may even have the right deck installation and still have rot. In this case, the problem may come from the debris that is getting accumulated in your deck.

 When you do not take the time to clean the dirt and the leaves from your deck, including between the boards, it can lead to water retention which is just the perfect situation for rot to occur.

The best way to do a rot inspection is to use a narrow object like a screw driver. Just grab it and use it to poke around each one of the deck boards to see if you feel any soft spots. There are areas on your deck that you need to pay more attention to like the railings or the ledger boards because they can easily trap moisture and debris. And the reason is that these are the areas where the boards meet other parts of your deck.

 Even though inspecting your deck may seem a bit overwhelming and tedious, your safety and your family’s comes first.

Ipe Wood: Why it is Easy to Work With

Ipe Wood in SawSome builders have heard about Ipe but are afraid to dive into using it because the wood is very dense. The common misconception is that it is hard to work with, because of this density. However if you are using the right blades and bits Ipe can be very easy to use on your next project. Of all the hardwoods used for decking, Ipe is regarded by most as the longest lasting and nicest wood available in the United States.

Ipe requires pre-drilling because of the density, other than that its use if very similar. When people say that Ipe is an “Iron Wood” or “Tough as Nails” it is not an exaggeration. Ipe has the same fire classification as steel and concrete. It has a differential shrinkage of 1.4% making it the best of all the hardwoods. The same characteristics that make it so dense are the ones that will keep bugs, fire and mold out also.

To be clear if you are a contractor and you are not recommending Ipe to your clients you are doing them a disservice. As someone that is consulting customers on what wood to use Ipe should always be at the top of your list. Ipe is really hands down the best wood for all outdoor applications. It lasts longer than any of the other woods, requires less treatment and is naturally insect and fire resistant.

If you feel are not recommending Ipe because it is “expensive”, just realize that given the option often times customers will want the superior product. Ipe also is not much more expensive than many of the alternatives but it also lasts 2-5 times longer. This brings the cost of ownership down over the course of its life. More important than that is that the cost of maintenance is much lower than any of the alternative hardwoods. Ipe is the best recommendation you can be making for your clients outdoor needs.

How Long Does Ipe Really Last?

How long does Ipe really last?

In answering this question, there’s need to get a grasp of other prevalent products and the benefits they convey. For quite a long time, pressure treated wood, redwood, or cedar were considered the most famous materials for building.

Pressure Treated Wood

This material is very popular because it is cheap and simple to use. Be that as it may, low cost usually comes with unpredicted disadvantages. One associated downside of pressure treated wood is the maintenance. In addition, you won’t have to do stripping, sanding, staining on a yearly basis. Recently, research has associated leakages of chemicals with pressure treated wood when it gets wet. So, it’s definitely not something you want around your family.

Cedar and Redwood

These two kinds of wood are remarkably popular because they have solid performance records. Regrettably, there’s scarcity of the bug-resistant wood which has a life expectancy of 30+ years. At present, if any of these two woods are priced, they would cost much more than Ipe or high-quality composite materials.

Composites

Arriving the decking scene as an amazing product, composites possess the characteristics of a good wood and without defect. Unfortunately, this feat was unrealistic as unforeseen issues such as mold to unstable boards plagued the composite decking. In reaction, many organizations attempted to address the most typical complaints; however, several problems remain unresolved to date. Composite remains a plastic product that has no resemblance of wood. It’s not as solid as wood. Special installation techniques are required to ensure a safe deck.

Ipe

We offer a durable product that is almost maintenance free, 100% natural, and is the strongest available option of decking. This beautiful dark brown color wood with touches of olive green and red possesses a life span of 75 years, because of its high density and natural preservatives. Their maintenance requirements are straightforward: occasional sweeping, rinsing with warm water, and covering with Ipe Oil to safeguard the color. However, if your need is a silver patina, the best option is to allow the wood survive naturally without the Ipe oil.

Why is Ipe Really the Best?

Ipe Vs Other Hard Woods

Decks, no matter how you design it, still boil down to one big thing, outdoor living space. Since it is one of the most used spaces, it only reasons that when buying decking, your first consideration should be the choice of decking materials.

Nowadays, there a wide variety of decking material choices. From cheap looking synthetics to beautiful exotic natural woods.  Comfort is very important thats why the edges are often rounded to avoid splintering and make it more comfortable to walk on.

We have decided to make a comparison between the available decking materials and see how they fare against each other. We believe it will go a long way in helping you make the right decisions for your decking.

There are many different options for hardwood when installing a quality deck. A superior hardwood deck needs to be able to maintain high environmental standards and have natural characteristics that will set it above all other hardwoods.

