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Uneducated Contractors – Ipe’s Biggest Threat

Uneducated contractors are perhaps the biggest reason Ipe is not used more. If you have a contractor, architect or carpenter that does not recommend Ipe for use on your deck you should run and not walk away. Having someone that calls themselves an expert and they do not recommend the best material either shows gross incompetence or lack of knowledge.

To address a few of the comments I have heard over the years from “professional builders”.

“I do not recommend Ipe because it is too expensive.”.

First of all, Ipe is not that much more expensive than many other kinds of wood. In fact, it is cheaper than some. When a “professional” thinks that recommending the best material for a job is not a good idea, I would think twice about using them. What other materials is he substituting because he thinks they are “too expensive”. The truth is that as a building professional unless you are specifically told by a customer that they want a cheap deck, you should always give at least the option of the best material in a quote.

“Ipe is too hard to work with.”

Ipe is denser than other woods. So cutting it will take longer if you do not have the right blades. Remember that it’s that denseness that also makes it last so long and maintain its integrity. That is what you want! Make sure you are using the right blades and cutting will not take long. But you will have to predrill the holes. One time we figured out that using a drill & drive kit for an Ipe deck added 45 minutes on an 800/sf deck. I would argue with anyone, that this 45 min of labor is worth having a deck that can last over 75 years.

“I am not familiar with Ipe, what is that?”

Having worked in the industry for many years, I am still shocked when contractors do not know what Ipe is or do not recommend Ipe first to their customers. Thinking that Ipe is the best material for decks is not just of opinion but a fact. The wood is simply denser, longer lasting and better suited to protect against bugs, mold and other outdoor problems. If a contractor does not know what Ipe is, you have to wonder what else they don’t know. It would be like saying you are a mechanic and don’t know what a Ferrari is. I would be very cautious of anyone that does not know what Ipe is.

“I use Synthetics (Trex, Fiberon, Azek) for all my decks.”

These brands have done a great job of marketing to contractors. They are also easier to work with. The truth is though that these materials are easier to work with because they are not dense or load bearing and they are made in a factory. They have been known to harbor mold in many cases and fade easily. Also, do not be fooled, they do in fact require annual maintenance. Not to mention they look good from some angles, but it’s basically a plastic deck and it looks like it. If one board gets damaged, when you replace it what do you think the new board looks like up against the faded ones? While synthetics have come a long way and many lawsuits later. They are still a cheap alternative to Ipe. Even based on how long manufacturers say their boards last, Ipe will last over 2 times longer. I do not have to sit and badmouth synthetic boards though. I only tell people looking into them, to go find a deck made from them 10 years ago near you. You will never want one after that, but Ipe can last over 75 years and it is natural and can always be reconditioned. Unlike synthetics, whose appearance only worsens with time.

Simple Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

They don’t call Ipe wood “ironwood” for nothing.  You can break screws on it, dull saw blades, and Ipe lumber laughs in the face of rain and snow.  Rot and molds hold no fear for this beautiful Brazilian hardwood.  Using it on your deck, your fence, siding, whatever, will make your neighbors jealous.  The true handymen in the neighborhood will ask to come over just so they can touch it and caress it.

It can be done

As wonderful as Ipe wood decking is, you can mess it up, if you don’t care for it properly.  Just think of it as an expensive car.  It’s made to take stand up to practically anything and everything.  But if you don’t tune it up, care for it regularly, things can go wrong.

So we have a list of suggestions that can help you keep it the envy of your neighbors for decades to come.  You know they say that properly cared for, Ipe lumber can last anywhere from 25 to 75 years.   With the right attention, you can will it to your children.

Keep it clean

  • The first is the easiest and most sensible: keep your decking clean.  It’s really as simple as keeping the leaves and refuse off your deck.  Sweep it off once a week or so.  When the dog or the kids get mud all over the deck, hose it down.  Make sure that you get anything that has fallen between the cracks out as well.
  • Don’t let anything that can leave rust on the deck sit there, such as metal chairs, or propane tanks. Wooden chairs are best.

