Category Archives: Tips

Crucial Steps to Winterize and Protect Your Deck

Soon, the crisp autumn weather will leave us behind and a healthy layer of snow will blanket the ground. When that happens, you need to make sure that you’re ready. You have to winterize your deck.

If you don’t, the snow and ice that comes with the chilly season will trap moisture into the wood and cause mold and rot. If that happens, you’ll have to replace your Ipe wood deck as soon as the warm weather comes back.

Preparing your hardwood decking goes further than sealing it to keep moisture out. Check out this guide for a full list of steps that you should take to winterize your deck.

Do a General Inspection

First things first, take a look around your deck to see how things look. It will be hard to make general repairs once your deck is covered in snow so, it’s best that you get it out of the way now.

Secure any loose nails that you find. If there are some boards that are looking a bit worse for wear, chances are they won’t last through the winter. Go ahead and have them replaced.

Clean Things Up

Once everything looks good and secure, it’s time to do a little cleaning. If you leave any leaves or pine needles on your deck, they’ll trap in moisture and cause the wood to rot.

Sweep all of it away and bring your potted plants inside if you can. Not only will the winter weather harm the plants but the moisture the pots give off might rot your hardwood decking as easily as the pine straw will.

Check for Weak Tree Branches

You can prepare your deck for the winter all you want but if a tree branch falls on it, all your hard work will be for nothing. Look for signs of tree rot.

If you see any dead branches, go ahead and trim them away. It’s good for the health of the tree and it will save your deck from any unfortunate accidents.

If you live in an area that sees heavy amounts of snow and ice, even a healthy branch might break. You might want to do some trimming just in case.

Power Wash

You don’t want to leave grease and other gross residue sitting on your deck throughout the winter. Rent a power washer and clean any and all mildew off your deck.

If you have an older deck, a power washer might do more harm than good. Instead, go over it with a bleach-free cleaner. This will be enough to get rid of grease and mildew without discoloring and chipping the wood.

Perform the Water Test

It’s time to test your wood to see how it holds up to water. Give your deck a small spritz with a garden hose and see if the water runs off. If it does, you don’t have much to worry about.

If it doesn’t you should re-stain your deck to create a layer of protection. You should pay extra attention to the areas where the water pools. It might be a good idea to have the boards in those places replaced.

Seal the Deck

As we said above, if your deck is no longer repelling water as it should, it’s time to re-stain it or waterproof it. Now, you can’t throw a sealer on it can call it a day.

You have to pay attention to the weather first. If you don’t, the sealer won’t be as effective and your wood will rot before the winter ends.

Play the Waiting Game

Your deck has to be completely dry before you throw a sealer on it. If it’s not, as the deck dries the sealant will come out of the wood along with the water.

The good news is that there are a few signs that your deck will give off when it’s ready to be sealed. The wood will turn a lighter color and you’ll be able to see a little bit of space between the boards.

Check with the Weatherman

Warm weather helps the seal dry faster and makes it more effective. This being said, check to make sure that the weather is going to be above 50 degrees for at least 48 hours after you seal the deck.

This is easier said than done. While fall and spring weather usually stays above 50 degrees during the day, the temperature may plummet during the night and ruin your sealant.

The temperature isn’t the only thing that has to be favorable. Take a look at the 5-day forecast to check for rain, snow, sleet, and other nasty weather conditions.

Store Your Plants and Furniture

Again, you want to store your plants away because the pots will trap moisture into your deck. The cold weather might also ruin your ceramic pots and kill your plants. Check the leaves for spiders and other creepy crawlies and bring the pots inside.

The same can be said about your outdoor furniture. You won’t be having a family BBQ in the middle of the winter so wash down your furniture and store it away until the warm weather comes back. If you don’t, you’ll be buying a new set when the springtime comes along.

Winterize Your Deck in Time for the Cold Season

You need to take the proper steps to winterize your deck before the icy weather brushes through. This way, you won’t have to deal with rot and mold in the spring.

Take the time to seal the deck, remove your potted plants, put away your furniture, and clean the wood. Trust us when we say you won’t regret it.

If you want your deck to be dry enough for sealing before the cold weather hits, it might be a good idea to begin your deck building project now. Check out our large selection of Ipe decking to get started.

Building a Deck Frame 101: How to Choose the Perfect Wood for Your Project

Don’t use just any old wood for your brand-new deck. Before you build your deck, do a little planning.

A deck can make your home look bigger and better. When planned thoughtfully, it can also add some spice to your façade.

Decks make great outdoor entertaining spaces. If you reside in a scenic area, a deck is a great way to take advantage of the view.

If you’re going to build a deck, it helps to understand the basics of the project. Read on to learn the basics of building a deck frame.

Building a Deck Frame

Before you build your deck, always remember to check local zoning laws and apply for any necessary permits. You don’t want your dream deck to turn into a hotbed of trouble with the local authorities.

A reliable deck needs a good foundation. There are several ways to set the posts of your deck.

A popular method involves pouring concrete into the post holes. Next, you’ll set the posts in the concrete. Then, you’d backfill the post holes with gravel.

To keep your posts from rotting, you can set them in aboveground concrete footers. No matter what method you use, however, you should make sure that you set your posts above the frost line.

The frost line is the level where the ground freezes. By setting your posts above the frost line, you’ll prevent freezing ground from pushing the posts out of their foundation. The frost line is different in various regions, so you’ll have to find out how deep it is in your area.

You’ll also need to fasten the support beams and joists. It’s important to use hardware for treated lumber to attach your deck materials.

For instance, use stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized fasteners. Standard fasteners will rust, ruining your entire deck over time – more on that shortly.

The Best Wood for Decks

There are many tasks involved in the installation of wood decks. One of those tasks is choosing the wood.

There’s a lot of wood types that you can choose. It can prove difficult choosing one, especially if you’re wondering about the best wood to use for decks.

Here’s a tip: Hardwood lumber is your best option. It’s beautiful and durable.

For instance, Ipe is the best wood for an outdoor deck. You may have also heard it called Brazilian Walnut or Pau Lope wood.

Garapa wood is approximately half as hard as you Ipe wood decking. Still, it retains many of the positive traits of Ipe building material.

Cumaru wood is another attractive Brazilian building material. It’s only slightly less hard compared to Ipe wood. Cumaru wood also retains many of the good qualities of Ipe wood decking.

You may have also heard Cumaru wood called Brazilian Teak. It has a medium-brown color and also comes in exotic purple tones.

Cumaru wood is more affordable compared to Ipe. However, it doesn’t have the flawless appearance of this more superior product.

Wood Deck Ideas

Now comes the fun part – picking the right finish for your wood deck. There are three options for finishing wood decks – paint, stain or raw wood.

It may seem unusual to paint a wood deck. However, there are benefits to using paint.

If you choose the right color, for instance, you won’t need to clean it often. Also, it’s easy to clean some high-quality paints. Furthermore, quality paint lasts long.

However, you need to make sure that’s what you want to do. Once you’ve painted your deck, it’s difficult to restore it to a natural wood finish.

Most people choose to stain their decks. Stain enables you to retain the natural beauty of the wood. With some woods, stain brings out the beauty of the material.

However, stain doesn’t last as long as paint. The amount of time that wood stain lasts varies depending on how many coats you apply as well as the quality of the coating.

Finally, you may decide not to treat your deck materials. One advantage of not treating your deck wood is that you can use it immediately. With diligent cleaning and maintenance, your deck will still last for years.

Redwood and Red Cedar resist insects and decay naturally. However, untreated wood will discolor, especially in high-traffic areas.

Still, the right raw wood will stand the test of time, as long as you don’t live in an environment with extreme weather. It will look different over time but will still retain its durability.

Designing Your Wood Deck

Before you build your deck, think about the big picture. As a rule of thumb, you should build a deck that’s no larger than 20-percent of your home’s total square footage.

You should also consider how you’ll make use of your deck. For example, you may want to use it for entertaining. In that case, you may want to consider including a fire pit feature and space for outdoor furniture.

It’s also a good idea to build your deck a few inches below your door. This method isn’t as attractive as building the deck flush to your doorway. However, it will prevent debris from making its way into your home.

It’s also helpful to have a deck that’s lower than your entryway when it snows. A deck that’s set a few inches below your door will keep snow from blocking the entryway in the wintertime.

Trust Us for the Best Wood for Your Deck!

There’s much more that goes into building a deck frame. However, this overview gives you an idea of the basics of building a beautiful outdoor area for your home.

Ipe Woods USA is the leader in direct-to-consumer exotic hardwood. Were also a member of the International Wood Products Association and the National Hardwood Lumber Association.

You can count on top-notch service from Ipe Woods. We’ve won the Houzz “Best of Customer Service” award two years in a row.

It’s our mission to provide the highest quality Ipe wood at the lowest cost. Contact us today at (844) 674-4455 for a free quote for your next deck project.

The Hardest Hardwood Floors: Are They Worth It?

You love the look of hardwood floors, but you’re worried about the dents that could come from everyday use.

This is a genuine concern that many people have.

Being a homeowner, you know that even the slightest movement of furniture can be enough to mark up the floors. You might have young children who use the floors as a playmat.

The hardest hardwood floors are your answer to decorating your home in a practical way.

While no floor can completely guard against dents, the hardest can do a great job at resisting it.

Are you interested in finding out why the hardest hardwood floors might work for you? Read on to find out why they’re worth the investment.

How Hard Is The Hardest Wood Flooring?

Hardwood floors are rated for their hardness using the Janka scale.

Each type of wood receives a Janka rating. The lowest numbers on the scale mean that the wood is more likely to dent, while the highest numbers mean that the wood can resist dents better.

The one thing that the Janka scale does not determine is how likely the wood is to get scratches. Instead, it determines the hardness of certain types of wood flooring.

The lowest ratings are typically in the hundreds, with the highest ratings usually reaching into the thousands.

When looking at the hardest of wood floors, you want one with a high Janka rating.

What Is The Hardest Type of Wood Flooring?

When looking into the hardest hardwood floors, there are a few options to decide from. Since all the options rank high on the Janka scale, your choice should come down to the floor that is right for you.

Hickory

Hickory is one of the hardest domestic woods available for hardwood flooring. It ranks fairly high on the Janka scale at 1,820. It’s a good option that surpasses the industry standard of hardness, but there are many harder options to consider as well.

While hardwood from the United States is used for flooring, it’s not the hardest that’s available. If you’re looking for the hardest floors you can find, exotic species are the way to go.

Garapa Hardwood

Garapa is a hardwood that also takes on the name of “Golden Teak.” One great feature of Garapa hardwood floors is that they are golden in color. It’s one of the softer options when it comes to exotic wood as it has a 1,700 Janka rating.

Garapa is often used outside for decking, so it’s prepared to take on some of the toughest scratches. This makes it a great option for hardwood flooring indoors. It will brighten up a room while keeping up with high traffic.

If you’re looking for an affordable, yet durable option, Garapa might be the choice for you.

Tigerwood Hardwood

Looking for a unique hardwood floor with a lot of character? Tigerwood can give you all that and more!

You might know it better as Brazilian koa or African walnut. It’s a popular choice for hardwood floors for many reasons.

It’s a great option if you want your floors to stand out while protecting against marks and scuffs. Its Janka rating is 2,160, meaning that it surpasses the hardness of domestic woods.

This means that it’s a great option for flooring as it resists dents and damages well.

The lifespan of tigerwood is another great feature of this hardwood. That unique tiger print pattern can stand out for many years to come!

Cumaru Hardwood

Another name for Cumaru is Brazilian Chesnut. This falls in line with the beautiful brown color that makes this wood so stunning.

