Category Archives: Decking

Ipe Wood Suppliers – 11 Things You Should Know Before Ordering

The following tips we’ve had to compile and share with our readers and potential customers because we unfortunately receive phone calls from people saying I placed my order with “X” and this is what happened…

Think Twice Before Ordering From a Drop-shipper! Here’s Why:

A drop-shipper is someone who sets up a home office that does not have the money to invest in inventory. They launch a website, market it and take orders. The customers money pays for the inventory upfront that a 3rd party broker ships for the drop-shipper. The drop-shipper then gets to keep the remaining percentage after paying the broker. A drop-shipper never sees, stores or pays for any inventory.

1. Cheapest Price = Cheaper Grade Wood

Drop-shippers sometimes offer slightly lower prices per linear foot for Ipe wood to suck customers in and get their money.

As with anything you purchase in life, the cheapest is never the best. Don’t expect your Ipe wood order to be the one thing that defies this rule.

Drop-shippers do not move the volume so they often get lower quality materials while their broker pushes better grades to their top customers.

The most recent trick we have seen is to offer the cheapest price Ipe wood as their standard grade when in reality they are shipping you B grade or worse.

2. Deceiving Shipping Information

Some drop-shippers have published pages on their website deceiving buyers with the grand illusion they have hundreds of locations you can pickup your order.

Tricking potential customers by sugar coating the wording on your website is deceptive.

The truth is they have your order dropped off at the closest freight terminal for you to pick up. This is the cheapest option they can offer since they don’t ship enough volume.

With Freight shipments the more volume a shipper moves the more of a discount they receive. Therefor they can not offer you an 87% discount on freight or free shipping on some orders like we do.

Shipping direct to your job site or home would cost more for a drop shipper as its one more trip the freight company has to make. Shipping direct also creates more headaches scheduling deliveries and tracking orders for drop-shippers so they avoid this.

This leaves you trying to pickup an order that weighs thousands of pounds and upwards of 20ft long from a freight terminal with loading docks made for semi-trucks.

If time, additional labor and equipment needed to pickup your order are not important to you this may not be an issue for you. Figure out how much it will cost you to pickup your order if you plan on going this route.

We ship all orders direct to your home or job site.

Additionally we have seen drop shippers offer shipping insurance as an “up sell” to ensure you receive your order.

Trying to pass fees like this off to your customers is very shady. All of our orders are insured. When a customer gives you money for goods a business is obligated to deliver what the customer paid for.

3. Packaging Up Charges

We’ve seen some suppliers try to pass packaging charges on to their customers for upgraded better packaging to help ensure the order gets to them undamaged.

We custom build shipping skids that run the entire length of your decking order, we double steel band the wood to the custom made skid and wrap the entire skid in cardboard and shrink wrap the entire package at no additional cost to our customers.

4. Verify Your Suppliers Locations

Google search your suppliers business address. Middle men drop shippers are often operating out of small rented offices. Use Google maps and street view for this. It’s easy to spot someone operating from a shared office with other businesses and no warehouse.

Some even operate from a postal mail box with a suite number to make it look like they have an office when they are really running out of their home.

Why is this a bad thing? We’ve been in business for nearly 30 years in that time frame we have seen many of these internet drop-shippers close up shop leaving some customers shafted in the process.

It’s very easy to close up a rented mailbox or small office lease when you run into financial trouble, lawsuits and etc…

Make sure your supplier is transparent and allows you to visit their factory and inspect the wood. Drop-shippers pretend they have warehouses full of inventory when they don’t.

We’ve even seen videos and pictures they take from their broker and publish them to their website pretending it’s their warehouse.

Please visit our contact page on our site. We are very transparent about our warehouses and welcome customers to stop in during business hours.

5. Place a Small Test Order

Place a small test order first. We routinely sell people a couple boards to build a bench or an Adirondack chair first.

Many people have never used a wood like Ipe before so this allows them to get familiar with the wood.

It is also a great way to test out a supplier, you can buy ipe wood online directly from us. Order one board if you prefer or a whole truck load.

6. Minimum Orders

If an Ipe supplier has a minimum order quantity this is usually a strong indicator they are drop-shipping. Their broker that fulfills their orders does not want the headaches of packaging and shipping a $2,000 order.

