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.