Ipe Decking: Information, Facts and Benefits
Ipe is considered one of the best natural wood decking materials on the market today. Ipe lumber is one of our most popular and high quality choices we stock in Atlanta, at Brazilian Wood Depot. On this page, you'll learn more about Ipe wood decking, the benefits it provides and other useful information to help get you started.
Benefits of Ipe
Ipe wood, which is also known alternately as Brazilian Walnut, Ironwood or Pau lope, is extremely durable and sturdy, with a Janka hardness of 3680. That's triple the strength of a typical plastic-composite decking, while providing all of the aesthetic benefits of a natural, beautiful wood deck.
That strength comes in part through its density. Ipe is heavy enough to sink in water. Importantly, it has a class A fire rating, which is amazingly the same rating as concrete. Ipe provides a safe and long-lasting choice.
Ipe, well known for its natural beauty, features a tight grain with pronounced patterns with few to zero visible knots. Ipe is striking enough to be used for beautiful artistic projects within the home, such as high quality cabinets or interior trim, which provides a rare combination considering its strength and durability which easily serves larger commercial needs as well.
Ipe hardwood lasts a life time (40 – 100 years), bugs cannot eat it, it will never rot, and some of the species have the same fire rating as concrete. It's color can be preserved by applying a protective deck oil finish periodically, and the color can be restored if it grays after several years of being untreated.
Ipe wood decking is incredibly versatile. Its durability makes it a natural choice for commercial projects, such as high-traffic, large-scale beach piers or boardwalks, or even public benches. However, its beauty, strength and low needs for maintenance also make it an advantageous choice for a home deck.
Ipe (pronounced E-pay) is world-renowned for its superior characteristics and properties. The color of Ipe heartwood is a rich brown with red and amber hues. Ipe wood decking grain is extremely dense and tight. Ipe wood grain can be both wavy and straight. Due to the wood's fine texture and interlocking grain, ipe offers superior slip resistance.
A major benefit of Ipe is that it does not require the usage of preservatives or treatments. It is naturally resistant to a variety of common decking issues, such as decay and rot, insect infestation, and more.
Ipe wood decking boards come in numerous colors offering a natural and varied look which ranges from a light or tan brown, to dark olive or even a rich, nearly black, brown.
By the Numbers
Consider that Ipe wood decking has the aforementioned 3,680 Janka hardness rating, compared to 690 for pine and between 940 and 1,390 for composite-plastic. It also leads the way in shear strength, at 2,060, compared to 1,370 or between 561 and 1,010 respectively, and bending strength, at an enormous 25,400 psi, compared to just 9,900 to 14,500, or 1,423 to 4,500, for pine and composite respectively.
An Ipe deck compares favorably to two of the most popular, traditional choices for residential decks, pine softwood and composite-plastic decking.
Working with Ipe Decking
Ipe dries easily, and common concerns such as warping and cracking are minimal to nonexistent. With its great density and strength, shrinkage after installation is also minimal.
Joists and support beams can consist of more affordable pressure treated pine. Ipe will provide protection from the elements, improving the durability of the pine underneath, and allowing you to save money.
Utilizing spacers or stickers between boards will allow air to provide natural drying, and climate acclimation after shipping is also recommended before installation -- as little as less than one eighth of an inch of space should be left between boards. Additionally, Ipe wood decking should have room for ventilation underneath the deck boards themselves.
Other design and installation considerations for Ipe deck material will include choices in fasteners, such as whether or not to use hidden fasteners, and choice in deck railings and balusters, or vertical pickets. Brazilian Wood Depot specializes in helping our clients with such decisions and in learning more about their options. So, for even more great information and resources on Real Ipe, utilize the following:
Real Ipe compared to other decking materials
|RealIpe||CCA-Treated Pine||Composite Decking|
|Movement in Service||Low||High||High|
|Fire Rating Class||High||Varies||Low|
|Weight per Cu Ft.||69 lbs.||35 lbs.||60-64 lbs.|
|Bending Strength||25,400 psi||9,900-14,500 psi||1,423-4,500 psi|
For a more comprehensive comparison of decking materials, visit: Composite Decking vs. RealWood
How does Ipe decking compare to Composite decking? Visit our Composite Comparison page.
Ipe Deck Tiles are the ideal solution for rooftop, patio and deck top transformation into an enjoyable hardwood deck. They are easy to install, beautiful, durable, cost effective, and easy to maintain. You can transform your garden, patio, roof or balcony, with these easily installed ipe deck tiles. They are also used in large commercial areas like bars, restaurants, exhibition areas and office buildings with heavy pedestrian traffic. Visit our Ipe Deck Tiles page for more information on this beautiful and versatile decking solution.
For more information on Ipe deck installation and deck building tips, visit our Deck Installation page.
For Ipe deck design tips visit our Cutting Edge Tips Blog
For information on fasteners, railings and finishes visit the Deck Accessories Page.
At Brazilian Wood Depot, we also place an emphasis on the proper shipment of our lumber, to ensure that your Ipe decking material arrives in the quality and excellent condition you deserve, preventing costly setbacks, stresses and inconveniences. With special wood crates for shipping and transportation, low overhead costs and large number of shipments, we can pass on great savings to you, while ensuring a smooth delivery process. We deliver Ipe across the entire United States.
Brazilian Wood Depot in Atlanta, GA is the sole U.S. distributor of RealWood - lumber which has passed rigid testing standards to be of the highest grade, and other important industry standards and benchmarks. To see more about the assurances of wood grading, milling and origin that the Real Wood™ brand provides, please go to RealWoodDepot.com. Any other provider of Real Wood™, including Real Cumaru™, Real Jatoba™, Real Tigerwood™, Real Garapa™, Real Massaranduba™, and Real Ipe™ has been supplied by Brazilian Wood Depot.
Ultimately, with Real Ipe for your home, you'll be receiving a beautiful, hassle-free and long lasting choice that will make your deck the envy of the neighborhood, but also simply a wise investment.
Call 770-242-0045 for any other information or for specific pricing on Ipe.