Ipe decks can be stunning with the gorgeous grain and texture of this durable tropical hardwood. But before you set out to build an ipe deck you should be aware of a few things that make ipe unique.
Ipe is a very hard wood. In fact it is also known as Ironwood - for a reason. But is also rot resistant, pests don't like it and its very strong.
These characteristics mean you have to approach building ipe decks a bit differently.
Because the wood is so dense and hard its not always easy to drive nails or screws into it. You may have to drill pilot holes in some instances.
Its high density also makes it very tough to stain or seal because liquids don't easily soak into it. Traditional wood sealers and stains tend to just sit on the surface and not soak deep into the wood. So they peel off or wear off from sun and foot traffic quickly.
Most people just let it weather to a silver grey. If you don't like that idea about the only product I could find that seems to be a potential solution is a water based urethane coating mixed with iron-oxide pigment. It seals the surface.
I have never used it so I can't give it my blessing but it does sound interesting. You can check it out at www.superdeck.com
Whether you choose to leave the wood natural or use this new kind of sealer, ipe decks are excellent performers over the long run. In fact you should check out the ipe decking material used along the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Its over 25 years old and is in great shape.
Its so hard and dense it actually has a Class A fire rating. That's the same as steel and concrete!
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