Cumaru ranks at 3,540 on the Janka scale making it one of the hardest hardwood floor options available.

Pairing its durability with its beautiful patterns, it’s a great option if you want some of the hardest wood available for your flooring.

Ipe Hardwood

Ipe or Brazilian walnut is top-notch if you want the hardest and most durable flooring on the market. It boasts a Janka rating of 3,680, making it extremely hard to dent.

Aside from its extreme hardness, it’s good for a few other reasons as well. One reason is that it’s available in many colors. This makes it a great option for you if you want a certain look to go with extreme durability.

In addition to this, Ipe is also fire resistant!

If you’re looking for the toughest of wood that will last a lifetime, then Ipe is the choice for you.

Are The Hardest Hardwood Floors Worth It?

Janka ratings that are over the standard aren’t bad choices. There are plenty of advantages to consider when going with the hardest hardwood floors on the market.

Consider the area that you plan to install the flooring in. Is it a high traffic area that is bound to see rough wear and tear? Is it an area that a pet will use often? If you said “yes,” then you would benefit from choosing a hardwood floor with a higher Janka rating.

This way, you wouldn’t see as many dents on your floors from impact and high traffic. Even if the kids came in and slid their chairs across the floor, they’d do a great job of resisting the scratches.

Finding a good balance between the look that you want and the durability of your flooring will help you reach the best decision for you.

If dents and scratches are your main concern, the hardest hardwood floors will be worth it.

Want to Learn More About the Best Hardwood Floors for You?

Choosing the right flooring is an important decision. Flooring is meant to last you for many years to come, so you’ll want something that can hold up over time.

At Ipe Woods USA, we have a large variety of durable wood choices, the main one being Ipe. You can trust that your hardwood flooring will stand the test of time and of course, the Janka test!

If you’re ready to invest in the hardest hardwood floors you can find, you’ve come to the right place. Contact us to find out how we can help you find the hardwood flooring that’s right for you!

Modern Siding Trends That Homeowners Are in Love With in 2020

The exterior of our homes is often a forgotten area for smart design. But improving the curb appeal of your home can increase its value by 3-5%

New, modern siding can be exactly the upgrade your home needs. These modern styles are becoming more and more popular with a variety of applications. The wide variety allows you to find just the right look for your home. 

Let’s take a deeper look into modern exterior trends and your options. 

Modern Siding Materials

One of the main characteristics of modern exterior design is the use of specific materials. 

Modern style usually has a mixture of materials that seem opposite to each other. Natural wood will be accented by man-made cement or metal. This contrast gives a unique, intentional look for a well-designed home. 

There are several types of siding for houses looking for a modern design. 

Ipe Wood

Almost all modern homes will feature some kind of wood in their design. This element is crucial for the overall contrast needed to achieve the right look. 

A very popular choice for wood siding is Ipe wood or Brazilian walnut. This type of wood is known for its durability and strength, eight times stronger than redwood. It sets the industry standard for wood. 

Many choose this type of wood siding because it holds up so well to the elements. Ipe wood has a natural ability to withstand rot and decay, so it’s perfect for outdoor use. 

There is also very little maintenance (or none if that’s what you choose) to keep it looking fresh. Ipe wood provides the natural element used in modern design without the hassle and upkeep required by other materials. 

Fiber Cement 

Many who are going for a modern exterior will contrast the soft-looking wood elements with some harder, man-made elements. This can easily be achieved by using a fiber cement siding. 

Fiber Siding can be molded to have a variety of different looks, which can be helpful in exterior design. It can also be painted or stained to match the rest of the design. 

This material is quickly replacing vinyl siding throughout the industry. It has a similar look but is much more durable and requires less maintenance. Fiber cement combined with some Ipe wood would give a contemporary siding finish. 

Concrete

One of the hallmarks of modern design is the touches of industrial materials. These help to create that contrast we’ve been talking about. 

Many homes will use areas of concrete to bring in some hard touches to the design.

Though this material is generally reserved for accents or small areas because of the work to install it. Using concrete is more expensive and much more labor-intensive. A professional will definitely have to do this type of work.

But the finished product is quite striking.  

Steel

Similar to concrete, metal is often used in modern design to bring in a harder element for contrast. Steel is most commonly used for this purpose. 

Steel has become a popular choice because of its quite durable as well. It’s easier to work with and can be manipulated to fit the needs of the design. Unlike concrete, it is easier to use on larger areas. 

These metal accents can make a very big impact on the overall exterior design. 

Modern Siding Style

It could be argued that the materials used are the most important part of good modern exterior design, but the style of siding is also just as important. 

There are a few modern siding options that easily create the look you’re going for. 

One of the most popular options is to change the traditional thickness of siding slats. So some homes will have much thinner boards and others will have much thicker. This gives more of a customized look by changing the norm. 

Some even cut their siding into large squares or rectangles to be hung on the home. 

A modern design calls for the unique placement of the siding materials. They can be run vertically or on the diagonal. Some modern homes include intricate designs in their siding. 

This customization is also why Ipe wood is so popular for exterior siding. It can be cut and manipulated to fit any design needs. 

The style and the way the siding is placed is a crucial element to the overall design. It can make or break the look, so it’s important to decide carefully. 

Modern Exterior Extras

Modern design hinges on the use of accessories and accents. These are the elements that bring the contrast out and make it appealing. 

One very large accent that is popular among modern designs is a metal roof. These are especially becoming on a home with Ipe wood siding. Many roofs are also flattened to create an over-the-top modern look. 

But if you aren’t looking to completely change the structure and material of your roofing, there are plenty of other modern accessories you can use. 

Adding accent lighting is a great way to highlight key design elements. The easy addition of a few uprights on the side of your home, maybe near the front door or the main accent wall, can make a huge difference. 

The hardware can bring in the contrasting harder elements as well. Industrial lights, door handles, and house numbers bring in that needed metal. 

A modern exterior just doesn’t work without these little details. 

Update the Look of Your Home 

Updating the exterior of your home can seem like a very daunting task. Largely because it can be such a major investment.

But if you start with the basics of choosing the right modern siding, you’re sure to get the look you want.

These modern materials, like Ipe wood, provide not only a stunning look but also a strong foundation. They are durable and will look great for years to come! 

If you’re interested in getting started on some Ipe wood siding, contact us today! 

Deck Design Ideas: 7 Creative Deck Designs to Consider

You can extend the area of your home with a backyard deck. Whether your deck is attached to the house or freestanding, there are hundreds of beautiful deck design ideas.

The thing is that you can also get overwhelmed by all the choices. That’s why we narrowed our suggestions down to seven beautiful options.

Maybe you already have a deck that you’re updating. Or you could be starting from scratch. Either way, there are a few basic choices to make before you get into all the little details.

Once you decide on your deck’s style — nature-inspired, modern and clean, or colorful and unique — then you can think about the best decking material to use.

But first, let’s consider whether or not you want the deck open-air or if you prefer a roof type covering.

1. Versatile Outdoor Deck Ideas

A pergola is the best of both worlds, with an open roof-like top. It provides some shelter from the environment and defines a gorgeous place to entertain outside.

You’ll also have an option for a hanging garden. Plus, any kind of climbing plants are perfect for the pergola.

Clematis, honeysuckle, and wisterias are all lovely choices that will grow and twine through the boards to create a floral ceiling.

On the other hand, you can define the lines of the structure another way, leave the top open, and forgo the plants altogether. Ultimately, a pergola is a versatile option that you can use to define your style.

2. A Private Place to Relax

When it comes to privacy, it’s all about the material you use. One way to establish a private spot is to add greenery. Adding plants will reduce noise and provide a living backdrop.

Built-in planters are an excellent choice to incorporate into your backyard design. Then you can use a variety of annuals and perennials to enhance the space.

Fruits and vegetables would add a unique touch, as well. Think about herbs, tomatoes, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables to use in your cooking this summer.

You can also build a privacy wall from natural wood, iron, or any number of other types of material.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

3. Level Up

Those built-in planters are just one of the backyard deck ideas that incorporate different levels.

For example, you may have a larger planter to accommodate an ornamental tree sitting next to a smaller container that holds seasonal blooms or edible plants.

What this does for your deck is to add little areas of interest.

Note that you can always switch out the greenery for sculpture, fountains, and other objects.

If you’re planning a DIY deck, you’ll want to get some professional how-to tips on what materials to use, how to choose the right fixtures, and tips on painting, staining, and finish.

Then you can get creative with adding steps, raised seating, different heights of planters (and plants), or even a sunk-in firepit depending on where you’re building.

Go up or down — Different levels will make your deck unique.

4. Indoor-Outdoor

Whether it’s french doors opening onto the deck or an outdoor kitchen complete with grill, sink, and dining — An indoor-outdoor deck is a sophisticated choice.

Imagine a two-sided fireplace that faces the deck and also the living room inside your home. Or doors that slide open from the master bedroom to enlarge the indoor space, incorporating the deck.

Plus, you can always add a play area for the kids with a basketball hoop or a swing set if you have enough room. After all, they should get to enjoy the deck too.

5.  DIY Floating Deck

As far as backyard deck designs go, you can DIY a floating deck anywhere. This tutorial breaks it down into the following steps:

  • Level the area
  • Determine the four corners and dig a hole for each cinderblock
  • Draw the lines for the interior blocks and dig a trench along those lines
  • Set the inner blocks in and level them
  • Set the outer blocks
  • Lay down the deck joists
  • Lay the deck boards

Of course, the quality of your deck depends on the quality of the materials. There are thousands of design options, and it all comes down to what you want from your deck.

Think of your floating deck as a backyard oasis that can go anywhere you choose.

6. Light it Up

You can get really creative lighting. From twinkle lights to tiki torches, lighting adds atmosphere.

Recessed lighting is an attractive choice on a deck too. And these days, there are plenty of solar-powered options as well.

Another thing to think about is where and how you’ll mount the lights. Try lighting the stairs with recessed lighting. Not only will it be pretty, but it will also make it safer at night.

LED Christmas lights are gorgeous, wrapped around rails and foliage. You can also light underneath the table and include candles and free-standing LED lights in corners and as accents.

You may want to try colored lights for some pop in a few spots.

7. All the Little Touches

Regardless of if your updating or building from scratch, you’ll want to add all the little touches that make your deck uniquely yours.

We’ve already looked at lighting, so onto furniture.

Deck furniture has to stand up to the weather. One option is to build-in the seating and add cushions.

Since built-in furniture is part of the structure, you can waterproof it like the rest of the deck, and store the cushions when the weather turns.

Other materials to consider if you don’t want built-in deck furniture are wrought iron, polymers, plastics, and aluminum. And if you’re into DIY, you can try constructing pallet furniture.

The main thing to keep in mind other than style is your deck furniture must be durable and waterproof.

Make It Your Own: Creative Deck Designs

If you’re planning to add a deck, use our blog for more deck design ideas, tips, and tricks.

Do you have any questions? Maybe you want to share your experience as you work on your deck design.

Why not go ahead and leave a comment? We’re always happy to hear from you.

Then make sure to contact Ipe Woods USA for a quote on the best wood you can buy!

What is IPE Decking? Here’s Why It’s Your Best Choice For Decking Material

Whether you’re thinking of upgrading your faded, worn decking or building a new deck, consider the sustainable floor solutions of IPE decking. It can give your deck, garden path, outdoor patio, backyard gazebo or swimming pool area a hygienic, versatile floor for all your outdoor flooring.

You might be wondering, ”What is IPE decking?” The answer is it’s a durable, sustainable outdoor decking with warm textures and colors.

