Category Archives: Tips

What is the Lifespan of Ipe Wood?

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Distinct Advantages of Ipe Fencing for Your Property

Choosing the right hardwood lumber for a fence can be stressful without understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each type of wood. Have you heard about Ipe wood? It’s increasingly popular for wood fences, and there are plenty of excellent reasons why!

Ipe wood (or Brazilian Walnut) originally came from South America. You’ll find it used in fencing, decking, and patio construction because it’s an ideal wood for long-lasting structures in almost any climate. 

Why should you consider Ipe fencing for your next project? Aside from the privacy benefits, here are ten excellent reasons to choose Ipe wood fencing. 

1. It’s Durable

You don’t want to build a new fence every few years. While some types of wood fencing materials can rot and warp over time, Ipe wood holds its shape as one of the most durable fencing materials.

The wood’s high density is the key to its long lifespan. A hardness rating of 3,600 means Ipe wood is sturdy enough for the long haul—even as long as 50 years. Once your Ipe fence is in place, you won’t need to worry about replacing damaged sections or the entire fence, repairing dents, or dealing with warped boards. 

2. It Looks Nice

Durability doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice aesthetics. Your Ipe wood fence has a high-quality finish due to the wood’s range of colors. Choose medium or darker shades of this wood to match your home’s style or create a specific look and feel for your backyard oasis. 

With Ipe wood, you also won’t have to worry about your fence color fading over time. 

3. It’s Easy to Maintain

Since Ipe wood is so durable, your fence is easy to maintain! While Ipe fencing isn’t completely maintenance-free, other types of wood fencing require repairs or frequent re-staining to maintain the color and extend the life of the fence. During installation, a UV stain helps protect your Ipe wood and set the shade of brown.

Ipe is highly resistant to inclement weather, rot, and decay. These factors mean you won’t spend time replacing rotted boards or dealing with pest damage due to fence decay. You also won’t see signs of excessive wear-and-tear over time. 

4. It’s Fire Resistant

Can you imagine a fire-resistant wood fence? If it’s not Ipe wood, your fence could accelerate a fire and fail to protect your home.

While Ipe can’t prevent fires, its Class A Fire Rating means it is slow to catch fire or spread flames. With this type of fencing around the perimeter of your home, you have an extra layer of protection versus other types of wood fencing that can accelerate the spread of flames. 

5. It’s Distinct

Your fence can be a statement piece that completes your yard! No other wood fences look like an Ipe wood fence—and that can be just the look you need to enhance your home’s appeal.

This fencing material creates a contemporary design that won’t blend in with other wood fences in your neighborhood. Many Ipe fences lay the wood boards horizontally (instead of vertically) to create a unique look. Mix the dense wood with black or metal accents and posts to build a fence your neighbors will want!

6. It Stays Cool

The hot sun won’t overheat your Ipe wood fence. Extreme sun and heat can warp and crack boards. Direct sunshine can also make your fence hot to the touch. 

For families with small children or pets that spend time in the yard, an Ipe fence won’t burn or hurt small, sensitive hands or snouts. 

7. It’s Eco-Friendly

The durability of Ipe wood makes it a highly sustainable resource for fences. It’s a renewable natural resource that matures over about thirty years—and your fence can last longer than that! 

If eco-friendly resources are a priority for your home, Ipe wood is one of the best ways to love the environment with a long-lasting and beautiful fence. 

8. It Pays Off

While an Ipe wood fence can be more costly than other types of wood fencing at installation, its durability makes it a cost-effective option over time. Your fence made of Ipe will last longer than most wood, metal, or vinyl fencing—with less required upkeep—making it a better financial investment for your home. 

Choosing a less-expensive fence material can be a lower upfront cost, but you might have to replace that fence again in a few years. 

9. It Fights Termites

The density of Ipe wood is no match for termites! Try as they “mite,” termites won’t be able to work themselves into your Ipe wood fence—even if you struggle with termite problems in other places around your home. 

Dense woods create a natural barrier for pests that can more easily destroy softer wood fences. If pests are a problem near your home, an Ipe wood fence can withstand their attempts at destruction. 

10. It’s Good For Neighbors

Traditional vertical fence construction can leave neighbors looking at the wrong side of the fence. One side is the “presentable” side, while the other side shows supporting pieces that hold the fence together. 

