Furniture makers across the world are starting to use ipe wood to make high-quality outdoor furniture. Because ipe is a unique hardwood, it has features and benefits that make it the perfect choice for your next Adirondack chair, outdoor dining table, outdoor chest, or bench. While most people know ipe to be a very dense hardwood, it has some unique advantages over most other woods, including the more expensive ones such as teak.
The Tabebuia Serratifolia also known as ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is found throughout Central and South America. Anyone who tells you that ipe is found in Asia is probably confusing ipe with the more expensive and well-known teak. While both are worthwhile and durable woods, ipe is less expensive, stronger, and will last a lot longer. This begs the question, what makes ipe so unique?
To put it simply, the cell structure of the ipe tree is packed so densely, that the tree is extremely resistant to insect infestation and other common problems. To prove that Ipe is a superior wood, just look at the Janka Hardness Test results. While teak has a respectable result of 1050, ipe can boast a result of 3670. These tests prove that ipe is over 3 times harder than teak. Moreover, Ipe also boasts superior resistance to decay, fungi, and mold. Even after the tree has been processed into lumber, its toughness remains uncompromised.
Even the US Forest Products Laboratory has given ipe lumber its highest rating. In addition, the US Naval Research Laboratory tested this exotic hardwood and found that, if left in the ground, an untreated piece of ipe lumber will withstand attack from termites for over 15 years. A single piece of ipe can be left untreated and exposed to the elements for over 40 years before it starts wearing down. If a plank of ipe has been given the right oil treatment, the results are mind-boggling. A treated piece of ipe wood could last an estimated 100 years or more. Is it any wonder why ipe is starting to see increased popularity when it comes to outdoor furniture?
Besides ipe outdoor furniture, this hardwood is used most often for decks and patios. In fact, homeowners who have recently completed construction of their beautiful new ipe deck soon come to realize that the area around their pool is also much safer. Cheaper wood decks are notoriously known to be slippery when wet. However, as opposed to other woods that require the use of slip resistant padding, ipe provides superior slip resistance. Indeed, many people who recently installed an ipe deck are surprised to find out that their deck surpasses even the most stringent safety standards. Ipe decks even surpass the Americans with Disabilities Act’s Static Coefficient of Friction requirement. Not only will having an ipe deck bring peace of mind when it comes to having children running around your pool, the fact that ipe lumber does not easily splinter adds another level of safety.
Purchasing ipe over other exotic hardwoods also encourages eco-friendly forestry practices. Most hardwood is imported into the U.S. from managed forests that have been endorsed by the Forest Stewardship Council. Unlike our competitors, Advantage Lumber believes that these eco-friendly cultivation practices are the only way to offer customers high-quality lumber without causing irreparable damage to the environment. Utilizing wood from managed forests is a big step in promoting forestry practices that lead to sustainable forests. When excessive deforestation and slash and burn tactics are reduced, we all win.
When considering return on investment, ipe is surprisingly affordable due to its durability and longevity. In addition, when you compare other woods that have shorter a lifespan due to rotting and warping, ipe also saves you money in replacement and maintenance costs. The fact of the matter is this, when you consider its lifespan and cost, ipe is a more cost-effective purchase than even teak.
As sound financial investments and home additions go, having both ipe outdoor furniture and an ipe deck or patio is an easy decision. Even hotels in Las Vegas and the boardwalk of the Brooklyn Bridge have chosen ipe as their exotic hardwood of choice. If you need any further proof, then consider the fact that contractors, architects, and designers across the world have been choosing ipe over teak and other exotic hardwoods.