Monday, September 2, 2013

Ipe installation

Ipe is a tropical hardwood that is very durable and very resistant to moisture due to it dense grain and high oil content. It is also very labor intensive to install as decking since every screw hole needs to be piloted then drilled for a counter sink, and great effort must be taken to straighten out the boards. Stainless steel fasteners and a special type of deck stain must be used.

There is a wealth of information available online about ipe so I am not going to go into it too much but here are a few things we have learned about ipe over the years:

Not maintenance free in dry, high altitude climates. Despite being marketed as a maintenance free decking material, ipe gets super brittle if not sealed and tends to split, cup, buckle, warp, and otherwise act crazy if not sealed and fastened properly.

Ipe is expensive and going up in price due to increased scarcity. Not only is the material expensive but so is the labor to install it, the hardware, the stain, and the more frequent maintenance required due to the lack of penetration of even the finest stains.

Ipe requires special tools and knowledge to work with. Just because someone can build a deck does not mean they can build one from ipe. Please make sure your builder has the right tools and knowledge of hardwood or you could end up with a really expensive mess on your hands.

Ipe is beautiful and has unmatched elegance and style when installed and maintained properly. Well worth the price if you can afford it.

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