With Ipe boards laid horizontally, both you and your neighbors enjoy the same smooth finish on both sides of the fence. Smooth sides also make it more difficult for intruders to climb over a fence and enter your yard. Protect your family and home with the unique style of a horizontal Ipe wood fence. 

Choose Ipe Fencing for Long-Lasting Beauty

Ipe fencing is the best choice for a long-lasting structure that surrounds a home or yard. When professionally installed, an Ipe wood fence will last for many years and retain its beauty throughout its lifetime. 

Ipe Woods USA has the best pricing and delivery options directly to your job site. Treat your customers to the many benefits of the best-quality hardwood fencing materials! Contact us to learn more. 

How to Choose the Best Deck Wood

Inside a home, far more attention goes into how to decorate walls and the protective layers constructed outside of the bones.  It’s easy to forget how much effort goes into the procurement and betterment of materials for construction. 

Outside of a home, bare wood (or nearly bare) is a chosen aesthetic. This naked wood needs to be considered as an outer layer that also works as an inner layer.  Choosing the best deck wood, then, is about finding a material that holds both its strength and looks with the least maintenance.

This selection is partially based on a chosen aesthetic, naked wood versus painted, stained, etc. The other selection pressure is climate. An area with more humidity needs different materials than a dry area with lots of unfiltered sunlight. 

The following provides information on the most popular choices and explains their strengths and longevity. 

Best Deck Wood

At one point in time, deck wood was chosen by local availability or cheapest distribution. The local procurement made sense because wood growing in an area clearly was adapted to the area. 

Cheap distribution helped make replacements and upkeep cheaper by offering a standardized product. 

Today’s options expand on these two concepts integrating new technologies and time-tested materials that beat expense curves. This list breaks down decking material into broad categories of natural woods, exotic wood, and budget materials. 

Naturals

Natural woods provided the best appearance without resorting to treatments or stains. They create their own protective chemicals and are rich in color. 

That said, to expand the longevity of these woods, stripping, sealing, and eventually staining come into play.  Sealing of natural woods is recommended every three or so years. Stains for natural woods are less about coloration than they are tint.

Much like a window, the stain offers sun filtration that blocks light from bleaching the wood as quickly. 

Redwood

This softwood from the west coast offers a rich color and tannins that repel bugs and slow decay. 

Redwood comes in grades representing respective hardness based on if the wood is pulled from the inner or outer areas of a tree. heartwood provides the best in decay resistance but is somewhat firmer and always more expensive. 

Sapwood is softer but limited in its repellant qualities. Sapwood also tends to have more character in terms of knots and patterns. 

Recent investigations indicate promising directions for getting replacements to color match older boards, furthering the longevity of this wood.

Cedar

Red cedar has many of the same properties of redwood and similar aesthetics. Red coloration makes decks feel warm and lived-in over duller grey and brown colorings.

While grades of redwood concern the longevity and hardness of the material, grades in red cedar represent scales of most to least knotty. 

Cedar is a thinner tree and less prone to variation in hardness. The level knotty content changes the look but also structural integrity with exceptionally knotty wood offering more area for decay. 

Tropical Hardwood

These materials come from harder trees sourced from tropical locations. They are relatively new to the market but offer key resistances not found in northwestern woods.

These woods are dense and fibrous, making them resistant to weathering, especially from water. Like natural woods, they do best when treated with a protective stain that reflects light to keep the color longer.

Ipe

Pronounced ee-pay, this wood is also known as Brazilian Walnut. It is a deep mahogany in color and lightens over time to look a softer red. This is the decking material Ipe Woods specializes in because it’s the wood that offers the best in strength, appearance, and upkeep. 

The relative hardness of Ipe limits the fasteners used to hold it in place. Screws and nails work poorly without pilot holes. Clips and hidden fasteners both hold better and keep the deck looking flush.

Garapa

Also known as Brazilian Ash, Garapa wood resembles Ipe in many ways. The key difference is the color, which is a more rich brown that fades into ideal warm browns and ‘woody’ colors. 

It also keeps a smoother appearance, looking more like wood tile than the rich grain of Ipe or the natural woods. 

Budget

Budget options lower costs by blending materials or otherwise treating wood to add durability. These woods are functional but lack a lot of the natural beauty of natural and tropical woods. 

These materials also need more frequent upkeep. It’s always important to consider the impact of preservatives and stains, especially if applied annually.

Pressure Treated

Pressure-treated wood starts out soft and becomes denser from the aforementioned pressuring treating. Typically comprised of yellow pine, the material undergoes a process that provides resistance to weathering, insects, and decaying agents like fungus. 

