How to Build a Horizontal Ipe Fence

Ipe isn’t just for decking anymore. This versatile wood is perfect for a variety of outdoor projects because of its durability. Its strength and dimensional stability can make it a little harder to work with than other woods, but with a lifespan of 75 years, it’ll be worth it to put the little extra elbow grease into your project.

Today we’re going to show you how to build a fence out of Ipe. Not only will this give you added privacy, but it will look fantastic in your yard!

Picking the straightest boards will make the installation run smoothly.
Picking the straightest boards will make the installation run smoothly.

Step 1: pick out the straightest boards you can find from your shipment. This will make the fence building process easier.

End sealing protects the board from warping and cracking over time.

Step 2: End seal your boards. This is going to keep the wood from cracking, splitting and warping over time.

Be sure to get accurate measurements to ensure easy installation.
Be sure to get accurate measurements to ensure easy installation.

Step 3: Measure where the board will overlap on the post. Mark the center of the overlapping part. This is where the board will be attached to the post. Make note of this measurement.

Predrilling is important so you don’t crack the board.

Step 4: Use a 1/8” drill bit and 3/8” countersink bit to predrill a hole for the screw.

Construction adhesive will give the deck board extra holding power.

Step 5: Apply some construction adhesive on the post. Allow the adhesive to dry before attaching the deck boards.

Attach the first board to the post.

Step 6: Attach one end of the board to the post. Use a level and attach the board to the post.

Be sure to obtain accurate measurements before you cut a groove into the board.

Step 7: Next, take a biscuit joiner, set it to the correct depth for the clip that you’re using. Practice on some scraps first so you don’t risk ruining an entire board.

Insert the ipe clips into the groove.
Insert the Ipe clips into the groove.

Step 8: Place the Ipe clip into the groove.

Don't forget to predrill!
Don’t forget to predrill!

Step 9: Use the drill bit from the Ipe clip complete kit and predrill at a 45° angle. Attach the screws.

Be sure to get accurate measurements to ensure easy installation.
Be sure to get accurate measurements to ensure easy installation.

Step 10: Take your measurements from the first board and mark the next board.

Repeat steps 4-9 until your fence is complete.

Insert wood glue into the hole before placing the plug in it.
Insert wood glue into the hole before placing the plug in it.

Step 11: Insert wood glue into the hole and use a hammer to tap the plug to fit securely.

Cutting the ends of the plugs will yield a smoother surface

Step 12: Using a Flush Cut Saw, remove the extra piece of the plug so that it becomes flush with the board.

Sand down the plugs for a smooth surface.
Sand down the plugs for a smooth surface.

Step 13: Sand down the top of the plug with a 120 grit orbital sander for a smooth surface.

Here's the finished ipe fence.
Here’s the finished Ipe fence.

From here you have the option to oil the wood with Ipe Oil, or you can leave it untreated and allow it to weather to a natural gray.

***Pro Tip: Using an orbital sander leaves a smoother finish. Typical pad sanders will end up leaving scratches that become prominent as time

48 thoughts on “How to Build a Horizontal Ipe Fence”

  1. what about if I am not using clip, because I spaced 1 inch between horizontal board.Where I should locate the screw to attach the board.
    Just one screw in the middle or two screw closer to the top and bottom ?

  2. Hi Jorge,

    If you’re not using a screw, you will have to just face screw the board onto the post. Use two screws evenly spaced out.
    Thank you.

  3. What type of wood for the posts will have as long of a life as the ipe without using metal

  4. can we use post 9′ on center apart , and then use IPE 5/4″ x 6″ – 9 feet long , with aluminum backing every 3′ to keep the IPE wood straight and avoid buckling

  5. Planning on a horizontal cumaru fence build. It is going on top of an existing block wall about a meter high. Seperation between concrete columns/steel posts vary from 7 to 8 feet. Will add a steel post midway. Fence height will be about 4′. Question is can I use standard 1×6 or do I need to go with the 5/4 x 6? I.m located in a tropical climate. Thanks in advance.

  6. You should be fine to use 1×6.

    5/4×6 is better if you need to support a lot of weight (not an issue with a fence) or if you need it to resist warping. Warping is usually caused by poor ventilation, which again a fence shouldn’t have problems with.

