Guide to Exotic Hardwoods: Ipe, Part 2

Inspecting Ipe

Inspecting Ipe

The prize-worthy characteristics of Ipe make it a king among decking species. This Brazilian-based lumber species isn’t just for decking, though. To learn more about how to install it and the applications for which it is ideal, read on.

Ipe Products and Applications

Hardwood to Go specializes in air-dried S4S, E4E Ipe decking that’s dried to a moisture content of 12-18%, allowing your decking to resist checking and excessive movement when exposed to sunlight and varying moisture in the atmosphere. However, we also carry kiln-dried, rough-sawn Ipe. If you’re not sure what’s best for your application, let us know, and we can help you figure it out.

While decking is not a finished product, here at Hardwood to Go, our partnering lumber companies do provide end sealing in order to further prevent checking during shipment and the acclimatization period. We also recommend applying a sealer anytime you cut the length of your Ipe decking. We’d be glad to add the premium end sealer we use here with your shipment. Kiln-dried Ipe with a moisture content between 6-8% is better suited to interior projects, but you can read more about that here.

While Ipe is famously used for decks, we don’t want you to think it’s limited to that application. Contrary to popular belief, it actually lasts longer than composite decking and can be used for bridges, docks, boardwalks, outdoor furniture, marinas, and other exterior projects, such as siding.  Kiln-dried Ipe  can be used for interior flooring, as well, and is particularly ideal for high-traffic areas.

Ipe siding

Ipe siding

Ipe Installation

Ipe installation has some unique considerations. The debate rages between those who prefer face screwing and those who think hidden fasteners are always best. Whatever method you plan to use, we can groove the material in house at our partnering companies’ millworks,  according to your specifications. We also carry a variety of high-quality screws, bits, Ipe clips, oil, and sealer for any Ipe decking projects. Because like any decking, Ipe decking is not a finished product.

Your Ipe decking may require cleaning, sanding, and finishing once it is installed. We can offer sanding and some pre-finishing services, but we believe it’s best to wait until after your deck is installed before completing those tasks, for some of the reasons we explain here. We always recommend using a deck cleaner and a deck brightener after installation, in order to get a freshly milled look.

Ipe Cost Savings

The one down side of using Ipe is that as fabulous as it is, its price can be a bit hefty. Some years, we’ve encountered an Ipe shortage, forcing many to pursue alternative species. If you’re convinced that Ipe is the right for you, but you want to make sure you get the most (and best!) for your money, study up on the Ipe market  and consider unique ways to save, such as buying odd-length decking  or resisting pressure to over-build structures.

Request a Quote for Ipe.

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