It isn’t a very appealing color but is porous, making it easy to stain other colors. This porous construction does leave it vulnerable to taking in water which warps it over time.

A yearly wash and stain are recommended and a three-year treatment of preservatives to keep the wood water-tight. 

Composites

Composite materials cost more than pressure-treated but also bring in better longevity at the cost of looking more uniform and less wood.

This material almost doesn’t belong in this list as it isn’t so much deck wood as full-on deck ‘material’. Still, composite decking holds up to weathering well.

Composite decking requires the least maintenance with only semi-annual washing needed to keep it looking proper. 

Hem-Fir

A combination of western hemlock and Amabilis fir, these boards are sold together and may contain either or in any combination. 

Generally speaking, these are not great deck woods but are cheap and can be useful if treated well. 

For a deck that’s subject to punishment from physical blows or one that you want to paint a non-wood color, hem-fir offers low costs and low-aesthetics. 

Expect to strip and repaint the wood every other year and wash annually. 

Find Yours Now

Now you have an overview of the best deck wood options on the market for every budget. All decks require maintenance to last but some require more frequent than others. 

Keep in mind your total budget and don’t be afraid to pay more upfront to have a lower-cost per year and a more natural, lustrous deck. Contact us with questions about your property and for deck ideas and tips. 

5 Reasons to Consider Ipe Siding for Your Home

Adding some kind of wood siding has been a common practice for many residential homes for more than two centuries. Wood siding has withstood the test of time for so long because it hits that sweet spot of form and function. It looks great and it works just as well. 

In recent years, Ipe siding has been one of those popular wood choices. But even with its growing positive reputation, many homeowners are unaware of this great option. 

If you’re a homeowner that falls into that category, let us fix the situation for you! We’ve compiled the top five reasons why Ipe wood siding is a great option for any outdoor upgrades you need! 

1. Unique Design

Let’s face it, a lot of exterior design choices can be pretty bland and a lot of houses look the same. Switching the material up to an Ipe wood exterior siding can give your home an extra dose of excitement to take it to the next level. 

Ipe siding is a natural wood found in the forests of Brazil. The coloring and grain of the wood bring out the exotic and luxurious feel from the very beginning. Many homes use a painted, vinyl siding, so going with natural wood is already outside-the-box thinking. 

But you also have the ability to really customize the look of your Ipe siding. Planks come in a variety of widths that can be installed in a variety of ways to create specific looks. You can go for a more traditional look or a fun Ipe shiplap siding design, both work and look great!  

2. Extended Lifetime

A major downside of many designs is that they don’t stand the test of time. They look great initially and even for a few years after that. But then they start to fall apart and the beautiful look you worked so hard to get is destroyed. 

That will definitely not be the case if you decide to go with an Ipe wood siding option

Ipe is an extremely strong wood that has a very strong reputation for being able to withstand the elements. Rain, wind, snow, dirt, and debris can’t do very much to damage its surface. Even after years of this, you won’t have to worry about needing to spend a ton of money to get your siding replaced. 

Since the wood grows in such extreme weather conditions, you know it will be able to stand up to whatever your local area brings! 

3. Environmentally Friendly 

As we mentioned before, Ipe wood is found in the Brazilian rainforests. These trees can grow up to 100 feet tall and 50 feet wide. They’re extremely large, especially when you consider the environment that they’re growing in. 

One of the best parts about using this type of material for your home improvement projects is that it’s an extremely environmentally-friendly choice. Even though these trees reach incredible heights, they do it quickly. So it only takes a few years (relative to the average tree’s life) to replace the trees that are used. 

Most organizations that sell Ipe siding are sustainable resources that are making sure they look out for the environment that produces such a great material to work with. 

Ipe siding also doesn’t require any plastics or chemicals to be added to before it can be used as siding. The process to get it ready for use on a home is much more environmentally friendly than others as well. 

4. Cost-Effective Material 

There’s no getting around it, re-siding a home is an expensive project. It requires so much material that it’s impossible for it to be a cheap upgrade. But you can make a smart investment and make it work for you by going with Ipe wood exterior siding. 

When you use a wood that is going to withstand the test of time and does not need to be replaced for decades, you are going to be getting your full money’s worth!

Beyond its longevity, Ipe Wood siding installation often costs less than other siding options because of the way it’s purchased. Companies who sell this type of product often purchase in bulk from their suppliers. This action saves them money upfront which can be passed on to you at the price offered. 