Now imagine getting a few replacement boards that you need if you are short. Often customers change their plan in the middle of your job or you will end up with more cuts and waste then planned for.

Additionally if you’ve ever shipped thousands of pounds of lumber through LTL freight you’ll know sometimes a few boards will get damaged. We go through extensive efforts into packaging an order but occasionally damage still happens.

Having 4 stocking warehouses in the US and 2 in Brazil allows us to get your replacement boards out the same day.

A drop-shipper is left trying to beg his broker to send out a few boards if they still have them. This is usually an issue since they have minimums.

We’ve heard of some sellers just trying to give partial refunds for the damaged boards. This still does not get the customer the new replacement wood they need to complete their job.

7. Inventory

Drop-shipping Ipe suppliers don’t have inventory, they don’t know what they can supply you with so they take your money to lock in your order.

After they have your order they frantically call brokers trying to fulfill your order. However most drop-shippers don’t have access to real time inventory from their brokers.

The broker is constantly selling off their stock so the inventory list the drop-shipper had in the beginning of the week quickly becomes outdated.

These inventory issues have caused major setbacks for homeowners and especially large commercial projects.

As a result it can be common for these brokers to sneak in B grade boards or boards with defects to try and fulfill an order.

8. Security

We have seen some drop-shippers publicly admit to using their personal home computers that contain their personal information and personal pictures to run their drop-shipping operation.

Data breaches occur with some of the largest brands online. Using your personal computer that your children and family are using to run your business with your customers sensitive information should never occur.

Unfortunately some drop-shippers lack the business resources to ensure your data is properly secure.

9. Sustainability

We have 4 warehouses in the US and two in Brazil – We own the mills and sell direct to ensure the highest quality and that all legal paperwork is documented properly to meet Lacey act standards as well as IBAMA standards in Brazil.

Each one of our factories is FSC certified by the Rainforest Alliance. This is a lengthy and expensive process.

These certifications further ensure you are buying legal and sustainable wood. Verify your Ipe suppliers chain of custody certificate directly on FSC’s website here: https://us.fsc.org/en-us/market/find-products/fsc-certificate-database

Only legitimate companies will have this opposed to using counterfeit documents.

10. Verify Online Reviews

Search “Company Name reviews” on Google and Facebook. A lack of reviews or very low number indicates a very low trust score.

Some drop-shippers get a few friends or family members to post a few positive reviews about their business.

The margins for a drop-shipper are lower and can be as little as 10% so if something goes wrong with an order they often can not afford to fix the problem.

We have always gone above and beyond to make our customers happy even if it means that we lose money on that order. Our reviews speak for themselves.

11. Experience

Many drop-shippers don’t have experience in the wood industry or with wood products. If you are somewhat new to working with a wood like Ipe you will have some questions.

It’s best to get answers from someone that’s a veteran in the wood industry opposed to someone who has… been outsourcing B2B web-development to India.

We have unfortunately seen some sellers advise their customers very wrong for certain applications. Hardwoods like Ipe are some of the most dense and durable woods.

When they are used properly most applications will outlive the customers that purchased them.

Conclusion

The practice of drop-shipping is not bad, we routinely supply some of the largest building material box stores in the world.

We have done business with the largest box stores for years because they know and trust our company as the most reputable Ipe supplier. They know the quality of the products we deliver and rely on our company to meet their customers expectations.

Many customer insist on using big box store because of the volume of other building materials they purchase and have established line of credits with these stores. We understand this and have happily been apart of their supply chain for years.

You should be very cautious of some online sellers deceptive advertising and marketing practices.

The “fake it until you make it” approach that some drop-shippers use has cost contractors and homeowners major set backs and more money in the long run with their projects.

Best Decking for 2021

Tigerwood Decking
Tigerwood Decking

In 2021 as homeowners are still reluctant to travel many are in search of the best decking to build their own backyard oasis.

Most homeowners are familiar with the usual decking materials such as pressure treated pine decking, cedar and composite products.

The demand for some of these products has increased greatly due to many homeowners still stuck at home wanting to expand their outdoor living space.

Some of these decking options like pressure treated pine, cedar or redwood decking are softwoods.

Softwoods can look beautiful and last many years but they do typically require annual maintenance to prevent premature rot and decay.

Many homeowners don’t like the thought of maintenance and believe that composite products are “No Maintenance”.