The most common choice of decking is the wood decking. Wood materials are often strong and natural. They are also easy to install and they feel cool under the feet. However, some types of wood are prone to rot and require annual cleaning. Most wood decking requires treatments annually. Now enters why Ipe is so much better than the other competitors.

Ipe Wood

Ipe wood is the finest quality of hardwood available. Its natural properties make it the toughest and longest lasting decking material. Ipe decking is well-known for its exceptional characteristics and properties. It is an exotic hardwood that is extremely dense and tight grained, which gives it its strength.

The natural oils in the wood give it the highest rating for resistance against insects, especially termites. It is also naturally resistant to rot and decay, like mold and fungus. It holds up under extreme traffic and heavy use, and resists scratches and slivers. Ipe features a class A fire rating, which is the same rating as concrete and steel.

It has a natural rich color of brown with some pieces displaying red and amber hues. Nothing keeps its integrity or lasts as long as Ipe decking. It has been known to last up to 75+ years without preservatives. Not only will your Ipe deck easily stand up to harsh climates, it will do so with minimal maintenance. Because of these factors, majority people across the world consistently use Ipe wood  in many of their decking projects. These qualities make Ipe the ideal choice for decking.

Tropical Hardwoods

These are woods like the cumaru, cambara, red balau, Golden ironwood, ipe, etc. Among these tropical hardwoods, the Ipe is the best.

The Ipe is highly fire resistant and can last over 75 years and beyond, all things being equal. The Ipe is resistant to splintering and scratching and does not require treatment as it turns into a beautiful natural grayish color with time.

It is also very dense and sinks in water due to its high density.

Redwood and Cedar

Containing natural defenses against rot and insects, are usually durable materials, but with constant usage, they get destroyed quickly are they are very soft. They are very lightweight and stiff, and when exposed to sunlight, their color soon fades.

Easily Ipe is the best choice for your next deck.

Also see: Ipe vs Synthetics (Trex)

 

 

Ipe Wood Could End Up Double in Price

 

Exotic Wood Import Taxes

Many small businesses from all over the U.S. rely on imports from countries in different parts of the world for sustaining their business. Now, these businesses are faced with a problem in President Trump’s proposed import tax. One of the industries that will be hit by the proposed new tax scheme is the importing of Ipe wood.

Ipe, an exotic wood priced for its characteristics that cannot be found on any other domestic wood, is imported mainly from South American countries where it is indigenous. Ipe, when turned into a deck, is next to perfect. This beautiful exotic wood is an ideal decking structure for the woods out of it are hard, strong and naturally resistant to weather, rot and abrasion.

Additionally, Ipe woods are denser than most domestic woods and are five times as harder as well. This makes Ipe a priced exotic wood in the country and is highly imported. Recently, however, with President Trump’s proposed import tax, the industry of importing Ipe woods and other exotic woods is one of the businesses that can have a huge effect in the Ipe wood business as well as other businesses that rely on importing.

Ipe woods industry is only one of the many businesses that heavily rely on imports that will be affected by the Trump administration’s proposed 20% tax on imports. The new import tax was proposed as one of the possible ways to pay the US-Mexico border that President Trump is planning to build.

The planned US-Mexico border is estimated to cost about $12 to $15 billion and the administration is thinking of getting the money to pay for the border through the 20% tax.  At first, the 20% tax as proposed by Trump administration was only related to Mexican imports.

However, the Republican leadership indicated that the 20% tax is aligned with the leadership’s broader tax-reform plans. It specifically aligns with the border adjustment tax implementation. The proposed 20% import tax in the US would apply to goods imported and sold in the country. What this means is that companies would be able to deduct only their local costs from their tax.

In addition to funding the planned US-Mexico border, the revenue that would be generated from this new tax scheme would also be used to fund the reduction to the corporate tax rate, which would be reduced from 35% to 20%.

With the Ipe woods industry being one of the industries that would be hit by this new tax scheme, Ipe Wood USA, one of the country’s leading ipe woods supplier has voiced their concern about the effects of the new tax scheme to local businesses that rely on importing particularly local ipe woods decking businesses.

Last April, the Trump administration has excluded the import of the House Republican in their new tax reform principles. This has given retailers from all over the country a breath of relief. After waging a high-profile campaign against the new tax scheme, they earned a victory.

President Trump chose to decline endorsing the border-adjusted tax but its advocates have hinted that this victory is not permanent. Even so, the anti-border tax group will not relent in their efforts in ensuring the border adjustment tax will not have a place in the country’s tax policies. The fact is that retailers all over the country, including suppliers of ipe wood decks, would face great risks if the border adjustment plan is passed.