It’s almost like double savings, you save upfront at the time of purchase and then down the road when you’re home looks great and you don’t have to redo the project! 

5. Added Safety Measures

There are so many ways that your home can be damaged, many of them are facts of life and nothing can be done. But there are ways you can try to prevent other types of major damage and the main one is by choosing the right material. 

One of the coolest traits of Ipe wood is that it’s fire-resistant. This doesn’t mean that it will never burn or catch on fire but it does mean that the chances are lower. Also if it does catch fire, it will burn much slower giving you more time to get to safety. It’s remarkable for a wood product to be able to do this. 

It’s also less likely to have infestations of insects as well. The wood is so hard that the bugs can’t get inside of it, which is a huge bonus! 

IPE Siding for Your Exterior 

Making any major decisions for your home can be a daunting task, you want the investment to last for a long time and still be something you love. This is especially true for the siding on the exterior, it’s such a major part of the home. 

This is exactly why Ipe siding is a great option for many homes. The material is durable, strong, and long-lasting. But it also gives you a unique design perspective with its eye-catching, natural beauty. You really can’t go wrong with adding it to the exterior of your home. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Ipe wood siding and your specific project, contact us today! 

10 Incredible Things to Know About Massaranduba Decking

When it comes to choosing the right wood for your deck, you don’t want to settle with just any type of lumber. If installed correctly, your new deck should last you anywhere from 15-20 years with proper care and maintenance.

So where do you start? Massaranduba hardwood decking is exactly what you need to keep your new deck looking brand new for years to come! Here are 10 things you may not know about massaranduba decking (but you should!):

#1. It’s One Of The Hardest Woods In The World

Yes, you read that correctly. Massaranduba decking is one of the hardest woods in the world making it an incredible choice for anyone wanting a deck that is durable and will last longer than other materials on the market.

Since massaranduba wood is so durable, it’s very versatile and is used on many types of build designs. From commercial to residential, you can’t go wrong with choosing massaranduba decking for your next project.

#2. Massaranduba Wood Is All Natural

If you know anything about composite decking, you know that it’s a mixture of plastic and wood pulp. These two materials together contribute to the pollution of our planet and are known to be very harmful to animal and plant life. Unlike these traits, massaranduba wood is 100% all-natural wood!

This means you can have a brand new, beautiful deck all while knowing you’re doing no harm to the planet or its inhabitants!

#3. Don’t Worry, It Will Last You Forever

Another great thing about massaranduba decking is its longevity. Due to its hardness, massaranduba wood is known to last decades, even while enduring extreme weather conditions. This makes it a great choice for those looking for a material that won’t need to be replaced frequently.

#4. It’s Weather Resistant

Massaranduba wood is also known to be very weather resistant as stated above. Originating in South America, the wood was originally found in the forests. Here they could receive up to 400+ inches of rain a year. That is up to 10 times more rainfall than in the United States.

This makes massaranduba wood naturally resistant to heavy rainfall, rot, and even mold!

#5. Don’t Even Stress About Insects

Like other tropical woods, massaranduba wood is naturally insect resistant. Over time, massaranduba wood has evolved to withstand the insects of the South American forests. Though different species of insects live in North America, they are no match for the incredibly tough wood fibers of massaranduba.

This means more time relaxing on your new deck and less time buying insect repellant or calling your local exterminator. Sounds like a win in our book!

#6. Need To Replace A Board? No Big Deal

One of the most frustrating things comes when it’s time to replace some of the boards on your deck. Even more frustrating? When those new boards stick out like a sore thumb compared to the weathered and worn-out pieces that have been there for 5 years. Luckily, this applies to composite decking and not massaranduba!

Like other tropical woods, massaranduba is known for its durability, and this applies to looks too! No need to worry about when it comes to needing some replacement pieces. Since most tropical woods all have a slightly different look from the beginning, you’ll never be able to tell you had that board right in the center swapped out for a new one!

#7. Massaranduba Won’t Break The Bank

With its incredible qualities, you’d think that massaranduba wood would put a huge hole in your wallet. However, you may be surprised to learn that is not true. The upfront costs of massaranduba wood are actually around the same as lower-end composite options.

What’s even better? Massaranduba is known to last anywhere between 20-70 years depending on upkeep and weather conditions, unlike composite wood which can begin to rot around 4-5 years after installation. This means that you could replace your composite deck 4 times before you could possibly notice any changes to your massaranduba deck.

