Time has come to redo once again the deck outside the house. I have used and
CCA: shrank split and looks nasty by the fifth year
Composite: Stains, supports mold , does not come clean(power washer,
Cedar: Nice and soft, always love to pull the soft breakable splinters out
I want to see if anyone has used IPE and have had it in place more than two
years. I expect to use a water sealer on it. And yes IPE seems expensive,
but so is replacing the decking every five years or so.
I did an ipe (pau lope) pergola about ten years ago. It aged to a nice
silver gray. At the time nobody had a sealer product for that wood.
Structurally it is still very solid. Poorly stored scraps show no rot,
fungus or instability.
Expect to predrill and countersink everything. There is no give in the wood.
Expect to buy new bits and blades because ipe dulls tools. You could almost
make edge tools out of it. It will bite, be careful.
Expect very dense wood (heavy timbers).
I don't look forward to working with the wood again, but I would.
Yes, I would expect a very long life out of an ipe deck.
: "goaway" ...
: > I want to see if anyone has used IPE and have had it in place more than
: > two years.
: I did an ipe (pau lope) pergola about ten years ago. It aged to a nice
: silver gray. At the time nobody had a sealer product for that wood.
: Structurally it is still very solid. Poorly stored scraps show no rot,
: fungus or instability.
: Expect to predrill and countersink everything. There is no give in the wood.
: Expect to buy new bits and blades because ipe dulls tools. You could almost
: make edge tools out of it. It will bite, be careful.
: Expect very dense wood (heavy timbers).
: I don't look forward to working with the wood again, but I would.
: Yes, I would expect a very long life out of an ipe deck.
Everything that Dean said...
I replaced my porch decking with ipe about 7 years ago. I have a
duplex and my neighbor (who builds decks for a living) did his in ipe.
I figured I'd follow his lead, and besides I wanted the continuous
deck to match.
I expect it to last more than 25 years. It is very dense, very hard,
and I've read that it is naturally rot, insect, and fire resistent.
Does it really sink in water? I don't have any scraps to try it. I
read that Atlantic City New Jersey wanted to replace their boardwalk
deck (salt water air, lots of traffic), so they replaced several
"small" sections with different materials and waited a bunch of years.
They chose ipe to do the whole thing, and (quoting from a vendor)
"after 24 years, the planks used show almost no wear!"
I found a lot of good advice on the web using google, which I
distilled down to this (I found my notes from 7 years ago):
Leave 1/16 between boards
Use stainless steel screws, two screws per joist, pre drilled,
Everyone seems to recommend lubricated (waxed) screws
One place said that they dont recommend Eb-Ty and similar
products with 1" nominal boards
Seal end cuts with Anchorseal or equivalent
No finish other than the end cuts
Pressure treated joists and supports
All saw blades and drills should be carbide tipped
Try to buy from a reputable source - I hear that there's a lot of wood
poaching going on with ipe.
Chip Buchholtz wrote:
> Leave 1/16 between boards
> Use stainless steel screws, two screws per joist, pre drilled,
As a sailor, you quickly learn that the operative words in "stainless"
are "stain" and "less" with the emphasis on "less"
When ever possible, use 316L, not 304 or 18-8 which is the same thing.
SFWIW, Jamestown has 316 deck screws with Sq Hd drive.
Info only, no other interest.
Yes, I do use them as a supplier and pay freight from RI to SoCal.
: > Try to buy from a reputable source - I hear that there's a lot of wood
: > poaching going on with ipe.
: There may be some ethical issues with the wood. Rainforests, etc...
: I'm not too sure about this.
Here's what I think's going on. I'm not an expert on this, though.
Some people in South and Central America have tree farms and sell
lumber. This is OK, ecologically and ethically. But some people go
into nature preserves or the lands of indigenous peoples and cut down
trees and sell them. This is bad, ecologically and ethically, and
apparently there's enough of it going on to really have an effect on
the rain forest.
I'm not sure that there's much we can do up here to tell the
difference. I'd pick a supplier who advertised, "we use only legally
grown and harvested lumber". Some people avoid using any wood for
which there's a black-market, to try to reduce the demand.
(Saw a documentary once on teak poachers in south-east Asia. They
used elephants on speed to move the logs.)
: On Wed, 30 May 2007 02:54:04 +0000 (UTC), Chip Buchholtz wrote:
: > One place said that they dont recommend Eb-Ty and similar
: > products with 1" nominal boards
: Are they saying Eb-Ty would be OK with thicker (2-by) boards? Or
I think they recommended eb-ty with 2x, but I'm really not sure - it
was 7 years ago and I knew I was using 1x before I started
researching. I do remember that a little googling found tons of
: I'm considering replacing my PT decking with Ipe as well, and a hidden
: fastener system appeals strongly.
