Ipe Decking & Fire – What You Need to Know

One feature of ipe decking that I most often forget to mention is how ipe handles fire. This kind of information is important to know because many deck owners use tiki torches, grills, and firepits on their deck. While we all try to be careful, there is always the chance, however remote, that one of those things could tip over and spark a fire.

There have been many instances where a dog bumped into a charcoal grill and spilled over some briquettes, or a guest tips over a seemingly put out tiki torch and a fire gets started. In those situations, you must react quickly to properly put out the fire before it spreads to the rest of your deck.

If you have a deck made of ipe, or are considering building an ipe deck, you need to know that ipe has a fire spread rating that is the same as concrete! What does this mean? Unlike other hardwoods that spread fire rapidly, fire tends to remain isolated around its point of origin. In this way, the damage that the fire has made is contained in a much smaller region on your deck. Of course, calling the proper authorities and attempting to put out the fire right away is absolutely critical and recommended.

Interestingly enough, ipe wood has up to a Class A fire rating for flame spread. Here is a table that shows the ratings given to ipe decking from the National Fire Protection Agency (Note, there are other third party certification companies that show similar results. Results will vary based on the moisture content, origin, and species).

Test/ClassificationRating
(up to)
Ipe Decking Flame Spread (10) Minutes0
Ipe Decking Flame Spread (30) Minutes5
Ipe Decking Smoke Developed Values (10) minutes3
Ipe Decking Fuel Contribution (10) Minutes0
NFPA Class*A
UBC Class**1
* NFPA is the National Fire Protection, NFPA no. 1 Fire Safety Code
** UBC is the Uniform Building Code, 1979 Edition, Part VIII, Fire Resistive Standard for Fire Protection.

Hopefully, this information proves helpful when considering what kind of decking to choose. For more information on ipe decking, check out our ipe wood specifications page.

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4 thoughts on “Ipe Decking & Fire – What You Need to Know

  1. Jeffrey Feldman

    We want to use Ipe decking at the exposed section of 7′ overhangs of an elementary school. To avoid sprinklers at the underside of those overhangs the construction is supposed to be “incombustible’. Does the Ipe decking qualify for that purpose? We know it is Class A material but understand that such a designation is related to response to fire exposure. Also note , the outriggers supporting the overhang are steel tubes. On the topside there is plywood roof sheathing and Class A built up roofing.
    Thank you
    Jeffrey Feldman
    Powell & Partners Architects
    510-504-5463 cell

  2. G. Alves

    Hello Jeffrey,

    I have forwarded your question to one of our wood specialist who will be in contact with you soon regarding your inquiries.

    Thank you.
    -G. Alves

  3. Scott Falvey

    Is the Class A rating based on either ASTM E 108 or UL 760? or is it based on ASTM E85 or UL723? or some other protocol?

  4. peggy wickenkamp

    We have customer looking to have us make him cabinet doors out of IPE fire treated wood. I see nominal thickness is 4/4 (really 3/4) and 5/4(really 4/4). We would need 5/4 material to surface down to 15/16″ and further as it goes through our plant. Is the fire treatment effected by us removing thin layers? We end up with a 3/4″ panel when it gets all the way through our plant.

    could we purchase 100′

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