Overall, massaranduba decking is a cost-effective way to create a beautiful outdoor sanctuary right in your backyard.

#8. It’s Highly Fire Resistant

When it comes to construction material decision-making such as in large commercial projects, fire resistance is a huge deciding factor in product choice. Massaranduba wood is known to receive a high B rating in Flame Spread testing as it’s flame spread resistant. This means if a fire were to break out, it wouldn’t get far with the help of massaranduba.

#9. Massaranduba Wood Is As Beautiful As It Is Functional

Originating in South America, massaranduba wood is a naturally gorgeous color. It ranges anywhere from a deep plum color to a lighter brown, making it a great option for those looking for a natural, beautiful wood without having to use any artificial stains to achieve the color you want.

#10. It’s Slip Resistant, Too!

Like all of its other amazing qualities, massaranduba is known to be slip-resistant as well. Due to the fine texture of the wood, you won’t have to worry about slipping and falling on your way out the door when you’re running late for work.

Is Massaranduba Decking Right For You?

If you’re looking for decking wood that is going to last a long time, is weather-resistant, looks beautiful, and won’t break the bank, massaranduba wood is perfect for you! Being one of the hardest woods in the world, you know you can trust it for years to come to stay beautiful and be easy to maintain.

Contact us for more questions about massaranduba wood and how you can take your deck to the next level!

What Are the Pros and Cons of Cumaru Wood for a Deck?

Adding a new deck can be one of the easiest ways to increase the value of your home. It can be especially important to consider the type of deck you want. The reason being, all decks aren’t created the same. To save time and money knowing what type of wood to use for your deck is key. If you have started your research chances are you have discovered there are many types of woods to choose from. And with so many options you may be wondering which one is best for building your deck. We’ve found that one of the best wood for building a deck is cumaru wood.

To help you determine if this type of deck is right for your home, we’ve created an easy to read pros and cons list about using cumaru wood.

What You Need to Know About Cumaru Wood

Cumaru wood, also referred to as Brazilian Teak, is a type of wood found in Northern South America. It is known for its durability and distinctive color.

Cumaru wood is usually medium to dark brown. But sometimes it has been found with a reddish and purplish hue. It can also feature streaks of yellows and greens, that blend into its brown dexterity.

Grain interlocked, cumaru wood has a medium texture with a waxy feel. It is said that cumaru can give off faint cinnamon or vanilla-like scents when being installed.

Pros for Using Cumaru Wood

When it comes to building a deck you want wood that will last through all weathering conditions. One of the many pros of using Cumaru wood is that it is rot resistant. It tends to outlast many other types of decking wood such as Pine, Redwood, and Cedar.

Again, this speaks to the excellent durability that Cumaru wood has. It is known for having superior resistance to termites and other dry wood borers. If you live in humid climates, cumaru wood is also resistant to mildew and mold.

Cumaru would also have a “Class A” Fire rating. This means it has a similar level of fire resistance properties as that of steel and concrete.

The natural resistance to decay and damage is a major pro, making cumaru wood a top pick for decking wood.

Another pro is that cumaru wood is more affordable than other types of wood. Its moderate price point makes it a great alternative to other woods such as Ipe.

There are few other kinds of wood that can claim a life span of over 50 years. One reason for that is cumaru wood is also easier to maintain. Which is one more pro to add to the list.

Most importantly cumaru wood is known for its aesthetically appealing finish. And if you consider yourself an eco-friendly homeowner, you’re in luck.

Cumaru wood is naturally strong by itself, which means it doesn’t have to be treated with any harmful chemicals. It’s also 100% biodegradable, making it a pro for you and the environment.

Cons for using Cumaru Wood

While there are many pros for using cumaru wood for your deck, there are also a few cons to consider. One con is its workability. It can be difficult to install because it is dense and has an interlocked grain texture.

No matter if your using glue, screws, or nails, cumaru has a high oil content which can present problems at installation. Another con is the effect the wood has on tools themselves. Since it contains silica, there could be some moderate blunting on the cutting tools used.

There may also be the need to predrill or use specialized installation hardware to complete a cumaru wood install. Other notable cons are cumaru wood is heavy, stiff, and hard making it laborious to work with.

Other Things to Consider When Building a Cumaru Wood Deck

You should consider your budget for your decking project. Cumaru wood is a commodity so its pricing does tend to fluctuate. Factors that drive its pricing includes supply, availability, and the market.