Read more about why IPE decking is a gorgeous, hard-as-rock, sustainable alternative to traditional wood decking.

What Is IPE Decking?

IPE decking, pronounced ”ee-pay” is dense and strong. It comes from a collection of tropical, Central and South American hardwood species also known as Ironwood, Lapacho or Brazilian Walnut.

The wood is so dense, it sinks in water. Not only that, the wood is so hard, you can’t hammer a nail through it. You have to predrill holes with a carbide-tipped drill bit first.

It’s so durable and sustainable, it can last up to 30 years in outdoor weather conditions without using any chemicals. There’s no other wood decking that can last as long and cost so little in the long run.

What Are the Benefits of IPE?

IPE decking stands out for its long-lasting hardwood and amazing features. Here are some of the benefits of choosing IPE decking for your outdoor living spaces:

Resistant to Wood Decay

Because IPE wood is so hard, rainwater, dew and snow can’t penetrate the surface. This prevents rotting wood that cracks and creates soft spots.

Termite Resistant

According to the Forest Products Journal, IPE testing by the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) proved IPE resistance to termites. For the study, IPE, Merbau, giant bamboo and juniper sapwood were exposed to termites by burying the wood in termite-infested soil. The test evaluated resistance to fungus and termites.

Forty untreated wood samples were placed into the ground so termites could explore the wood. They observed the specimens at six-month intervals. The results showed that the IPE had no evidence of termite attack or fungus, while the juniper and bamboo were completely destroyed by termites after 32 months.

Class-A IPE Fire Rating

Most decks are constructed using wood, such as cedar, pine and redwood. No matter what type of wood you use, it’s always a fire hazard. If you select IPE for your decking, you reduce the danger of a spreading fire.

IPE decking has a Class-A fire rating, which has the greatest resistance to fire. This is the same rating given to steel and concrete. Although it’s not fireproof, IPE won’t catch fire or spread flames as fast as other wooden building materials. Since IPE is so dense, the wood fibers repel flames and embers.

A Class-A fire rating is important, especially if you live in a wildfire zone or host barbecues on your deck. You don’t have to worry about any embers or sparks that land on your deck.

Mold Resistant

Mold needs moisture to grow. Since IPE decking repels moisture, the mold can’t survive on this hardwood. Even in a tropical climate, IPE resists mold and mildew.

Stays Cooler During Hot Weather

There’s no more hopping from foot to foot when you walk barefoot on your deck on a hot summer’s day. IPE decking doesn’t retain heat. So, even though it feels warm, it doesn’t get so hot that you can’t walk on it. Not only that, the wood remains splinter-free.

Low Maintenance

If you want a weathered, silver patina for your IPE wood decking surface, just leave it alone and will weather naturally in a couple of seasons. This gives your deck a driftwood appearance.

But, if you prefer the natural beauty of wood tones of warm russet with golden highlights, you can apply oil to your decking each year. This will enhance the natural grain and color of the wood.

All of these benefits make IPE decking an exceptional quality wood for your deck, patio, sauna, fencing and roof decks. It’s resistance to humidity, heat and cold makes it ideal for all climates. IPE wood also features exotic patterns, and aesthetically appealing light and dark colors.

Types of IPE Grades

You can choose IPE in three different IPE grades we work with. These can vary according to sapwood, grain, color, and pattern.

IPE Number 1 Grades – FEQ – FAS

This is also called First European Quality (FEQ). It’s the best IPE grade. Number 1 Grade IPE must not have any defects or sapwood. Also, it shouldn’t have any splits, roughness or holes. The board should be clear on all sides and have a straight grain, rather than tiger stripes or reverse.

The ends of Number 1 Grade IPE are waxed to seal them. When IPE wood meets with the Number 1 Grade requirements, it’s close to perfect.

IPE Number 2 Grades – Select – FAS-1 FACE

Number 2 Grade IPE, also known sometimes as Rustic, allows sapwood and varying grains. The good side of the board can have minor flaws, such as knots and other minor imperfections.

The back of the board can have broken knots. But, this grade doesn’t allow splits or any structural defects. Sanding Number 2 Grade IPE helps make any small imperfections less noticeable and enhances the grain of the wood.

Choosing IPE Grade for Your Home Projects

Depending on where you want to use IPE decking, consider the benefits of Number 1 vs Number 2 Grade IPE. If you want a rustic look for fencing or siding, Number 2 looks amazing.

On the other hand, if you want a more uniform look, Number 1 Grade IPE is a good choice. Select your IPE decking according to your personal taste.

Is IPE Right for Your Home Construction Project?

Now that you have the answer to ”What is IPE decking?’,” you can decide if this durable, eco-friendly hardwood is right for your deck, fence, roof flooring or siding. Its long life makes it economical and the gorgeous wood tones and textures can boost your home’s curb appeal.

If you’d like more information on exotic, natural IPE decking for your home, contact us for a free estimate. We’re also happy to answer any questions you have about our hardwood decking products and installation.

FSC Certified Ipe Rundown

While we adhere to all legal processes, Ipe Woods USA is not and has not been affiliated with the FSC certification process. While we work with many companies that do work with the FSC certification we are not certified at this time. If you are looking for FSC certified Ipe, give us a call and we can point you in the right direction. It is very important to note that a company can have an FSC logo on its site but sell non-FSC certified wood. You will want to make sure you procure the correct documentation and on your invoice, it states it is FSC.

6 Things to Consider When Building a Deck

A new deck is a great way to add value to your home. Not only do well-built decks look amazing attached to homes, but they also give you more living space even if it is outdoors. For those who love to entertain or relax outside, a deck is a great option.

If you’ve been considering building a deck, but aren’t sure what things need to be taken into consideration first, then you’ll want to stick around for our help. You’re not alone. Many homeowners don’t understand all of the essential details to keep in mind when building a new space such as a deck.