Sealed nice and tight

  • When installing the deck make sure that all the all your deck wood is sealed on all four sides, including the ends. Though Ipe wood is highly resistant to mold and fungus because of its dense make up, if the ends aren’t sealed, that can be the easiest place for it to enter.
  • Next, make sure the wood has time to dry after you’ve sealed it. If not, it’s going to look a fright after it’s installed.
  • Don’t use film forming coatings. They may be great for boats that have teak wood and such, but not so much for your deck.

A light touch is all it needs

  • You most certainly need to use penetrating oils to help the wood keep that dark color. But when applying the oils, a light touch is what you need.  Ipe wood throws the excess oil right back at you.  If you leave the extra oil, it will become tacky and can become a breeding ground for molds and/or fungus.  Apply the oil with a brush and use a cloth to wipe up the extra oil.
  • Don’t use a sprayer to apply the oil/stain. It goes on best when you use a brush, and remember to wipe up after yourself, as it were.

Keep a weather eye out

  • Finally, pay attention to the weather forecast for when you plan to clean and restain. You need to allow for drying time.  If it starts raining while the finish it still drying you’re going to see all the little rain drops captured in the spots they’ll leave on the deck.  Make sure it’s going to nice a sunny for a while when you do the job.


These simple steps will help you dodge easily avoidable mistakes, and keep your Ipe wood deck looking great till the next generation.


A Lifetime Investment

The great thing about choosing Ipe wood for project(s) is that it’s one and done.  Whether it’s decking, siding, fencing, or any of many other options, Ipe lumber is so tough, and durable resistant to water damage and molds, that replacing it is the last thing you’ll have to worry about. I mean it’s so tough you need to hold a hardcore hockey match on it for it to see much damage.  Or else drop a bowling ball from about ten stories high on to it.  (You may just break the ball instead.)  You spent the time to research costs and pricing, made your decision, and there it sits, the apple of your eye, and maybe the envy of the neighborhood.  If you’re lucky, you’ve just become the Jones’s that everyone is working to keep up with.

But even a lifetime investment needs attention to stay looking as good as it did the day you first put it in.


You’ve got a couple choices when it comes to your Ipe decking (let’s stay with decking just for the sake of convenience, but this applies to whatever you’ve used your Ipe wood for.)

You can either let it just age without staining it.  If that is the case, it will ultimately fade to a silvery grey, shade much like teak.  Even that choice will require you to reseal it once every year or two.  (Don’t go any longer than two years between resealing.)  Yes, Ipe is amazingly impervious to water damage and rot, but it still needs to be treated with care.

The other choice is to restain the lumber.  Restaining the Ipe wood will keep it looking beautifully dark for ages.

You can’t lose either way.  It’s just of question of what you prefer.


Always stick with the KISS formula:  Keep it short and simple.  You need to start with the basics.

No matter which way you go you will have to clean your Ipe decking before either restaining or resealing.

To clean the deck you’ll need to use some bleach to get all the junk off.  It’s easy to do and you can find a formula for it here.

Don’t use a sprayer to wash your Ipe deck.  Go old fashioned and get down on your hands and knees.  Make sure you don’t forget your knee pads when you’re doing that.

Once you’ve cleaned the lumber, let it dry for at least a day.

When that’s finished stain or seal away to your heart’s content.

You can’t lose no matter what choice you make.

Ipe Wood Qualities

Ipe wood is the most recognized hardwood internationally. It is often referred to as Brazilian walnut. The wood is naturally durable, resistant to decay and rot and insect resistant. It is considered one among the best decking materials since it meets the respective design criteria. It is one of the South American ironwoods. It colors range from olive brown, dark brown, and in well-matured trees, an almost black one. It is preferred for the decking purposes due to the unique, stylish finishes that are achievable with its variation in grain and the consistently enticing colors.