  7. It would certainly last longer, but using ipe posts is a lot more expensive and will require a bit more work during the installation due to the higher density and need to predrill the posts as well as the boards.

  8. I’m getting ready to order 1×6 Cumaru for two horizontal fences and my steel posts are set anywhere from 4′ to 6′ apart. Do I need to shorten my spans or will 6′ centers work? Also, what screw do you sell for attaching 1x material to 2″ tube steel posts if you are countersinking the screws and plugging?

  9. Hi , I’m looking at doing horizontal Cumaru 1×6+ and doing 8′ spans for aesthetic purposes. Heard mixed things going with spans greater than 6′; any thoughts? Was probably going to use aluminum posts.

  10. Cumaru is a very sturdy wood. I wouldn’t foresee any problems with 8′ spans, although I certainly wouldn’t go longer than that.

  11. what would you recommend for the post material for a horizontal fence , Ipe for the posts or pressure treated , Plan was to set posts into concrete in either case. Any thoughts on the best materials for the posts?
    thank you

  12. You can use pressure treated posts but if you sink them in concrete you might want to consider taking some extra protection to keep them from rotting in the ground. You can also get concrete brackets to mount on top of the concrete and that secures your post so it’s not in the ground and will not rot below ground. If you have the budget you can certainly get the Ipe posts to match.

  13. I’m building a horizontal fence with IPE. The Lumber yard where I purchased the IPE wood, said not to use Clips because of the added weight. They recommended countersunk deck screws, top and bottom of each board. Have you seen the extra weight of the IPE clips cause problems? Thanks for your help!

  14. In one of your Pinterest posts you show a contemporary ipe fence with metal posts and top and bottom rails. Do you have a source for these posts rails?

  15. I’m looking to build an 8′ tall privacy fence using 7′ horizontal Ipe boards and Ipe posts in Florida.
    A few questions:
    1. Do you recommend using Ipe clips or just face screw the boards onto the posts?
    2. Do you recommend a gap between boards for air flow? This is a privacy fence so the smaller the better.
    3. Do you recommend 6′ horizontal boards vs 7′?
    4. Do you recommend using any vertical supports between each post?
    5. Do you recommend the boards be grooved?
    7. Would you recommend using Rustic (B-Grade) boards?
    8. Do you recommend the 3/4″ or .83″ thickness boards?
    9. Do you recommend the 3.5″ or 5.5″ wide boards?

    Thanks so much for your help!

  16. Hi we are building a 6′ horizontal privacy fence with ipe 1×6. And the Post are set 8′ on center from old fence do I need to put in more post in at the 4′ mark to help support my planks?

  17. I’m planning on using IPE posts for a horizontal fence, despite the cost. Do I need to treat the posts with anything?

  18. For horizontal fence made of cumaru, do you recommend using clips or face screw (Cracking concern over time) ?
    What type of wood Post is best for sinking into concrete ? In order please , Cumaru , pressure treated, Redwood, Cedar, Etc Thank you

  19. Clips are generally better, especially if you want to prevent cracking; however, cracking isn’t really a problem with cumaru, as long as you take the time to properly predrill all your screw holes.

    Sinking posts into concrete protects them from the worst of the elements at ground level. All the species you mentioned will work fine, but if I had to rank them, based purely on decay resistance: 1) cumaru, 2) redwood or cedar, 3) pressure treated.

  20. If I wanted to build a fence that is 6′ tall by 8′ horizontal wide using Ipe 5/4×2 with a 3/4 inch gap between each wood piece. Can I just use 2X2 stainless steel posts or 4X4 IPE posts without any bracing between each post? Also, which posts do you think is more foundationally sound or will either do?

  21. 8′ spacing between posts is the most I would use, but it would be safest to add extra bracing between the posts, every 4′. Either stainless steel or ipe posts will work.

  22. Hello,

    I’m looking to build in an IPE horizontal fence, 7ft high, with 1/8 space between planks

    1. What is recommended spacing b/w posts? 4 or 6 feet?
    2. The current plan is to use pre-treated posts and put them two feet into ground and pouring concrete below ground for support. Do I need to be worried about rotting below ground?
    3. If so, is IPE posts an alternative that eliminates the rotting? Same installation method?

  23. 1. Our recommended maximum post spacing is 8 feet, so either 4 or 6 will be fine. 4 feet will be more stable, but if you prefer the look of 6, go for it.

