Ipe deck cleaning and maintenance

Ultimate Guide to Cleaning, Maintaining, and Properly Treating Your Ipe Decking

A Comprehensive Guide to Cleaning and Maintaining Your Ipe Decking

Maintaining the allure and longevity of your ipe decking requires proper care and attention. Whether you’re a homeowner or a contractor, understanding how to clean and maintain ipe decking is essential. This guide will walk you through the steps necessary to preserve the beauty and durability of exotic Brazilian hardwoods like Ipe.

Understanding Ipe Wood

Ipe, pronounced E-pay, stands out as one of the toughest woods globally, offering unparalleled durability and longevity. Its natural resistance to pests, mold, rot, and decay makes it a prime choice for decking material. With its rich brown color adorned with red and amber hues, ipe boasts a charming beauty that enhances any outdoor space.

Ipe Deck Maintenance: Cleaning Essentials

Even though ipe decking is known for its low maintenance, proper care is vital to ensure its longevity and appeal. Here’s a breakdown of the essential steps involved in cleaning and maintaining your ipe deck:

1. Preparing Your Ipe Deck for Cleaning: Clear your deck of furniture and obstacles to access all areas effectively. Sweep away debris and note any mold or mildew for targeted treatment. Consider light sanding for stubborn stains and inspect for cracks or splinters.

2. Choosing the Right Cleaning Products: Dirt build-up is common, but with the right cleaner, your ipe deck can regain its shine. Opt for gentle solutions like Messmers Deck Cleaner, OxiClean or Penofin® Pro-Tech Cleaner for effective yet safe cleaning. Avoid harsh chemicals that may damage the wood fibers. If you’re facing stubborn stains such as oil or grease, it might be necessary to enlist extra cleaning help that woodworkers favor. TSP Eco Cleaner is the champion you require for tackling those challenging messes.

3. Cleaning Techniques: Using a soft-bristled brush, garden sprayer, or sponge, apply the cleaning solution evenly on the deck surface. Scrub gently in circular motions, focusing on trouble spots. Rinse off the cleaner thoroughly and allow the deck to dry completely before applying sealants.

4. Additional Cleaning Options: Explore alternatives like Murphy’s Oil Soap Wood Cleaner or Defy Wood Deck Cleaner for specialized care. Address mold and mildew with suitable cleaners containing mildewcides, avoiding household bleach that can harm the wood.

5. Pressure Washing Considerations: While pressure washing can be effective, use caution to avoid damaging the wood. Test on a hidden area first and keep the pressure below 1200 psi. Alternatively, opt for gentler methods like using a shop vac or garden hose. Officially we do not recommend using a pressure washer unless you know what you are doing and as a last resort. It can do more damage than good.

6. Sealing and Treating Your Ipe Deck: Protect your ipe deck from UV rays and moisture damage by sealing it with a high-quality, oil-based sealer such as Messmers U.V. for Hardwood or Ipe Oil®. Apply the sealer evenly, allowing it to penetrate the wood before wiping off excess. Treat your deck annually to maintain its rich color and durability.

7. Restoring Your Ipe Wood Deck: If your deck shows signs of wear, sanding can revitalize its appearance. Use a power sander with 60-grit to 80-grit sandpaper to remove dirt and stains before applying sealant. Follow manufacturer instructions for best results.

Proper Maintenance and Cleaning of Ipe Decking

The maintenance of an Ipe decking is really quite simple. However, we get calls almost every day from people that have done it wrong. Doing things like pressure-washing it too hard, putting the oil on without letting it completely dry, and many more errors.

We also have homeowners who were initially happy with the maintenance of a deck and ended up with a “sticky” or “gunky” deck. There are many mistakes that can be made, but proper maintenance is simple, and here is a simple guide to show you how.

An existing deck that is having annual cleaning and maintenance

Biggest mistakes we see and things not to do:

  • Do not power wash the deck hard! Do not power wash at all if you use our other methods and they work, there is no need. This can damage the deck.
  • Do not use products to “finish” the deck that are not recommended by us. Some products that can be used with domestic hardwood lumber can not be used on exotic hardwood lumber.

For your annual or periodic maintenance:

  1. Clean the deck as described in this guide.
  2. Wait for it to FULLY dry (can take days depending on the weather).
  3. Use one of the recommended treatments listed at the bottom here.

If you are installing a new deck and doing initial maintenance you should do the following:

  • Seal the ends of every board that is not already sealed.
  • Use UV protection also known as “Oiling” before installation or immediately after. This will keep it darker. Otherwise, you can use nothing and let it turn grey.
  • Ensure the deck is free of debris such as sapwood, leaves, and leaves (you can use a vacuum cleaner or broom).

Recommended Treatments:

Please note:

To properly maintain your Ipe deck, we recommend that you work with an experienced professional. All information on the site is only generalized recommendations. We are not and will not be held liable for improper maintenance, for any reason, including but not limited to information inaccuracy. Again, consult a professional for all things related to maintenance.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your ipe decking remains a stunning focal point of your outdoor space for years to come. Regular maintenance will not only preserve its beauty but also enhance its longevity, allowing you to enjoy your deck to the fullest.