If building decks isn’t something that you do for a living, then you might be in need of some helpful tips. Don’t let the idea of such a big project stress you out. Continue reading below for 9 important factors you should think about before getting your deck started!

1. Know What You Will Use the Deck for

The first thing you’ll want to determine is what you’ll be using the deck for. Will you be using your new deck to throw parties on and entertain guests? Do you plan on using it as a second dining room for family meals?

Maybe you want the deck for a space to sit back, read a book, and enjoy the fresh air. Whatever the case may be, it’s essential that you know what the deck’s main purpose will be before building it. If you want to use the deck for family meals, then consider how big the table will be.

You need enough room to fit the table and still have enough space to move around it. If you plan to entertain on your deck, then you’ll need enough room for cooking and the prepping station. You could consider adding in built-in seating around the deck’s perimeter to save space.

As you can see, the use of the deck is a big factor to take into consideration before just building a deck of any shape or size.

2. Measure the Space Beforehand

If you have an idea of what shape and size you want for your deck, it’s a good idea to measure the space out beforehand. You can use string and stakes to map out what the deck would look like and how big it would be. Once you have the measurements drawn out using the stakes and string, you can then add in the different furniture pieces into it.

See how the furniture fits into the given space and how you can arrange it. If you feel like there’s not enough room to fit everything that you want on your deck, then you can decide to go with a bigger deck and vice versa. This is also a good way to see what different designs would work well in your front or backyard.

3. Easy Care vs Aesthetics

Once you have a good idea of how big of a deck you want or what shape you want it to be, you can then decide on what aspect of it is most important to you. Do you need a deck that’s easy to take care of with low maintenance? Or, do you want a deck that has more of an aesthetic appeal to it?

The type of materials used to build your deck will determine if the deck is more easy maintenance or aesthetically appealing. You can have beautiful patterns made out of the flooring to give a wow factor to your guests. You can also use materials that are easy to take care of when you have a large family to keep up with and several little ones running around.

4. It’ll Increase Your Home’s Value

Adding a deck to your home increases your home’s value. It adds more living space to your home, and everyone loves a nice outdoor space. It also adds to your home’s curb appeal when building it in the front or around the sides.

All of these things added together are a great way to increase your home’s value if you ever plan on selling it.

5. It’ll Promote More Outside Time

When creating a deck to add to your home, you’ll promote more outside time for yourself and your family. You’ll experience a much more comfortable outside environment when you have a place to sit and relax. If you build a deck and create an outside space that you love, then you’ll be more tempted to spend time outdoors.

This could be to have a family game night, eat a family dinner, or enjoy a weekend BBQ. Spending more time outdoors means that you and your family will enjoy more active lifestyles.

6. Decks Can Be Custom Built for You

Different families need different things from their home deck. Depending on what your specific needs are, your deck can be built to accommodate those needs. Hiring a professional company to install your deck is the best way to ensure that you get everything you want and need out of it.

All of the different aspects of the deck including the design, style, size, shape, materials, and patterns will be build with your needs in mind.

When Considering Building a Deck, Keep These Things in Mind!

If you’re considering building a deck, then you’ll want to keep these things in mind. Hiring professionals will ensure that the deck is safe and meets all of your needs.

Click here for our list of prices of our services, and see how we can help you today.

Make It Shine: 9 Tips for Cleaning Your Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors look gorgeous and stand the test of time. Of course, they only do both of those things as long as you care for your floors the right way! Cleaning your hardwood floor might seem tricky at first.

When you choose hardwood flooring over carpeting or other flooring materials, you pick a type of floor with plenty of advantages. Hardwood floors are great for allergy-sufferers, while carpeting can be a catch-all for dust and allergens. Plus hardwood floors can match just about any design style.

“They” say hardwood floors are easier to clean than other floorings, too! But, how do you clean your hardwoods to keep them looking nice for longer? Here are nine tips for cleaning your hardwood floor in the right ways.

1. Keep up With Dust!

Carpet holds on to dust more so than hardwood floors, but that doesn’t mean your hardwood floors are dust-free.

It is, however, easier to see and clean dust from your hardwood flooring. Use a soft-bristle broom or a micro-fiber dust mop once or twice a week to gently sweep away dust and other debris from your floors.

Be sure you get into the corners and underneath furniture. A quick dust removal doesn’t take long and helps your floors retain their luster.

2. Beware the Legos!

Larger objects, like small rocks or (if you have small kids) Legos, can damage your floors if kicked or trampled. Never leave toys or other dropped objects on the floor.

While you’re sweeping for dust, pick up debris and notice any damage left behind. You’ll want to keep an eye on dents and dings to make sure they don’t grow into bigger problems that might require repair.

3. Vacuum With Care!

Yes, you can vacuum your hardwood floors! If dusting isn’t removing enough dirt before you deep clean, use a vacuum to remove more dirt and debris.

Choose a vacuum that is ideal for wood floors. Make sure the wheels won’t damage the surface of your hardwoods. When running the vacuum over your flooring, avoid using the spinning brush. You don’t want to leave bristle scratches on the surface of your beautiful floors!

You might find that a small, automatic robot vacuum is perfect for cleaning hardwood floors. The bristles are gentle and it can get in those hard-to-reach places a large vacuum can’t reach.

4. Never Leave a Puddle Behind!

Moisture is one of the most dangerous things for your hardwood floors. That’s one reason why you won’t often find hardwood flooring in bathrooms.

When humidity or puddles of water have time to sit on your hardwoods, it causes the boards to warp or bow.

You don’t have to completely avoid using water to wipe up a mess on your floors—just be sure you don’t allow time for water to sit or soak in. Be sure you never leave wet cleaning aids to sit on the surface. If you splash water or find a puddle that someone else left behind on the floor, dry it right away.

5. Clean With the Right Cleaners!

When cleaning hardwood floors, you can use cleaners to help disinfect or return your floors to their like-new original glory.

