Ipe Wood – Decking You Don’t Have to Replace
When considering what wood to use for outdoor decking Ipe wood cannot be beat for its durability and cost. Ipe wood is an exotic hardwood found throughout South America that is incredibly resistant to rot, insect infestation and has amazing fire resistance as well. Pronounced ee-PAY, this incredible hardwood has several common names, which include Brazilian Walnut, Amapa and Cortez Ipe Woods USA.
When the famous boardwalk in Atlantic City needed to be replaced, Ipe wood was chosen. It was also used for the boardwalk at the Treasure Island Resort in Las Vegas
This wood is an extremely dense, tight-grained wood, which is the source of its longevity. When tested by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory it received its highest rating. This was based on Ipe wood left in the ground for 15 years without attack by termites. It is also resistant to mold and fungi. The wood can be expected to last 40+ years left untreated and an amazing 100+ years with a treatment of deck oil. Not only is it long lasting, it is a fraction of the cost of Teak.
When compared to more common woods used in outdoor projects, Ipe wood wins easily. Even against those woods long thought superior for out door use such as Cedar and Redwood. Studies done on recent Redwood use suggest that while Redwoods used at the beginning of the twentieth century did indeed offer excellent quality when used outdoors, that is not the case today. The reason for this is quite simple. Redwood used a century ago was taken from old growth forests and those no longer exist. The Redwood used today is produced from new growth trees and the heartwood of younger trees provides much less resistance to rot and insects than that of old trees. Irresponsible logging practices of the past century depleted all old growth Redwood except those trees protected in National Forests.
Use of Ipe wood is also an environmentally sound choice as well. Importers of Ipe wood to the United States usually purchase wood that is grown in managed forests that have been approved by the Forest Stewardship council. The practice of taking trees from managed forests means that sustainable forestry practices are in use, thus Ipe wood produces one of the renewable wood products in the world today. The use of Ipe instead of Teak or Mahogany leads to environmentally responsible forestry practices in sensitive rain forest environments.
One of the reasons Ipe wood is so new to the market for outdoor products is actually the same reason Ipe wood is also so durable. The wood is so incredibly dense that only recent technological machinery advances have made it possible to process the timber at an affordable price. Ipe wood must be drilled for fasteners and attachments; it is much too dense for the traditional hammer and nail techniques. This wood nearly 400% harder than teak and is one of the only woods that sinks in water!
When it comes to investing in your homes beauty and functionality, Ipe wood is a natural choice. Although it is more costly initially to install, the rewards by far outweigh the initial investment because once it is installed, Ipe wood is virtually maintenance free and will last a lifetime. Even pressure treated woods cannot boast the staying power of Ipe wood.