Ipe Decking Characteristics

Ipe wood is highly recommended since it is the best decking material. Due to the natural oils and tight fiber, the wood has an ideal resistance to fungus and insect attacks. This property also makes the wood a preferred choice of building a deck since it can withstand harsh climatic conditions. It provides a suitable transition from the interior to the exterior of the house. The wood has also been classified as the top fire resistant wood by the National Fire Protection Agency. A person who anticipates building a deck should consider using ipe since the chances of loss are minimal in case of a fire outbreak. Ipe wood has heat depressing properties. During sizzling hot summers, the outdoor entertainment that a deck supposed to provide is useless. However, ipe decking has low retention and rapid heat depression. This quality makes the deck useful to the owner throughout the year.

Ipe Wood Costs

Unlike any other competing materials in deck building, ipe is the best building material thus fairly expensive. Wholesale decking can manage the costs by using random lengths which can be used to form stylish patterns of the deck. This minimizes the cost and still gives the house owner the intended stand out ipe deck. However, in cases where one requires specific lengths the prices are a little bit higher compared to random lengths. This is because the wood has to be cut to the customer specifications. Random lengths are therefore cheaper due to their large availability. The maintenance costs of ipe decking are negligible since the wood has a high natural resilience. Therefore, besides the considerable investment, ipe decks achieve both durability and aesthetic.

Ipe Deck Maintenance

Ipe decking maintenance is easy since the hardwood is highly resilient to forces of nature. However, cleaning with water and soap maintains the decks original aesthetic. Use of pressure washers is not recommended since it has sand busting functionalities which may tear the wood fiber destroying the finish. The decks have a durability of up to 40 years and may last longer in areas with suitable climate. Consequently, refinishing the deck building is advisable after a considerable while. This involves polishing the worn out surfaces and applying new finishes. In cases where the maintenance work is done regularly then the surface only need cleaning and using of the same old products for the finish. Due to the woods high density, they maintain the original aesthetic throughout.

Ipe wood is definitely the most preferred material for wood decking. Any person considering buying wood for decking purposes must consider Ipe wood for the best outcome.

The Pros and Cons of Using Ipe Wood as Your Decking Material

In case you are looking for the best decking material, you will be taken aback on the number of synthetic and wood decking offered in the market. All decking materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you highly value the durability of the material, then Ipe wood is your ideal choice. With regards to deck building, Ipe is often the primary choice due to its natural beauty, unparalleled strength and intense durability.

The Advantage of Choosing Ipe Wood When Building a Deck

Here are some of the advantages that you can enjoy if you choose an ipe when installing your deck. According to the experts, this hardwood contains properties that are ideal for the outdoors. A deck created from this material will not experience cracking and scratching. It has the ability to last up to 50 years contingent upon the weather condition.


The Ipe wood is definitely unbeatable in terms of durability. Wall Street Journal described it as hard as nails since it is known as the densest wood in the world. In fact, it is also referred as iron wood. It is sustainable and eco-friendly. The surface of this hardwood is highly resistant against insect damage, mildew, and fire. The wood will also contract and expand lesser compared to other decking materials. This will make the surface more uniform that will look aesthetically pleasing. When it comes to longevity, ipe has the ability to last for 50 years or more depending on the weather condition.

Low Amount of Maintenance

The dense surface of the ipe requires a very low maintenance. This is definitely great news to those who wants to avoid the hassle of the strenuous labor. You will also not be exposed on strong chemicals. After building a deck, simply seal it using a rose-oil product. Eliminating spores and grimes should be done annually using hydrogen peroxide. An Ipe wood that is left untreated will gradually transform into a silvery gray shade. In case you want to preserve the natural shade of the hardwood, you may want to apply a brown patina.

Cool Surface

This material has the capacity to retain lesser heat compared to the plastic and composite counterparts. This means that your deck will maintain an ideal level of temperature even during the unforgiving heat of the summer season. As we mentioned above, your Ipe wood will not experience cracking, this means that the possibility of removing the annoying splinter is less likely.

Disadvantages of Using Ipe

There are also different disadvantages that you need to consider when choosing ipe as the best decking material. For instance, due to the high density, you should expect that this material will be heavy. This means that the installation of your deck will require expertise and specialized equipment. In order to prevent black oxidation and rusting, make sure to hire the company that you can trust.