    2. Treated lumber buried directly in the ground will rot. The proper way to do it is to encase the post in a concrete footing so that it never comes in contact with the dirt.

    3. If you protect the posts as described above, it doesn’t matter if you use treated lumber or ipe. The installation method will be the same either way. Ipe of course will be more durable in the long run.

  24. Hi – We are building a 3 foot horizontal IPE fence (modern ranch split rail). We want to use all IPE wood, including 4×4 posts. One of the lumber yards told me it was fine to use IPE posts, but another said not to b/c of the moisture in the ground. We are confused as to who is correct. Can you please advise. We want to leave the wood untreated to get a grey color.

  25. It would be fine to use ipe posts. Any other wood you use would be more susceptible to ground moisture, not less. That said, for best results you should embed the underground part of the posts in some kind of footing for maximum protection.

  26. Thank you for the response. We aren’t planning on staining the fence until it turns a bit more grey; however, should we stain the part of the post that will be buried prior to putting it into a concrete footing? Will that give it any additional protection?

  27. It wouldn’t hurt! You could use DeckWise WiseCoat: This water-based formula utilizes proprietary nanotechnology to create a long-lasting breathable barrier against caustic conditions and harsh weather. By coating the hardwood fibers at the cellular level, WiseCoat® provides protection from the inside out preventing cracking and splitting of the wood.

    The unique formula absorbs deeply, inhibiting water intrusion by penetrating the hardwood surface. WiseCoat® helps prevent the damaging effects of mold and mildew, dry rot, peeling, cupping of wood. As a non-film forming premium wood waterproofing sealer, it allows hardwoods to age naturally without decay.

  28. Thank you so much for all this information. We have a southern facing house in Southern California and are doing a horizontal split ranch rail fence. We were going to have each section be 6 ft between the posts. There will be 5 1×6 rails in each section. Will they start to bow/bend at 6 ft between posts? Someone mentioned we may want to have less space between posts – what are your thoughts?

  29. We usually recommend a maximum of 8 feet between posts, so 6 feet should be alright. But it also depends on what type of wood you’re using. Denser, stronger woods like cumaru and ipe are less likely to bow than softer, lighter woods. Proper acclimation prior to installing will also help prevent any movement.

  30. Two questions. I am using 1×6+ Cumaru (purchased through you) for a horizontal fence. I am trying for both visual blocking and noise control so I would like to butt the boards together. If I glue and face screw (two per board) do you see any issue with this? (expansion/contraction or rot)

    From discussions above I am thinking 6 foot spacing on the posts should be adequate. Any suggestion there? – Thanks

  31. The boards will expand and contract, and if they aren’t allowed to do so, they will warp and split. There’s no getting around that, it’s just how wood behaves. That’s why we always recommend leaving gaps. For cumaru, we advise 1/4″ gaps.

    6 foot post spacing should be fine.

  32. Building a 6 foot fence using the Cumaru 1 x 6 plus. From what I’ve been told is that it might be too heavy to use? I’m thinking of doing 4×6 posts every 4 feet with a 2ft in ground depth. Would that be enough to hold and ensure it is strong enough to hold? Also, would building a gate with this material be possible. Same height of 6ft.

  33. It’s certainly possible. I would only mention that 1×6+ is thicker than you need for a fence; that extra thickness doesn’t help you here. I would use plain 1×6 just to save money.

  34. I’m building a horizontal IPE fence with a corner gate. I have worked with IPE before so I understand what I’m getting into. My question is that i am going to have a 3’10” wide 6’ tall gate attached to the corner post and I’m wondering if the weight of the horizontal IPE on the gate is going to cause the 4 x 4 post to sag (flex)? The corner post is going to be buried 3 feet into the ground with a concrete footing, but I just don’t know about the weight of the gate? Do you think of 4 x 4 post buried 3 feet in the ground for a 6 foot tall gate is sufficient or should I upgrade the post?

  35. Depending on how you are constructing the gate, most people use more Ipe so it’s all the same quality and beauty but this does add to the weight. It’s possible the 4×4 post could see some flex as a 4×4 is more likely to flex than a 6×6. If you are questioning it, it’s probably best to upgrade the post to 6×6 if you can.

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