All About Ipe Hardwood
If you’re planning on building a new deck, ipe wood is a great option. Tough, strong, and durable, your ipe deck will last for decades with the proper care. Let’s learn more about this incredible material!
Also called Brazilian walnut, ipe is a gorgeous wood with a rich, dark brown color. Ipe is highly sought after and considered to be one of the best decking options. From the tabebuia tree, which grows throughout a wide region covering Mexico south to Argentina, ipe is naturally resistant to rot, insects, and weather. It’s also one of the hardest woods available, with a Janka Hardness Rating of 3,680 lbs.
How Tough Is Ipe?
Really tough! If you need a strong wood, look to ipe. It’s three times stronger than cedar. Twice as hard as redwood, ipe is so durable that it can stand up to harsh climates and wear-and-tear while resisting rot. The famed Coney Island boardwalks were originally made with ipe and they lasted for over 25 years before needing to be replaced, which is incredible given the heavy traffic. In most residential applications, an ipe deck can last over 50 years without cracks or dings. In fact, ipe has a fire rating equal to concrete and steel, which means it’s actually flame resistant.
Thanks to the tabebuia tree’s tropical environment, ipe wood contains oils that provide natural pest resistance, including termites, mold, and fungus.
The only drawback to ipe’s inherent toughness is that it can be difficult to work with. It’s so dense (it doesn’t even float in water!) that using it requires a few extra considerations. However, any contractor who has experience with tropical hardwoods will know how to handle ipe. Ipe requires pre-drilling and use of the right blades. It’s also heavy, so make sure you have a buddy when you’re moving it!
Ipe is so durable that it needs little ongoing maintenance. Over time, its dark brown color will turn a silvery-grey. Many homeowners enjoy the look of this natural aging, but if you don’t, annually applying a deck stain and UV protector will keep your deck looking like new.
Still not sure if ipe is right for you? All of Hardwood Decking Supply’s ipe wood is now on sale!