We really hope that you acquire valuable information with this article. Other materials may have lower initial expenses, but when we think about the cost that comes with the repair and maintenance, you will still save a significant amount of money when you choose Ipe wood.

Find the Ideal Ipe Wood According to Your Specific Needs

Not all professional needs are the same. There are so many decking materials to choose from that you need to make a thorough research. Whether you need a patio for your outdoor pool or you want to make a cozy space next to your sauna, you have to find the best Ipe decking to cover your needs. The greatest Ipe advantage is that it is durable and amazing and it has many different solutions for you.

You will find all of the pros and cons of different decking materials so that you can make the best possible choice. Find the best wholesale decking and visit a professional and experienced company that can help you out.

Budget Friendly Ipe

If you want to build a nice patio, but you don’t want to spend a fortune, then the pressure treated lumber is the ideal solution for you. This is one of the top choices in the market and one of the best sellers in all the United States. When building a deck, you have to at least consider using pressure treated lumber.

The only downsize of this Ipe wood is not very durable, and it might get a little crack or split. However, if you manage to get the maintenance that your patio needs, then you will be able to enjoy it for many years.

Natural Ipe

If you are a true nature lover and you want to stay environmentally friendly, then you should definitely need to go with redwood Ipe. They get picked a lot for their natural color and their natural beauty. If you want to create a deck building that is all natural, then you should definitely consider redwood Ipe.

However, you should also know that this type of Ipe requires a lot of maintenance and careful examination from an expert regularly. If you want to install such an Ipe, you have to be prepared for a lot of maintenance.

Exotic Option

In case you don’t want to spare any costs, you have to go with some exotic decking materials. Massaranduba, red tauari, tigerwood and Philippine mahogany are the perfect materials for someone who wants an exotic touch. You will find out that these materials are exotic, impressive and extremely hard. This Ipe decking is ideal for any natural resistance, such as water and insects.

On the downside, if you are planning on building a deck on your own you should also learn that they are hard to cut and drill. They are also very heavy especially to a person who hasn’t done it before. This is why you will definitely need an experienced professional to help you out.

Check out these decking materials and pick out the one most suited to your needs and preferences. No matter what your sense of taste is or your estimated budget, but there is no doubt that you will find the Ipe best suited to your needs.

Factors to Consider before Putting up a Deck

Building a deck seems like it is a simple job, but it should be taken with the seriousness it deserves to avoid regrets in the future and even losses. Therefore, there are important things you must do before putting up a deck. It is important that you always have a plan before embarking on the project. Here are some questions you must ask yourself.

What Is The Purpose Of The Deck?

A deck can serve different purposes. The purpose will help define the size and even the material to be used. Some people will build a deck to serve either as a dining place, for privacy, and even for entertaining their guest. The different purpose will determine the decking material to be used. For example, if you are putting up a deck to serve as a private bar, you don’t need to put it up on a big space a small space can be sufficient. However, if you intend to use it for entertaining your friends, then you have to consider putting it up on large space.

Temporal or Permanent

If you are putting up a deck to use for one event, you might go for cheaper decking material and save on cost. However, building a deck that will stay longer, you need durable decking material. This is because some material will not last for long. Ipe decking is known to last longer than other types of decking material. A permanent deck also should be put up in a place where you will not need to use in future. Therefore if you are putting up a permanent deck, you have to consider the place very well because you might not be able to use it again.

Location of the Deck

Some people will put up a deck next to the house while others may prefer putting it up further within the garden. The location is important because the decking material is responsive to weather and therefore if you are putting up a deck on open space, you have to apply a finish that will last long to extend the longevity of your deck. Secondly, if you are putting up a deck further from the house, you may need to access it during the rainy season, therefore, it is good you consider putting up a roof to protect you from the rain.