If the President decided to endorse the new tax scheme and it was passed, that would mean companies’ tax will be based on their sales’ destination. The new import tax would also mean that exports would be excluded from taxable income but then companies will be prevented from deducting export sales.  In effect, tax would be placed on import.  Many small businesses, wholesale and retailers, would stand to lose in this setup.

In the case of Ipe wood decking, the proposed import tax would cause the cost of imported exotic woods including Ipe to skyrocket. It could mean Ipe would cost as much as double its current price in the near future. If Ipe is currently sold for $2.23 for a linear foot, in the future it could cost in as much as $4.55 if the new tax scheme happens. If this ever happened in the future, many small businesses would be affected negatively in many aspects of their business.

“There are no domestic woods that have the same characteristics of exotic woods like Ipe. Any cost increase in the import tax on exotic woods would be negative not just for the sale of Ipe but for the quality of work in the U.S. Everybody would lose,” said Jerry Brown, the 79-year old of California.

Too many small businesses rely on imports that this new tax scheme would be a really huge burden. Many small businesses simply cannot run their own manufacturing operation, which is a very unrealistic option. In the case of Ipe woods, this would be an impossible feat. After all, you cannot find this rare wood in the country.

Ipe woods would need to be absolutely imported and heavy tax on imports would put higher price for Ipe wood decks. Many people enjoy Ipe wood decks because of its incredible characteristics. Strong, durable, highly resistant, it has all the ideal characteristics of wood. If price ends up increasing, buyers would feel the burden, they will feel compelled to find other alternatives to the wood or simply endure using low-grade wood decks.

On the other hand, the pressure and demand for Ipe wood decks would increase that companies’ quality of work will also suffer. In the end, even though the new tax argues the new tax scheme would benefit exporters, the result is that everybody would lose. It is great that the border-adjustment tax was excluded in the tax reform outline in April, the White House does not completely rule out the tax reform.

Apparently, there were many aspects of the border adjustment the administration like. According to the Treasury Secretary, the current form of the law does not seem to work but there will be more discussion about revisions that can be considered. As it looks like, retailers’ problems regarding the border adjustment tax is not finished yet.

However, even if that maybe so, the anti-border adjustment tax will continue their work to fight against this new tax scheme. With so many people and entities that will be affected if the border-adjustment tax is passed including that of the Ipe wood deck industry, they must band together to fight the shortfall that it would be.

 

 

Ipe Wood is Rated the Best Material for Decking

Consumer Reports Rates Ipe Wood the Best Material for Decking

Ipe Decking is the ultimate material for a beautiful high end deck. The truth is synthetics are what you buy if you are not educated on decking or if you can’t afford Ipe.” — Lynn Patterson

Los Angeles, CA, USA,  Consumers have spoken and anyone that has tried a cheesy synthetic deck is not surprised. The natural wood known as Ipe has won the battle of the best decking material. Teak took a respectable second but rated low because of the extremely high cost. Synthetics have taken the decking market by storm but it seems that customers that actually purchase them rate them lower than their natural counterparts. Consumer reports shows that Ipe’s nearly perfect rating of is due to the longevity, natural look, feel and finish.

The Chief Marketing Analyst of Ipe Woods USA, LLC (formerly Ipe Woods, Inc) Jerry Camden made a statement on the consumer satisfaction findings, “The difference between a real Iron Wood like Ipe and a synthetic deck is the same difference between driving a Fiat and a Ferrari. Synthetics even try to imitate natural wood, but they look cheesy, plastic and cheap. I wouldn’t want my family exposed to materials that were manufactured in a lab”

The report comes as no surprise to many in the decking industry. With the rise of synthetic decking companies over the last decade is also the knowledge of how long these materials last. The result has been multiple lawsuits that have been filed over poor quality boards that end up fading and becoming fuzzy. For instance Trex current rating on Consumer Affairs is 1.5 Stars out of 5. Prior to the last decade we didn’t really know how well these fake boards would hold up and the lawsuits are now speaking for themselves.

Ipe is known as a “Iron Wood” because it is so dense and strong. It actually has the same fire rating as steel and concrete. So why don’t more contractors recommend Ipe Decking to their customers? Simple, the synthetic companies pay commissions to companies that recommend them and the synthetic boards are easier to install. You would be hard pressed to find anyone knowledgeable about wood to argue for synthetic against Ipe. Ipe last’s longer requires little to no maintenance, is stronger and is natural.

Jerry Camden
Ipe Woods USA, LLC
844-674-4455
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