Pros and Cons of Ipe Decking
Ipé (pronounced ee-pay) is considered one of the best tropical hard woods for decking. It is naturally insect and rot-resistant and is one of the densest hardwoods available, ranking 3680 on the Jenka Scale compared to Western Red Cedar at 350. Ipe has the same fire rating as concrete and steel, meaning it resists flames much longer than softer woods, and is so dense that it sinks in water.
The color of Ipe ranges from light and dark browns to deep rich reds and mahoganies. If it is allowed to age naturally it will turn to a silver patina and will just need a yearly cleaning.
That density I just mentioned – it makes Ipe very difficult to work with – fastening, routing, staining and just handling Ipe is labor intensive and expensive. Congleton Lumber can help with some of these problems. For example; face screwing Ipe is a hard way to go – plugging, trimming and sanding will slow your project to a crawl and will be a lot of wear and tear on your equipment. Our mill can pre-groove the decking boards to accept blind fasteners; this will save you a lot of time and money while adding to the aesthetics of clean and unobstructed lines.
If you are going to stain your deck, make it as easy as possible, as you will need to do it about twice a year to maintain the color. The frequency that you need to stain will depend on the exposure to elements and your aesthetic preferences.