I have too little experience with IPE to comment intellegently
on it. I have built several wood and trex decks, one with cedar
rails. It looks and works well. The clients are happy with it.
Trex does have low maintenance and looks good. Make sure it
has enough support. Joists need to be 12 inches apart rather than the
16 or 24 inches you can use for wood. Same with the steps.
Also note that you would not want to put anything heavy on the
deck. If the planters you spoke of are larger than a couple of
gallons, put put a layer of wooden decking under the trex in those
spots to avoid sags. Don't expect to put anything on the deck for any
length of time of the mass and weight of a piano, freezer, or lawn
tractor. You don't usually have to worry about weighing it down with
too many people; they don't usually stay long enough to create sags.
Enjoy your new deck.
With the small difference in price between the cheapest and the most
expensive, I would strongly suggest Ipe on top and PT on the bottom side.
IMHO none of the other products comes close to the beauty and rich look if
You seem to have all the specs before you about maintenance, go with what
I built exactly the same deck. Used 1x4 and 1x6 Ipe for the decking, PT
for the structure, and WRC for the rail. I also had some of the 1x6 Ipe
resawn for skirting of the PT.
What is your contractor using for fasteners? Ask him if the quote
includes Eb-Ty clips.
BTW, I love the way the Ipe looks. It weathers well, or you can use
Penofin to help keep the Ipe looking new. It will outlast your deck
If you live in the Northwest or any area where deck maintenance is a must,
Ipe is the only way to go. The Ipe will outlast the cedar hands down,
especially if you have to pressure wash every year or so.. Rick is right
about the penofin finish, it lightens, but keeps the Ipe looking really
nice. I built benches and a table out of Ipe, used the Penofin for exotic
woods and it looks like a million bucks.
Fellas (and ladies where applicable) please excuse my ignorance, but why
would you make the structure of your deck with pressure treated wood and
then use Ipe for the rest of the deck? Wouldn't this mean that in a few
years, you'll have to remove the deck to replace the pressure-treated
structure? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I'd like to know before I
re-do my deck next year. Thanks in advance.
Price. Treated wood will last a good 15-20 years. Ipe should last
longer. My deck is 9 feet off the ground, and my only concern is
replacing the 6x6 PT posts. I've considered going with an adjustable
steel column and fabbing a bracket so I can sandwich the 2x12 beams
inside of the bracket. I would then wrap the posts in ipe or cedar.
I have seen some splitting of the 6x6s, and with the columns at a
reasonable price, I may try this out next year if I don't have any
*other* projects around the house!
Price is also the reason why I decided to use WRC for the rail system.
Ipe would have cost an extra $1200 for the rail system, plus it probably
would have taken me another month to finish the rail the way I designed
them. The cedar turned out quite nicely, and complements the decking
Since most PT-SYP has a warranty that exceeds 40 years, I wouldn't
worry about who is gonna outlive the deck.... IPE is probably
going to last 50 years, soooo you will have a deck that outlives
The other reason is that IPE doesn't come in the larger framing
sizes as a general rule. The structure requires much larger
framing members by most regulations.
Ed G wrote:
Most framing members are vertically oriented and are somewhat sheltered from
direct weathering by the decking and skirting, so treated SYP will last much
longer in a framing application than as decking. In this area (VA/MD), treated
2x SYP decking lasts 15-20 years and 10-15 years on southfacing decks which
really get cooked. Pairing Ipe (durable 40-50 year decking) with SYP framing
(30-40 year life when somewhat protected) is a reasonable match. If you have the
presence of mind to end-seal all cut treated lumber ends, you'll probably get at
least 40 years of life out of the frame.
FYI - Advantage and most other wholesalers carry Ipe in framing sizes, and most
retail vendors sell at least the rail components (4x4, 2x4 etc.) - only problem
is cost and weight - a 2x10x16 is a two man carry - I went with SYP.
Pat Barber wrote:
I have a 2,000 sq ft 5/4 v.g. cedar deck that has been in place for
about 12 years. All posts and railings are also cedar. The only
maintenance is to wash it down and restain (Cabots) every 2 to 3 years.
It still looks good even though it sees a fair amount of salt spray.
David L wrote:
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