Everything we do is largely dependent on the budget we have set up aside. Therefore, the deck you are putting up will also depend on the budget you have set for it. The most important thing is that you have to decide on the budget before putting up a deck. The budget will inform the size of the deck you can build, the type of decking material to use and also the decorations you can put up on the deck. Ipe decking is expensive than using other decking materials.

When putting up a deck you have to consider the cost of maintaining the deck, sometimes you might just need to apply vanish and regular replacement of wood.

The Best Decking Material in the World

There are numerous advantages of the exotic Brazilian walnut popularly known as Ipé from South America.

It has super properties like the ability to withstand compression forces of up to 3600lbs and blending forces of 22,560 lbs. If you want to buy efficient decking materials, it comes highly recommend, and you’re purchasing something that will last a lifetime.


Durability is a well noted Ipe advantage. This wood is so dense when that it can potentially last for 100 years without rot or attack from the elements. It can withstand termite attacks. This property makes it a suitable material for exterior decking. Other hardwoods like cedar or Oak can’t match its strength and long life.

Low Maintenance

You don’t need artificial substances to maintain and protect the wood. You can just allow it to age and become grey, which is also appealing to many homeowners.

For those who prefer natural, vibrant colors oiling is an option. After installation, you can occasionally clean the deck with Penofin hardwood oil. Though it actively resists decay or absorption, weather sealing the deck can make it last longer.

Delivers Cool Surfaces

Ipe absorbs less heat during the summer making it better than plastic decking. It cannot crack due to expansion and contraction to form splinters; therefore, it is safer than other hardwoods.

Comparison with other Hardwood Decking Materials

Compared to other decking options the Brazilian Walnut remains superior.


Has a hardness resistance of 690lbs and it must be pressure treated before use. Chemicals are used to give the wood a dusty yellow color are toxic.

Western Cedar:

It has a hardness resistance of 580lbs compared to Ipe’s 3600lbs. Although it’s more durable than other woods, it is soft and can decay when exposed to the environment. Treatment is not a must but recommended. You have to do regular staining to keep it looking natural. It will last for only 20 years and has a lower fire rating.

Philippine Mahogany (Shorea)

In regards to hardness, it can resist only 760lbs significantly lower than that of the Brazilian Walnut; hence, will not last under harsh conditions of use. Although, Shorea is more sustainable than cedar, redwood, and pine you are better offer with the Brazilian Walnut.

Composite Decking

Composite decking refers to synthetic or plastic decking materials delivered from petroleum. It comes with a guarantee of only 10 years.

It can soften and droops with temperature changes, and once scratches develop they cannot be removed. Also, they are non-recyclable and are non-biodegradable. Composite decking fade quickly and lack a fire rating found in Ipe wood.

Camaru Hardwood

Camaru or Brazilian Teak is an also an exotic hardwood that has similar properties to the Brazilian Walnut. It has a hardness of about 3.542 and can last for over 25 years. The grain on Camaru is coarser than in Brazilian Walnut, but both have the same fire rating. However, it is prone to warping and turning and must be dried carefully.

Final Thought

No wood product comes close to the Brazilian Walnut in all measures making it the best decking material in the world.

What You Need to Know About Ipe Wood Decking

Ipe wood comes from Tabebuia tree which largely found in South America. The wood is the hardest among the ironwoods from the American tropics and subtropics. This property is largely attributed to the harsh environmental conditions of the tropic regions where it is sourced. It has natural oils which act as treating agents which make the wood highly durable. These two properties make Ipe wood the best decking material. The timber color ranges from olive brown, dark brown, and in some cases almost black. It is free of virtual defects such as twisting and splitting. The woods high natural resistivity results in durability and easy maintenance of the decks aesthetic which is referred to as the Ipe advantage.

Ipe Wood Advantages

Unlike other deck building material Ipe gains a silvery color as it ages. This maintains the aesthetic of the wood over a long period. The wood has a high density attributed to the tight fibers and natural oils. This leads to variation in the wood grain which achieves a striking appearance of the structures built form it. This also gives the wood an exceptional smooth touch. The natural oils of the wood also make it insect and fungus resistant. The woods natural treatment by Ipe wood oils gives it a long life of up to 75 years and guarantees service for more than 45 years. The building materials high density makes it hard and strong resulting to firm structures. The combination of the fine properties of Ipe wood makes the maintenance of decks and other structures low. Finally, the building material is fire resistant which makes it the best building material for a deck.

