Anyone who owns a wood deck knows the woes of staining, rotting, and warping. The beauty, leisure, and comfort of a wood deck can fade when it comes to deck care. Ipe is the lumber for people who wish to have a beautiful wooden deck without all the hassle. Any deck owner would be lucky to have Ipe under their feet.
Ipe is almost completely impervious to rot. No other lumber can claim the strength of Ipe against pests or natural elements. The Janka scale, the standard used to measure a lumber’s hardness, puts Ipe at twice the hardness of Hickory and more than three times the hardness of Teak. Ipe is superior to any other flooring, especially when used outdoors, because of its superior hardness.
Additionally, Ipe is very dense. It is so dense, in fact, that its ability to resist fire is nearly as high as concrete or metal. This lumber will sink to the bottom of a pool instead of floating like normal wood. Because of this density, Ipe resists rot and repels termites and other pests.
The heaviest commercial lumber, Ipe weighs in at 66 pounds per cubic foot, dwarfing the Oak at 43, Teak at 40 and Cedar at 22. Ipe is not prone to splintering, warping or pulling loose because of this density. Deck owners who despise painting, waxing and sealing will love Ipe because it lasts up 25 to 50 years with minimal maintenance.
Even if it somehow lost its famous durability, Ipe would still be prized for its appearance. This wood charms with deep hues, tight grain patterns, and very few imperfections. Even without the hassle of staining, Ipe often maintains a deep natural brown color. An Ipe deck exposed to copious amounts of sun can begin to fade, but a period penetrating sealer will block the UV rays of the sun.
However, even Ipe’s sun-faded appearance is beautiful, and as a result, many Ipe deck owners purposely allow their lumber to fade. The silvery gray patina left behind is valued for its aesthetic appeal almost as much as the dark brown hue of unexposed Ipe.
This lumber is also called Ironwood, Pau Lope and Brazilian Walnut. Other types of Ipe, all of them equally resistant to rot, are Tiger Deck, Diamond Deck, Greenheart, Madera Negra and Tahuri, so if a supplier has lumbers listed under these names, understand that they are usually referring to Ipe. Ipe has a small variety of grades, but most carpenters and woodworkers agree that Clear All Heartwood from northern Brazil is best. This Ipe has the darkest brown color and the tightest grain- the best of the best.
J. Gibson McIlvain has a plentiful supply of this and types to meet all Ipe demands. McIlvain assures customers that they will meet the growing need for Ipe with high quality, sustainable lumber from their Maryland and Connecticut based yards. For over 200 years, McIlvain has been in industry leader. To find out why, visit their website today, or check out these selections from the McIlvain Lumber Blog: