Ipe As A Deck Wood? .......pros and cons of ipe deck material???
Should you use
Ipe as a deck wood?
Ipe, as a deck wood is next to perfect, a beautiful exotic wood from S.America. Ipe decks and all ipe wood decking structures are hard, strong, and naturally resistant to rot, abrasion & weather. Ipe lumber is almost twice as dense as most woods and up to 5 times harder. What's not to like?
On top of all that ipe wood decking has the highest, Class A fire rating,.... the same rating given to concrete & steel. Ipe wood is dark brown in color, like a mahogany, so not only lasts a long time but has the beauty of a fine interior wood....
Thus looking at the pros and cons of ipe deck material, we have to believe that ipe wood decking is as close to perfect as we can get.
Why use Ipe wood?
Why not just stick to Cedar & Pressure Treated Lumber?
Cedar, not ipe lumber, has been the traditional exterior deck wood of choice. It has come to our attention though, that a number of these installations, are starting to rot! Why? To answer that question, we contacted a number of forestry/wood specialists. Their information is what follows.... Ipe as a deck wood, was our solution ... I hope the information is of value.
Why is cedar not
Traditionally, i.e.. a generation ago, most of the cedar coming out of the west coast, was large in size, and usually "first growth" trees. The heartwood of these trees, was/is known to be very decay & insect resistant, able to last 30 years+.
Today, most of the cedar lumber sold, is from much smaller logs, and often second growth plantation trees, that are mostly sapwood. Research from various departments of Forestry (including the Wood Processing Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) have found that the level of decay resistance in these trees is significantly less then that found in old growth heartwood.
The US forest lab in Madison WI, conducted a 22 year study in this area, and found the life expectancy of old growth heartwood cedar to be greater than 30 years, vs the life expectancy of sapwood cedar to be less than 11 years .
If you would like to know the pros and cons of ipe deck material relative to other "options" i.e.. western red cedar, pressure treated, Douglas Fir .... click here.... Ipe as a deck wood: rot resistance & physical features, pros and cons of ipe deck material..
Ipe lumber comes in long lengths and is virtually knot free, with very little to no warping. It ages to a nice light gray with exposure to the weather. The colour can be protected with the periodic application of UV protective coatings. If allowed to age, colour can be brought back to its original shade, with the use of a pressure washer... click here: some suggestion on Ipe deck cleaning