You also want to buy wood that has been properly dried. That is what determines the stability of the wood and ultimately your deck. If this process has been done correctly it helps prevent your deck from warping.

When purchasing your wood you want to specify that it will be used for decking outside. There is a different drying process for cumaru used for indoor projects. Getting the wrong kind of wood can turn your decking project into a huge hassle.

Before installing your new deck you want to check with your cities rules and regulations for how and if you can build a deck. While there is no limation for using cumaru wood, you want to make sure you are clear on any specifications. It would be a travesty to build a beautiful deck only for it to go against city code.

Another thing to consider is making sure the underlying structure of your deck is built with quality products as well. You want to consider hardware that is specifically designed for tropical hardwoods such as cumaru.

This could include faster clips that blend in with the wood. You could also consider stainless steel screws for a seamless finish across your deck.

One last thing to consider is that your deck can change color over time. If your deck is directly exposed to the sun you could see some fading to its natural reddish color overtime.

A Cumaru Wood Deck Creates the Perfect Deck

There is nothing like having your own deck creating the perfect backyard oasis. Contact us today and let us help you build your brand new cumaru wood deck.

How Long Do Decks Last? The Complete Guide

Are you wondering, “How long do decks last?” Well, it’s a broad question that depends on a lot of different factors.

Lucky for you, we have a long list of answers that will explain everything. Here, in this guide, we compare various types of decking materials and how long they last on average. Plus, we include certain factors that may lengthen or limit the lifespan of your deck.

Whether you’re in the market for a new deck or you’re wondering about a deck you’ve already purchased, read through this guide for the answers you seek.

Solid Wood Decks

Most people in the market prefer the aesthetically pleasing look of a solid wood deck. What you may not realize is that most wood decking types (except for ipe) are the least durable of all decking materials. Thus, they also have the shortest expected lifespan.

Being a natural material, wood is biodegradable. In other words, it’s inherently designed to rot away once dead so that it won’t pile up in the forest like a landfill.

So, there’s a lot of care and maintenance required in order to make your wooden deck last a long time. First, it’s best if the wood is given special treatment to make it more resistant to weather, rot, bugs, and other causes of deterioration. With proper maintenance, most wood decks can last about 20 years.

However, the type of wood makes a big difference in lifespan, especially in the case of ipe. Here are a few examples of the longest-lasting wood decking types.

Cedar Decks

Cedar is the most popular choice for those who want a wood deck that will last a long time. Cedar is naturally resistant to many factors of deterioration. For example, cedarwood oil is a naturally-occurring pesticide.

But it will need to be kept very clean and you’ll have to seal it about every 2 years. Plus, it’s soft enough to be easily scratched by pets or patio furniture. Still, if you’re very careful and you rigorously follow the proper maintenance steps, you might get up to 40 years of use out of your cedar deck.

Ipe Decks

Ipe is one of the hardest woods available for decking. It is unlikely to ever get scratched by anything.

It’s also unlikely that you’ll ever find a longer-lasting deck. its extreme density and high concentration of natural preservatives allow it to last up to 75 years outdoors. Like any wood deck, it’s still important to seal ipe decking about every 2 years.

Pressure-Treated Wood Decks

Wood that’s artificially pressure-treated has a pretty good lifespan, about 20 years maximum. However, this type of wood is infamous for its tendency to warp and twist over time.

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of Your Wood Deck

Decks that stay under constant shade take a long time to dry any time they get wet. The constant moisture accelerates wear and can lead to mold growth and other problems.

This is also true of decks that sit directly on the soil. Soil also holds moisture for a long time.

On the other hand, an excess of sunlight on the deck tends to burn up the sealer much faster. If your deck gets lots of sun, you should seal it more often (once a year or more). But it’s best, for the lifespan of your deck, to prevent all of these situations, if possible.

Composite Decks

Unlike wood decks, composite decks require almost no maintenance. Sweep them and wash them with soap and water once in a while and that’s about it.

Being made of artificial substances, they’re not susceptible to natural decay. In fact, they’re intentionally engineered for that purpose.

That’s not to say that they’re indestructible or that they’ll never need replacing. It’s very possible to scuff or scratch your composite deck. Dragging heavy, metal furniture across the deck can do this.

Another common problem with composite decks is that their color can fade over time. Even worse, this problem can’t be fixed.