The reality is some of these composite manufacturers years ago advertised their products as “No Maintenance”, homeowners painfully realized this was far from true.

Many homeowners quickly experienced their “No Maintenance” decks would grow mold so fast that many had to power wash their decks almost weekly.

We’ve yet to find a composite product that homeowners haven’t experienced issues with so as of now we don’t recommend or sell any.

If this is an option you want to pursue we strongly suggest doing some google searches for the “brand + complaints and problems” to see what homeowners have experienced.

Top Decking Options for 2021

Our top decking that we usually recommend is Ipe wood but that is the most expensive due to its proven durability, beauty, longevity and demand.

Ipe wood is a South American hardwood known to last up to 75 years on commercial applications like the Coney Island boardwalk with no chemical treatments.

Our overall top pick for decking in 2021 when durability and price are a concern is Tigerwood decking.

Imported from South America Tigerwood is another exceptionally beautiful hardwood deck option that is known to last 30+ years.

Is Ipe Wood Decking Good for Utility Trailers

Most utility trailers with a wood deck come with pressure treated pine because its the cheapest option

Trailer deck with pressure treated pine decking showing signs of rot

The problem with pressure treated pine on a trailer deck is after several years the deck will show signs of wear and tear as well as rot and decay.

You can maintain the topside of the trailer deck but most people can not get access underneath the trailer deck.

This leaves the underside of the deck untreated which leads to faster rot and decay since it will not see sunlight and it stays wet longer.

Best Wood for Trailer Decking

The best wood for exterior use including trailers is Ipe wood hand down.

Ipe wood has proven to last up to 75 years on many commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk.

It’s one of the densest and hardest woods available. In fact it’s over 3 times harder than teak.

Ipe Wood Deck Boards

Ipe wood is a premium though and used very often for beautiful decks, boat docks and other outdoor projects where you want a beautiful wood that’ll last a very long time.

You are going to pay more for Ipe wood though so if cost is a factor we would recommend Apitong trailer decking.

Apitong will give you a significant cost savings opposed to using Ipe wood and has very similar durability against rot as well as the wear and tear.

Apitong Trailer Decking Installed on a Flatbed Trailer

Our Apitong is actually Brazilian Apitong which comes from Brazil and it’s almost 3 times harder than traditional Apitong that comes from Southeast Asia.

Our Apitong trailer decking will hold up to many years of wear and tear without worrying about rot and decay like traditional wood used on trailer decks.

Visit our trailer decking webpage to get our current Apitong trailer decking price.

Check out some of our other popular blog posts:

Top 5 Best Decking Materials

Best Wood for a Horizontal Fence

Best Wood for Boat Docks

How to Seal Ipe Wood

Ipe wood does not need to be sealed like traditional softwoods such as redwood, pine and cedar.

These softwoods have an open grain structure that allows water to penetrate deep into the wood cells like a sponge.

As a result softwoods need a waterproofing sealer that forms a top coat to keep water from penetrating the wood.

If softwoods are left unsealed for prolonged time periods they can deteriorate and rot much faster.

Homeowner sanding deck stain and sealer off an old cedar deck

These top coats will flake and peel off after only a year or two. Then ideally you would sand the entire deck and apply another sealer on top of the deck.

This is a lot of maintenance and what most people think of when it comes to sealing a wood deck.

What Maintenance Does Ipe Wood Require?

Unlike softwood decking Ipe wood does not require a waterproofing sealer to keep the wood from rotting.

Ipe is over 3 times harder than Teak and if you leave Ipe untreated it will turn a beautiful silver grey.

Grey Ipe Wood Deck
Grey Ipe wood deck

When Ipe turns grey it still shows the beautiful wood grain and maintains all of its durability and will still last up to 75 years or more.

Ipe is so dense and contains a natural oil that if you tried to seal it like you do a traditional wood deck it would peel right off.

Maintaining The Color of Ipe Wood

Ipe Oil
Ipe Oil applied to Ipe wood decking

The sun will bleach the color out of most materials and wood is no exception. UV rays are what causes wood to turn grey outdoors.

To stop Ipe wood from turning grey we recommend applying a special oil that’s specifically formulated for hardwoods like Ipe wood.

This is what most people mistake when they think I have to seal my Ipe wood.