Try vinegar when it’s time to deep-clean your hardwood flooring. For those of you who prefer to use fewer chemicals in your household, vinegar is an excellent choice to clean a variety of surfaces—including your hardwoods.

Use a mixture of water and white or cleaning vinegar. Avoid balsamic or red wine vinegar! Using a soft mop, wipe the mixture over the surface of your floors. Don’t overload your mop with too much of the mixture. You don’t need to soak the flooring. A light touch will do!

Let the floors dry, and they’re clean! There’s no need to rinse when using this mixture on your hardwoods. Apply an appropriate polish to restore the floor’s luster after cleaning.

6. Avoid the Wrong Products!

Hardwood floors have been in homes for a very long time. Before there were other types of floorings, people realized that wood could make an excellent floor.

Because wood floors have been around so long, they’ve existed through a variety of cleaners, polishes, stains, and varnishes. Still, it’s easy to use the wrong products on your hardwood floors.

Avoid soapy cleaners that can dry out your floors and leave a waxy residue. When polishing, stay away from waxes that leave floors slippery or gummy.

7. Never, Ever Steam!

We mentioned that humidity can warp your flooring. Wet steam can, too! While steam cleaning is an excellent chemical-free option for vinyl or tile flooring, never use steam to clean your hardwood floors.

Steam can affect the sealant of your floors. Plus, the heat and moisture can cause bowing that requires repair.

8. Be Consistent!

If you have carpet in your home, you probably vacuum a few times a month. If you have kids and pets, you might vacuum more often.

With hardwood floors, consistency is key, too! Aside from frequent dusting, deep clean your floors—using the suggestions above—at least 4-6 times per year. When you let your floors go too long without cleaning, grime can build up on the surface and in any cracks or crevices.

9. Refinish When Needed!

Quality hardwood floors can look nice for several years before needing to be refinished. To extend the life of your floors, plan to sand and refinish them every few years.

Sanding removes stubborn grime and residue buildup that your regular cleaning doesn’t resolve. A new finish gives your long-time flooring fresh life.

Don’t Overdo it When Cleaning Your Hardwood Floor

Consistent cleaning keeps your hardwood floor looking beautiful, but don’t overdo it when cleaning your hardwood floor. Harsh chemicals or the wrong tools can leave your floors in worse condition after using them for a “thorough” cleaning.

If you’re ready for new hardwood floors or you have questions about how to care for your current floors, contact us! We offer a free quote on Mother Nature’s greatest wood for your floors!

Choosing Garapa: 5 Benefits of Using Garapa Wood for Your Deck

If you’ve done much research into building a deck, you’ve probably run across mentions of ipe wood. Ipe has become the gold standard for decks due to its incredible density and resistance to wear and tear. But ipe is expensive; what if you could have the gold standard for less?

Garapa wood is the literal gold alternative to ipe wood. This lighter Brazilian hardwood provides all the benefits of ipe with a much lower price tag. Read on to discover why you should look at garapa wood decking for your next home improvement project.

What Is Garapa Wood?

Garapa wood comes from a tree native to South America and makes an excellent option for wood decks. The tree can grow up to a hundred feet tall and five feet in diameter and tends to grow fairly straight. This means that garapa wood has a straight grain with minimal variations.

One of the more beautiful features of garapa wood is its chatoyant quality. This is the same quality you see in cat-eye gems, where there appears to be a shifting band of light under the surface of the wood that moves as you move your head. The wood glues and finishes well and is reasonably easy to work with.

Garapa vs. Ipe

When you start looking at tropical hardwood decking material, generally you come up with two varieties: garapa and ipe. Ipe, pronounced “e-pay” and also known as Brazilian walnut, is an extremely hard tropical wood option. It’s about five times as hard as pressure-treated wood, and it has a gorgeous dark color.

But ipe wood comes at a high price; building a 10’x10’ deck from ipe deck tiles would cost you a little under $1,000 in material alone. Garapa wood, by contrast, is a little more affordable and is comparable in terms of density and hardness. Garapa has a minimum 25-year lifespan as a deck material, and ipe offers at least 40 years.

Cost

Garapa wood is the number one price-conscious alternative to ipe wood for decking. Compared to other hardwoods, it is on the higher end of the price scale. Garapa is more expensive than mahogany or cedar, but it offers benefits neither of those woods do.

Garapa wood can run around $1.58 per linear foot for 1×4. So let’s say you’re building that 10’x10’ deck out of garapa 1×4; you’re going to need about 300 linear feet of material. That’ll run you a little under $500, about half the cost of building your deck out of the ipe deck tiles.

Color

One of the big attractions of garapa wood is its light color. Garapa wood is blonde, much lighter than ipe wood and many other popular deck woods. It ages to a lovely silver color over time, but new, it’s a rich, honey color.

Architects have come to value this light wood color over a dark deck in many cases. It makes for a much less visually heavy addition to the house, which can help it blend with a variety of styles. If you have a white house or light brick exterior, a garapa wood deck can help keep things light and elegant.

Durability

One of the major draws of garapa wood is its outstanding durability. Like ipe wood, garapa wood is extraordinarily dense, making it highly resistant to rot. If you want to preserve the golden color, you may want to seal it, but you won’t need to seal it for durability reasons.

Garapa wood is also resistant to pest damage, so you’ll never need to worry about termites or carpenter ants boring into it. If you have a pool in your back yard, you’ll also love garapa’s resistance to rot. The grain is so tight that nothing can penetrate it, helping it to last for decades.

Fire Rating

Whether you live somewhere where wildfires are a concern or you just want to have barbeques on your deck, you want a deck wood that has a good fire rating. You don’t want to have to worry about hot coal falling on the deck and setting the whole thing on fire. Luckily, garapa wood has an astounding fire rating.

Garapa wood comes with a great fire rating,  so good usually only awarded to inorganic material.