That is, paints and stains won’t adhere well to composite decking. If you try painting it, the paint will easily rub right off.

Ultimately, a composite deck will probably last about 30-50 years. And since it can be made to look like solid wood, composite decking is a popular choice as an alternative to wood decking.

Aluminum/Steel Decks

Metal decking, on the other hand, is not a very popular choice. Sure, it’ll last up to 60 years. But it’s very expensive and most people do not like the look of them.

Also, while aluminum is somewhat of an insulator, steel is not. Expect a steel deck to be oven-hot in the summer and ice-cold in the winter.

Still, if these factors don’t bother you, a metal deck will last you a very long time.

How Long Do Decks Last?

By now, you should have a thorough answer to the original question. Based on the decking material and other factors in this list, you can calculate how long your deck, or desired deck, will last. Also, use the information in this guide as advice on how to make your deck last longer.

Now that you have your answers, do you have any friends who’re wondering, “How long do decks last?” If so, please share this guide to help them out as well.

Lastly, if you still have any questions about deck longevity, we’re here to help. Contact us here to submit your questions, inquire about an order, or to request a quote.

How Long Does It Take to Build a Deck for Your Home?

A new deck can add thousands of dollars to your home. In fact, with its high return on investment, it’s one of the best and most reliable ways to increase your property value.

But whether you want to create an outdoor living space or want to make worthwhile renovations before putting your home on the market, you might be asking yourself this question: “How long does it take to build a deck?”.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It’s impossible to put an accurate timeframe on the deck-building process because there are so many variables that can slow everything down.

We’ve put together this guide to help you figure out what to expect when you’re adding a deck to your home, so make sure you keep reading below.

The Planning Process

Before you can buy the wood and start nailing, you have to design your deck. Once you have the basic plan, you’ll need to run it past a contractor so (If you aren’t one for drawing blueprints, you can have the contractor handle this entire step).

This takes time.

You should set aside a week or two to come up with a design, choose the right wood, and double-check the details. The process might not take this long, but don’t be surprised if you need more than a few days to get everything done.

Hiring a Contractor

If you don’t already have one, you then have to hire a contractor in your area. To ensure you get the best price and the best services, it’s a good idea to get a quote from several different companies.

Researching and calling all these companies can take a week or two. If you want your new deck as fast as possible, you can start looking for a contractor in advance so they’re ready right when you need them.

You also have to consider the contractor’s schedule. They may be booked for the next few weeks (or even months). You may have to spend some time waiting to get a contractor you trust.

Getting the Right Permits

Your contractor will have to examine your property and review the zoning laws in your area. Depending on where you live, you may have to apply for a building permit before you start building. Filling out the application won’t take longer than an hour (give or take), but you may have to wait days, weeks, or even months before the local government grants you a permit.

The Construction

The actual construction is often the fastest part of the deck process. But again, it’s difficult to put an accurate timeframe on this step because there are a number of factors that impact how long the job will take, such as:

  • The Size — the bigger the deck, the longer it will take to build
  • The Design — if you choose a custom design over a simple style, you should expect a few days (or more) of slowdown
  • Extra Additions — things like built-in benches, stairs, rails, hot tubs, etc. take more time to add
  • The Accessibility — if there are a lot of plants or other objects on your property, the contractor will have a difficult workspace, which will slow things down
  • The Building Site — depending on the condition of your yard, the contractor may need to clear or level the ground before they start building

You also have to order the wood in advance, and the shipping can take several days (or weeks). This is especially true if you buy a unique or uncommon type of wood, such as exotic woods like Ipe or Tigerwood.

It’s also important to remember that some woods need time to acclimate to the local climate. You won’t be able to start building with them as soon as they show up at your house. Instead, you’ll have to let them sit outside for a few days.

If you skip this step, your deck may show signs of damage much faster than it should.

The Weather Conditions

Building a deck is an outside job. Because of this, the contractor is forced to work around the weather conditions, and it may not cooperate.

If it starts raining, you may have to put the process on hold until the area gets better weather. Always plan for a delay due to weather even if there’s no rain in the forecast.

How Long Does It Take to Build a Deck? Getting From Start to Finish as Fast as Possible

So how long does it take to build a deck? If you have a simple design and everything goes according to plan, you can get through the entire process in about one to three weeks.

However, it often takes much longer than this. Waiting for the necessary permits and adding extra features to your deck can slow things down. You may have to wait several months before your deck is completely finished.