The oil keeps the sun from bleaching the rich brown color from the Ipe wood. It’s basically like sunscreen for your Ipe.

Ipe Oil will not flake or peel off like a sealer on a traditional wood deck so it’s much lower maintenance.

Ipe Wood Maintenance Instructions

Maintaining your Ipe wood is typically very simple and these steps will help you keep your Ipe wood looking good for many years.

Step 1 – Wash your Ipe wood deck

You want to make sure our deck surface is free from dirt, debris, pollen and etc… before applying the oil on your Ipe wood.

Follow all the instructions on the can of Ipe Oil. You want to make sure you have adequate weather with the right temperatures and no rain in the forecast.

If needed you can pressure wash your deck with a wide angle fan tip nozzle. Do not use a concentrated fine tip as those can even damage concrete.

Step 2 – Apply the Ipe Oil

After allowing your deck to thoroughly dry you can apply the Ipe oil using a brush or roller. Make sure to follow all the instructions on the can of Ipe Oil.

This process goes pretty fast since the oil spreads very easy and saturates the Ipe wood evenly.

This is not like water sealing cedar or pressure treated where you need to brush it back and forth to work the sealer into the grain to make sure everything has a top coat.

Ipe Oil has a viscosity very similar to water and Ipe wood is so dense the roller will easily coat the boards.

Step 3 – Wipe up any excess Ipe Oil

Ipe wood is so dense it will only soak up so much of the Ipe Oil. You need to go back with a clean rag after 10 minutes and wipe up any excess or wet looking spots.

This will keep your Ipe deck from getting tacky. After that you can dispose of the rags properly (follow the instructions on the can) oil based rags balled up often can start on fire.

Best Wood For Outdoor Benches

If you are looking to build a new outdoor wooden bench or resurface and old outdoor bench read on as we’ll cover the best woods you can use for your bench.

Outdoor benches are most commonly made with pressure treated pine or cedar. The problem with these species is they are soft woods that generally require annual maintenance and application of a water sealer.

Softwoods like pressure treated pine and cedar have a open and somewhat porous grain structure which can tend to absorb water almost like a sponge.

While these woods do have some resistance to rot and decay and can last many years if properly maintained.

Many people find the maintenance to be too much work, so their outdoor bench gets neglected as shown in the picture below.

Old Pressure Treated Pine Bench with Peeling Stain

Stripping the old stain off an old bench like this one can be a lot of work getting in between all the bench slats. These benches often get neglected and have paint or stain peeling off the majority of the bench.

Once this occurs the wood is left unprotected and when it rains the wood usually stays saturated for an extended time period making them often undesirable to sit on.

In addition these softwoods can give off splinters and eventually get attacked by wood boring insects which can also make them not pleasant to sit on.

Is Composite Plastic Lumber Good for Outdoor Benches?

In our years of experience selling exterior lumber for decks and other exterior projects we’ve seen too many complaints from homeowners to make us comfortable selling any plastic lumber for now.

Every week we get complaints from homeowners who installed a composite plastic deck a few years ago that need to replace their entire deck because it’s failing and the manufacturer won’t honor their warranty.

Crumbling Composite Decking

If you want to read more about all the issues homeowners have faced with these products just Google search “composite decking problems”, “composite decking complaints” or “brand name decking reviews”.

You’ll be able to read about plenty of issues homeowners have struggled with so as a result of all this feedback we generally stay away and don’t recommend these products.

The 5 Best Woods for Outdoor Benches

Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is an all natural hardwood that is more than three times harder than teak. It has shown to last up to 75 years or more on many commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk and the Brooklyn bridge.

Ipe Wood Bench

This hardwood is one of the strongest woods in the world and naturally resists wood boring insects. Ipe wood does not splinter and will not get incredibly hot like plastic lumber.

In addition it’s also naturally slip resistant, has a Class A rating for flame spread, is scratch resistant and naturally mold and fungi resistant. It’s also so dense that it does not absorb water.

All of these excellent natural properties make Ipe wood our number one recommendation for not only decks but many outdoor projects such as outdoor wood benches.

You can view our current Ipe prices here: Ipe Wood Prices

Cumaru Wood

Similar to Ipe Cumaru wood is nearly identical in terms of properties and durability. The main difference is the color color ranges from a golden tan to a reddish brown.

