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ipe decking

ipe decking

ipe decking

Ipe Decking

Ipe decking is primarily used for hardwood decking and flooring.  Ipe is very popular amongst homeowners because it's highly resistant to scratches, silvers, fungi, and chemicals. Ipe is naturally beautiful, it has a Class A fire rating, and it will last for many years.  In fact, Ipe is so dense, it rarely needs to be refinished.  In addition to being used for floors, Ipe decking is also used for tool handles, turnery, outside decking, porches and even boardwalks.  

The reason why many homeowners and deck builders love this popular wood is because it's extremely resistant to bugs, decay, and molds, and Ipe can also withstand harsh weather conditions and different climates.  Ipe is the decking wood of choice for many who want custom hardwood floors, beautiful outside patio decks, and even saunas to last a lifetime.  Many homeowners will agree that applying this type of hardwood to any area of the home will increase the resale value tremendously. 

History of Ipe Decking

ipe deckingThe Ipe tree is found in Central America, South America, and some parts of the Caribbean and Northern Mexico.  Ipe trees have a diameter of 3 feet and can grow to a height of 120 feet tall.  Brazilian Ipe is part of the Tabebuia genus family, which consists of over 100 species.  The trees in this family are known for their extreme durability and resistance to insects. The indigenous people of the Amazon used the wood from the Ipe tree for many purposes.  They made wooden bows for hunting out of the wood, as well as used the bark of the tree for medicinal purposes. The medicinal properties of Ipe bark has been known to alleviate smokers cough, prevent or cure colds during flu season, and is used as a topical application or antibiotic for insect bites.

Fast forward to present day, and the wood from Ipe trees are primarily used for outdoor decking, construction, and myriad of other wood working projects.  The Ipe tree produces wood for decking that has a light to dark olive brown color.  Ipe wood is known as "Ironwood" because it's extremely heavy and strong.  The wood from Ipe gets a lot of praise and recognition.  In fact, it has an A class rating by the NFPA and it's a very popular outdoor decking wood for many due to the following:

  • Ipe is naturally resistant to fire
  • Ipe is naturally resistant to insects, molds, and decay
  • Ipe is naturally resistant to moisture and movement
  • Ipe is resistant to surface checking

Ipe Decking Challenges

Ipe gets the nickname Ironwood for a good reason. It's no secret that photoIpe is one of the most durable decking woods on the market. So, it should come as no surprise that Ipe will be slightly more challenging to build a deck with due to its hardness. Ipe is more difficult to cut, saw, screw, or glue than softer decking materials. That's why it's very important that you use premium carbide tipped saw blades for cutting Ipe, and pre-drill the decking wood before nailing and screwing. The drying time for Ipe is very quick; however, it can produce checking and warping. So, it's imperative to handle this decking wood with care for a fine finish. While it's extremely rare, it's also important to note the dust from Ipe wood could cause respiratory issues and allergic reactions in some humans. Therefore it's extremely important that you wear protective gear when handling this dark colored wood. Despite all the difficulties, this tropical decking wood creates a long lasting finish to be enjoyed for many years to come.

Important Facts on Ipe Decking

Scientific Name:  Tabebuia
Other names for Ipe:  Lapacho, Cortez
Region where Ipe grows:   South America, Central America, Northern Mexico, Caribbean
Ipe Color:  Light to dark olive brown
Ipe Durability:  Extremely high, it's naturally resistant to fire, insects, and molds
Ipe Grain:  Straight
Texture of Ipe:  Medium texture with an oily feel and appearance
Substitutes for Ipe:  Itauba has been recommend as a decking substitute for Ipe
Common Ipe uses:  hardwood floors, decking outdoor furniture, Marine use, Instruments, furniture veneers, bridges, boardwalks

Whether you need Ipe decking for a hardwood floor, an outside Ipe deck, or even a custom piece of furniture, you can rest assured that with Ipe, you will have an exotic decking wood that will last up to 40 years and beyond. At San Antonio Wholesale Lumber, we have a wide variety of decking options you can choose from in addition to Ipe.

Whether you want Ipe or some other type of decking material, our decking experts are ready to assist you and answer all of your questions about Ipe and decking.   Contact us today to find out more about Ipe and other types of decking wood we carry.  When your decking needs to last, Ipe should be at the top of your list.

Click here to read an interesting article on the benefits of Ipe Decking.

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