Make sure you set realistic expectations. Hiring a reliable contractor will allow you to finish your deck as fast as possible, but there will always be delays. You should plan for your deck to take a week or two longer than you think. This way, you won’t be disappointed when things fall behind schedule.

Ready to start the deck-building process?

Make sure you take a look at some of the beautiful wood we offer and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions about our products!

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.

7 Tips on Installing Ipe Decking for New Homeowners

Attaching a deck to your home can raise your property value by over $8,000.

And that’s just an average. Getting creative with the design or using exotic wood, such as Ipe, can make that number get even higher. However, working with exotic wood is a bit more difficult than using traditional wood types. 

We’ve put together this guide to help you learn seven important tips that’ll make installing Ipe decking easier, so let’s get started below! 

1. Let It Sit

You shouldn’t use your Ipe wood right after you buy it. Instead, you need to let it sit outside for at least seven days to give it a chance to acclimate to the weather conditions in your area. 

Start by creating a base for the Ipe wood out of bricks or blocks of wood (leaving the wood directly on the ground can dirty and damage it). Then layer the wood in a stack on top of them, leaving new blocks or wood shims between each new board. This will help ventilate the wood and make the adjustment period faster. 

Make sure you leave the wood uncovered during this time. Remember, you want each Ipe board to have enough ventilation, and a tarp or other covering will just get in the way. 

If you think it will rain during these seven days, you can put a large piece of plywood on top of the stack. However, you’ll want your Ipe wood to be fully dry before you build with it, so do you best to schedule the acclimation period during a warm and dry time of the year. 

 

2. Wear the Proper Safety Equipment and Use the Right Tools 

While your Ipe wood is acclimating, you should make sure you have all the right equipment and tools on hand. 

Keep in mind, Ipe wood is much harder and denser than other types of wood. Because of this, you may not be able to use your every-day tools. Using technical grade tools will give you the best results when building with this type of wood. 

You should also wear all the proper safety equipment at all times while working on your project. This includes things like gloves, safety goggles, dust mask, etc. This will protect you from sawdust and splinters. 

3. Leave a Big Enough Gap Between the Boards 

Ipe wood needs proper ventilation. Without it, the boards are more prone to damage, such as cupping or surface checking. Make sure you leave about 3/32 inches between each board. 

Without this space, the wood also won’t have enough room to expand and contract with the weather. While you likely won’t notice these changes, not giving the wood enough space to move can cause problems and lead to damages. 

4. Work as Far Away From the Edges as Possible 

Do your best to drill any holes or hammer any nails as far away from the edges of the Ipe boards as possible. This will reduce the risk of splitting the ends. 

However, depending on the design of your deck (or other projects), this might be unavoidable. If you have to work close to the ends, be careful. Taking your time and double-checking everything is the best way to keep your Ipe in good condition during the building process. 

5. Seal the Ends 

You should seal any fresh-cut ends right away. Sealing these edges will prevent checking, which will help the wood last longer. 

6. Finish the Wood With the Right Sealant 

Once you’re done building your deck or other structure, you need to decide if you want to seal the Ipe boards or not. Sealing the wood will protect it from the weather, stains, discoloration, and other types of damages. 

However, you don’t have to seal the wood if you don’t want to. 

Left unprotected, Ipe wood will fade to a beautiful silver/grey color over time. If you like how this natural aging process looks, you may want to skip the sealant. 

If you do want to seal your Ipe, you should check the wood for any sticker marks first. While these sticker marks will fade with time, you can get rid of them right away with a bit of light sanding, and you’ll need to do this before you seal the wood. 

7. Keep up With the Maintenance 

The most important part of Ipe wood maintenance is resealing.

Every few years (about two to three years), you need to sand off the current layer of sealing or any small surface damages. Then you can apply a new layer of sealant. If you don’t do this, the old sealant will wear off and be unable to protect your wood. 

You should also do your best to clean any spills or stains right away. Use a cleaning product that is safe for Ipe wood and spot clean the area. This will keep the wood from discoloring or damaging any farther. 

What You Need to Know About Installing Ipe Decking on Your Property 

If you’re getting ready to start installing Ipe decking on your property, make sure you follow the tips on this list. And remember, Ipe wood is heavy! You may need some help lifting it, moving it, and working with it. Trying to get through the project on your own isn’t worth the risk of getting injured. 

Not sure where to buy Ipe wood?

We’ve got you covered! Make sure you take a look at some of our Ipe wood options today!