Guides While Ipe Decking

During the installation of a deck, one should observe the safety measures first by following the building codes, use of proper equipment and gear. Ipe wood is very heavy, thus extra care should be taken when handling the decking material. The dust from got from sawing the hardwood is irritable to people who are allergic, hence, the use of a mask is advisable. Once the decking material is delivered, it is advisable to arrange it the respective order to avoid cumbersome movement of the material during decking. While putting together the deck one should consider ventilations between the decking boards in regular intervals which allow for expansion and establish a pattern of the deck’s design. To avoid wastage of the timber, building using 12-inch spans is advisable. Additionally, standard spanning results in minimal reflection of the deck surface.

Ipe Efficiency in Deck Building

Ipe wood has the highest efficiency while building a classic deck. First, the wood has a long lifespan (75 years). The wood required minimal management with the woods exceptional natural resistance to, decay, insects and fungus attack. The wood ages with grace acquiring a silvery glow, unlike all other woods. The wood’s hardness and density guarantee the safety of the deck in case of harsh climatic conditions. The color ranges of the wood are exceptional uniform and merge evenly with the environs of the house. Therefore, it is justifiable that Ipe wood is the best decking material.

Any wood buyer considering the best material for wood decking must be persuaded to choose Ipe wood. Despite the cost, the Ipe advantage in deck building is undeniable.

Ipe Wood or Cedar: Which is the Best Decking Material?

When it comes to building a deck, you will end up feeling stressed if you have no idea about your preference. There are composite, Ipe wood, iroko, cumaru, balau, and cedar. Perhaps two of the most popular choices would be ipe and cedar. Cedar is a quality wood that is highly resistant against insect attacks, decay, and rot. However, it still requires regular maintenance in order to maintain its flawless feature. Ipe, on the other hand, is a hardwood that is not only resistant against rot, insect attacks, and decay but also to fire.

Choosing Between Cedar and Ipe Wood

Both decking materials come with their own advantages. To make an informed decision, you need to analyze the level of maintenance needed, strength of materials and their grain.


Softwood decking materials such as cedar will need sealing, painting and staining annually especially if you want it to last a lifetime. Ipe Wood has a high level of resistance against outdoor elements and weather conditions. In case you are someone who prefers low maintenance, Ipe will definitely provide you with the best choice. Despite of the fact that it is virtually maintenance-free, we still recommend you to conduct a periodic maintenance of your deck.


Ipe is also known as ironwood due to its unprecedented strength. The strength of the material is crucial in terms of deck building. Cedar has a good resistance against rot and decay but will require regular maintenance. Ipe wood has an excellent resistance against weather elements, rots, and decay. In case you noticed, most of the backyard decks and the boardwalks are made from this hardwood material. It is at least 5 times denser compared to the pressure-treated cedar.


Ipe Wood is available in an array of tropical shades, brown, black and light tones. It has a unique figuring that adds to the natural appeal and character of the hardwood. Cedar is also available in a range of color but with a limited figuring. If you are looking for decking materials that has the premium look, ipe will be your best solution. It is also offered in long lengths that will create a seamless and consistent appearance.


Usually, the grain of the cedar is unremarkable and regular, whereas the Ipe wood has exotic grains that create that natural and authentic charm.

Ipe can last more than 40 years depending on some circumstances such as weather condition and maintenance. In contrast, Cedar wood has a lifespan of more than 10 years even if it is maintained regularly. The initial cost of cedar may be less compared to the Ipe wood, but with the recurring cost of maintenance you will end up paying more. If you want to improve the value of your property, you need to choose the premium decking material. There is no question that Ipe will provide a better value of your investment. There is just no way to compare hardwood and cedars with regards to its durability.