Category Archives: Hardwood News

Build a Garden Bridge with Ipe Decking

When you are considering building an ipe decking at your home, you really should consider different evaluating different designs and configurations.

The reality is that as time passes, we just keep seeing new and modern ipe deckings that are becoming even more beautiful. Many home owners are definitely taking the time and making a strong effort to make their ipe deckings stand out from the crowd. And the truth is that most of them are really succeeding.

One of the ideas that we have been seeing that has been increasing in popularity includes having your ipe deck built as a part of a garden or a pond. For example, you can build a bridge in your backyard area that goes over a garden or a pond. We bet that you are already imagining having something like this at your own home. After all, if you’re one of those people who likes to see renovation programs on television, you probably already had the opportunity to see something similar. And we must say that it really stands out. It’s just a luxury to have such an ipe decking at your home and where you can enjoy life with your family and friends.

You probably noticed that we haven’t been mentioning any kind of decking up until now. We have been always referring to the decking as the ipe decking. And this is meant to be this way because, in this kind of decoration, you can be sure that the ipe wood is definitely the best material you can use.

When it concerns to the looks, we need to be honest here. Ipe deckings are the best option that you have because they will be beautiful not only now, when you build it. as well as in the long-term. After all, we are talking about a durable kind of wood. Plus, depending on the weather on the area where you live, you always have the option to apply a deck finishing such as the Ipe Oil.

However, as you know, it’s not only a question of looks. When you are building a deck with a garden or pond, you need to make sure that you also look at the function, meaning the qualities of the material that you choose. And in case you choose to go with an ipe decking, you need to know that this is the more resilient wood to termites, decay, and mold. But that’s not all. The ipe wood includes some natural oils and also has a tight grain. This ensures that it has all the natural defenses it needs to deal with most decking problems.

Inspecting The Railings And Stairs Of Your Deck

As you probably already know, doing some routine maintenance and inspection is crucial when you have a deck. You want to make sure that your beautiful deck has all the safety conditions in place so that you, your family, and your friends can feel secure and be able to relax.

However, most homeowners tend to forget about two crucial components of their decks – the railings and the stairs.


Railings are usually involved when there is an injury on your deck. They are, in fact, the second most common cause of accidents.

When you are giving a party, you might already have noticed that some of your guests enjoy leaning on railings while they are chatting. However, if your railings aren’t in good condition, your guests may suffer a huge fall. So, you want to make sure that they are well-secured by carefully inspecting them.

One of the things that you might be wondering is that with so many different types of railings, how can you see if they are in good shape? Even though you can have glass, cables, balusters, or wire mesh railings, they all have one thing in common – they all came in with the manufacturer’s instructions. So, make sure that you grab your instructions and follow what it says.

One of the things that you should know is that your major potential problems may be on the fasteners that are used to attach railing posts to the deck. The truth is that that hardware can loosen up or rust. So, when looking in this particular area, make sure that you check for wood rot and fastener corrosion.


The stairs are one of the areas of your deck that will need to support more foot traffic. Either to go to your deck or to go from the deck to your home, everyone needs to use the stairs. Plus, when you have a large object, you sometimes use the back door of your home to be easy to transport it. So, this means more weight and more pressure on the stairs.

When doing an inspection to your stairs, there are a couple of things that you need to do. The first thing you should do is to start with the stringers. These are very important since they are the major support platform that you have when you walk. When they are overcut, they are more subjected to rot as well as they are more likely to suffer from severe structural weakness.

The second place that you need to carefully inspect is the area where the stairs attach to the deck. No matter what material you used to build the stairs, you need to know that specialized material is necessary to support heavy loads. So, make sure that this hardware is in good condition and that there aren’t any signs of corrosion or any loose nails.

Last but not least, make sure that you check for rot and cracks in the steps. In case you notice there are any protruding screws or nails, make sure to refasten them.


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.

More info here.

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 Wood Really Last?

Understanding the Longevity of Ipe Wood: A Comprehensive Analysis

The durability of Ipe wood is a subject of interest for many outdoor enthusiasts, as it boasts a remarkable outdoor lifespan of up to 75 years. However, delving into the intricacies of this topic requires us to consider various factors such as its applications, board sizes, milling profiles, and installation quality. Historically, pressure-treated wood, redwood, and cedar held the reputation for being top choices for outdoor construction. Yet, Ipe wood has emerged as a frontrunner in the realm of outdoor materials due to its exceptional attributes.

The Pros and Cons of Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood has garnered popularity due to its affordability and ease of use. However, the low cost comes with certain inherent drawbacks. Notably, maintenance becomes a concern with pressure-treated wood. Unlike Ipe, it demands regular stripping, sanding, and staining to maintain its appearance. Recent research has even linked chemical leakage from wet pressure-treated wood, raising health and environmental concerns. As a result, pressure-treated wood may not be the optimal choice for family-oriented outdoor spaces.

The Appeal of Cedar and Redwood

Cedar and redwood are celebrated for their solid performance history in outdoor applications. Nevertheless, the availability of bug-resistant wood with a lifespan exceeding 30 years remains scarce. Presently, these wood types often come with higher price tags compared to Ipe or high-quality composite alternatives.

The Complexities of Composites

Composite materials entered the decking scene with promises of combining the best attributes of wood without its downsides. However, this idealization faced challenges as issues like mold growth and unstable boards became prevalent. Despite efforts to address these concerns, certain problems still persist. Composites, essentially plastic products, lack the innate solidity of wood. Furthermore, specialized installation techniques are imperative to ensure the safety of composite decks.

Ipe Wood: Unrivaled Durability

In the realm of decking options, Ipe Wood shines as a superior choice. Boasting remarkable longevity and nearly maintenance-free characteristics, this 100% natural wood exhibits unparalleled strength. Its captivating dark brown hue, accented by hints of olive green and red, remains vibrant over its 75-year lifespan due to its high density and inherent natural preservatives. Maintenance requirements are refreshingly simple: periodic sweeping, warm water rinsing, and the application of Ipe Oil to preserve its color. However, those seeking a silver patina can allow the wood to weather naturally without the use of Ipe oil.

To further deepen your understanding of Ipe wood and address common inquiries, our Ipe Facts page offers valuable insights and information. Explore the nuances of Ipe wood’s longevity and make informed decisions for your outdoor projects.

For more information on what will make Ipe last up to 75 years read this article:

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 naturally 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, but it will also do so with minimal maintenance. Because of these factors, the majority of 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)