With ipe, you don't want to skimp on the fasteners. For one thing,
the deck will last longer, so the fasteners will see more years of
weather. Also, have I mentioned that the ipe is very hard?
On Wed, 30 May 2007 14:17:29 +0000 (UTC), Chip Buchholtz wrote:
Understood. It seems like replacing a broken hidden fastener would be a
giant PITA. Come to think of it, replacing a board wouldn't be a piece
of cake, either.
I've just doen a little Googling, and see there are a few hidden
fastener systems being promoted for use with Ipe. The "Ipe Clip Extreme"
seems interesting. Same basic idea as Eb-Ty, with an embedded SS washer.
One site selling these has installation instructions on line, which
mentions using a construction adhesive on top of the joists in addition
to a fastener per joist.
There are also "live" fastners that supposedly allow for seasonal
changes in board thickness. Would that be an issue with Ipe?
Yes! A few extra blades for my biscuit joiner would seem to be in order.
On Wed, 30 May 2007 09:59:34 -0500, Patriarch wrote:
I'm not. Just wondering what thickness -is- suitable for using the Eb-Ty
type hidden fastener. The statement was simply that such fasteners are
-not- suggested for 1-inch nominal thickness.
I would use 5/4 for decking, and whatever fastener system works well.
Hopefully, that includes at least one hidden fastener system.
I agree with you, with joists on 16-inch centers, anything thicker would
be a waste of wood -- and money.
I'm not trying to talk (type) you out of using Ipe for a deck but I
built three decks on my property ranging in age from 18 yr, 12 yr, and
2 yr. The 18 yr deck (26 x12) uses PT hem fir (on the recommendations
of my house contractor) for the floor and railings but I used PTYP for
the stairs. (PTYP for all structural components). Minimal splitering,
checking, etc has occurred. I live in an oak forest but my deck gets
about 6-7 hrs of direct sun daily. We use some type of Behr product
on it and all of the other decks. Our front porch is the same
construction but it gets no sunlight and minimal wettings. The second
and third decks (10 x 12 and a wrap around with about 140 sq ft) are
entirely PTYP and show les efffects of weathering than the Hem Fir
I do not pressure wash any of my decks. Instead, I use Dawn
dishwashing detergent and a bristle brush, then hose it off and then
weather seal it once dry. I have seen a few Ipe decks and drool with
envy but I can afford PT lumber (and can work with it easily) and it
holds up very well for me. Some of my friends have replaced their
decks in the time I built mine but I noticed they used one inch lumber
for the floor boards and I've always used 2x6 or 2x8 (for angled
Would you be remaking the entire deck or just applying Ipe over the
existing structural components? At work, the University erected a
huge Ipe trellis with no weather coating protection. It is several
intersecting beams consisting of eight 2 x 12 boards ganged together
running 30 feet or more. I got to take home lost of the scraps for
projects. The boards look good after weathering for more than a year
and a half but several checks are evident on a few of them. Anyway,
just my comments but let us know how it goes if you do it.
I thought there were composites on the market that did not stain, shrink or
be affected in any noticeable way by the elements, including the effects of
Have I been watching too many "build your own deck" commercials?
I have a new house (less than 4 years old). I specified Ipe for the
and it weathered to a nice gray. No splinters, splits or cracks, tho
tell you the truth, I haven't gone and inspected every board recently.
No sealer, tho I'm thinking of doing it. I like the gray but we live
in a fog belt and the gray weather and the gray deck is too bland.
Perhaps a bit of "color" will chase those "gray blues" away. Anyways,
if I did use a sealer, I'd look into Penofin. Good brand. Used it
on the cedar shakes and it's holding up well.
The contractor complained about how tough the wood was and I agree.
Use stainless steel screws and get a lot of drill bits and blades.
Top posted for convenience
I put in about 800SF of Ipe deck last year, so it's entering its
second year of Texas sun. As recommended at one online site, I treated
it one time with Messimers (SP?) oil. That has now weathered out (it
was a real pretty natural brown when new) and the deck is silver gray
all over - quite attractive IMHO. I did seal all ends with AnchorSeal.
It's all 5/4 so I used the Ipe Clip, the Extreme variety with the SS
washer and SS trim head screws, pre-drilled an plugged on the end
boards. I did put a bead on construction adhesive on each joist just
as insurance. Not sure that over time it will make a difference, but
it can't hurt.
So far the deck is solid, no splintering, twisting etc.
The wood is very hard, cutting and drilling it is, as others have
said, a pain. I did plane down a couple of spots where boards met and
that was really exercise! Even a sharp Hock blade wasn't real happy
cutting even wispy curls.
So far, so good. You'll be happy and maintenance free for a LONG time
after the sweat dries.
BTW, if you need some Ipe clips and screws I have about 250 left over
that will go cheap (they're just occupying space!). If you want them,
drop me a line at
xleanone at airmail dot net
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