Care

Many decks, especially ones not made from hardwood, require refinishing from time to time. This can be a problem since it means sanding down the whole deck, staining it, and resealing it. But garapa wood will stay in good shape with minimal care for decades.

Because garapa wood is so dense, it won’t wear down and absorb dirt in the same way as other woods. In fact, once you finish it once, it will be good to go for a number of years to come. But because it’s so dense, it may have a hard time absorbing some oil-based finishes; always test them on a small non-visible area first.

Learn More About Garapa Wood Decking

If you want the durability and luxury of a Brazilian hardwood deck without the price tag of ipe wood, garapa wood decking is a great option. It is, for all intents and purposes, just as sturdy as ipe wood, but it comes at a much more reasonable price. Plus the gorgeous honey color will make for a beautiful addition to your home.

If you’d like to find the best garapa wood decking, check out the rest of our site at Ipe Woods USA. We offer ipe and garapa wood decking, as well as a number of other imported hardwood options. Check out our decking options to find the right wood for your deck project today.

5 Essential Practices for Proper Wood Deck Maintenance

You’ve invested time and money into building a stunning wood deck for your home. The last thing you want is to let that investment wash down the drain through improper deck maintenance.

Taking care of large wooden areas the right way may seem daunting to some. Fortunately, we’ve got a simple guide of 5 essential practices to keep your new deck looking it’s best, and lasting it’s longest.

Deck Maintenance: 101

Rotting, wear and tear, weather damage, all these and more are threats to your snazzy new deck. But, with the right preparation and care, you can preserve your deck from most damage and enjoy it for decades.

Proper care and maintenance can even ensure that if accidental damage does occur, you can avoid replacing the entire deck and have minimal repairs. Here’s how it’s done.

1. Check Your Deck

If your deck is brand new, or you’re thinking it’s time for maintenance, there are a few things to check to verify the deck’s condition. First off, do a water test.

A water test can be done by dropping a few small drops of water onto one board of your deck. If proper sealing has occurred (or is still up-to-date), the water should bead on the surface of the wood.

If the water is absorbed into the wood, you know it hasn’t been properly sealed, or that it’s time to reapply the sealing.

If your deck is still new, the sealing will take 60-90 days. Once this time has passed, you can move on to staining.

Other important signs to look for when checking your deck are chipping paint, loose boards, loose nails, or flaking bits. If any of these problems appear, your deck could be ready for some repair/care.

2. Scrape the Deck Surface

Before reapplying wood sealing or stain, your deck must be properly cleaned and sanded. As mentioned, tighten or replace any loose nails or boards,

It’s best to use a scraper to remove any peeling paint or finish. If there are boards or areas that are damaged, use a scraper to clear them down to just the bare wood again.

Areas that are worn or peeling may also need to be sanded until you see bare wood.

Once all damaged or flaking areas are smooth, it’s time to crack out the scrub brush. Clean off dirt, stains, or flakes with the brush so your wood is ready for new coats of paint or stain.

3. Scrub Your Deck

This step can be done whether you’re having to replace paint or not. Scrubbing and pressure-washing a deck is a part of good deck maintenance that should happen regularly.

Keep your deck clean using proper wood-cleaning agents and power washing. This will prevent mold, bacteria, unwanted plant-growth, and other problems that could erode the wood and shorten the life of your deck.

The brush you clean your wooden deck with will be important. Stick neck brushes are more effective at working the cleaner into the wood and getting it totally clean.

Find a stick neck brush with an extension or long handle to help you reach difficult areas and cover larger surfaces quicker.

Just be sure you use the right kinds of cleaners that are specifically made for outdoor wood. You don’t want to be the reason your deck becomes damaged because you used harsh or inappropriate chemicals to clean with.

Pressure-washing after scrubbing with cleaner will make sure no residue is left before you add paint or stainer.

You may even consider adding the occasional coat of oil or end grain sealer.

4. Reapply Deck Stain

Before you apply or reapply deck stain, be sure the wood is completely dry. If you’ve recently pressure-washed, it may be wise to give about 24 hours to let the wood dry.

Don’t apply stain if it has rained recently or snowed.

Before you begin applying your deck stain, read the manufacturer’s instructions on the product you have chosen. Some deck stains require specific tools for proper application.

Once you’re positive you have the right tool, (it could be anything from a brush, a pump sprayer, pad, or roller), begin applying on your cleared and clean wood.

Different wood stains require that you reapply them at different times. Again, read the instructions and see how often you should reapply your stain. Keeping up to date with your deck stain will help preserve the long life of your deck.

5. Replace Broken or Damaged Boards

Unfortunately, damage and accidents do happen that can require you to replace areas of your deck. Luckily, that doesn’t mean your entire deck is ruined.

Most repairs can take place one board at a time. Isolate the damaged area by pulling up just the damaged boards using a claw hammer.

Once your damaged boards have been removed, replace them with new pieces that have been measured and cut to fit the areas needed.

Be aware that due to weathering, stains, and other factors, sometimes the new boards can look slightly different in color or quality than the originals.

If uniformity in your deck’s look is important to you, then your best bet is to replace all the deck boards at one time. Doing this will leave you with a uniform look and quality.

Replacing all the boards together will also work to preserve the structural integrity of your deck.

To keep your deck lasting longer, choose a wood that’s pressure-treated, natural, and has advanced composites. These types of wood have improved quality to make your deck boards last longer so replacing them is rare.

Choosing A Deck That Will Last

Keeping with proper deck maintenance and care will go a long way in preserving the life and quality of your beautiful wood deck. Even better than simply caring for your deck well is selecting materials and professionals who will install the best deck for you.

Browse our wide variety of Ipe decking options to see what options are available. You can use our calculator to determine the amount of wood you’ll need.

We’ll work with you to meet your budgetary needs and personal tastes. Let us help you build the stunning deck of your dreams.