Cumaru Deck

You can still expect all the same excellent properties as Ipe.

This excellent wood is also low maintenance, resistant to wood boring insects and naturally resistant to rot and decay without chemicals.

One other benefit to using Cumaru is the price can be upwards of 40 percent cheaper compared to the price of Ipe wood. You can view the current Cumaru wood prices here: Cumaru Wood Prices

Tigerwood Exterior Lumber

This beautiful wood also comes from South America and is incredibly durable and beautiful. You can expect a 30+ year lifespan with Tigerwood.

Similar to the other woods we listed above Tigerwood is also resistant to wood boring insects, mold and mildew and does not splinter. This is another excellent low maintenance exterior wood material that works great for benches, decks, fences, siding and more.

Tigerwood Decking

Garapa Wood

Also known as Brazilian Ash this incredible exterior hardwood is one of the finest quality hardwoods that features a fine-grain that is light yellow to a warm golden hue.

Garapa is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attack and offers a 30+ year lifespan. Garapa’s proven exterior durability make it an excellent choice for outdoor benches, decks and more.

Garapa Deck

You can find more info and pricing here: Garapa wood prices

Massaranduba Wood

Also known as Brazilian Redwood Massaranduba is much more durable than California Redwood, has a longer lifespan and requires much less maintenance.

In fact Massaranduba is over 7x harder than California Redwood. With a janka hardness of 3,190 compared to California Redwood which has a janka hardness of 420.

California Redwood is a softwood and requires annual maintenance of applying a water sealer to keep water out of the grain of the wood to prolong its life and prevent rot and decay.

Just like the first four species of exterior hardwoods that we recommended, Massaranduba naturally resists rot, decay and wood boring insects.

In addition Massaranduba is also a very low maintenance exterior hardwood and offers a 30+ year lifespan. This makes it great for many projects such as exterior wood benches, decks, siding and more.

Checkout these beautiful outdoor wood benches that were built with our beautiful South American hardwoods.

Top 5 Best Decking Materials

If you are looking to build a new deck on your house, there are 5 different decking material options you need to consider.

These top five decking options are all natural hardwoods from South America that are more durable than Teak and much more affordable as well.

Our number one recommended decking material is:

Ipe Wood Decking

Ipe Wood Deck
Ipe Wood Deck

Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is an all natural hardwood that is more than three times harder than teak. It has shown to last up to 75 years or more on many commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk and the Brooklyn bridge.

This hardwood is one of the strongest woods in the world and naturally resists wood boring insects. It also does not splinter and will not get incredibly hot on your feet like plastic decking.

In addition it’s also naturally slip resistant, has a Class A rating for flame spread, is scratch resistant and naturally mold and fungi resistant. As you can see from the picture above Ipe wood is incredibly beautiful as well.

Ipe wood is our number one recommended decking material. It’s competitively priced against most composite decking materials if not cheaper. Ipe Wood Prices

Watch this short video to learn more about our Ipe wood decking:

Our second recommended decking material is:

Cumaru Wood Decking

Cumaru Deck

Similar to Ipe Cumaru decking is nearly identical in terms of properties and durability. The main difference is the color color ranges from a golden tan to a reddish brown.

You can still expect all the same excellent properties as Ipe.

This excellent decking is also low maintenance, resistant to wood boring insects and naturally resistant to rot and decay without chemicals.

One other benefit to using Cumaru is the price can be upwards of 40 percent cheaper compared to the price of Ipe wood. You can view the current Cumaru wood prices here: Cumaru Decking Prices

Watch this short video to learn about our Cumaru wood decking:

Our third recommended decking material is:

Tigerwood decking

Tigerwood Deck

This beautiful wood also comes from South America and is incredibly durable and beautiful. You can expect a 30+ year lifespan with Tigerwood.

Similar to the other woods we listed above Tigerwood is also resistant to wood boring insects, mold and mildew and does not splinter. This is another excellent low maintenance deck material.

Watch this video to learn more about our Tigerwood decking:

Tigerwood Decking California

Tigerwood Decking Prices

The fourth decking material we recommend is:

Garapa Decking

Garapa is harder than teak and is made for the outdoors.

Also known as Brazilian Ash this incredible hardwood decking material is one of the finest quality hardwoods available that features a fine-grain that is light yellow to a warm golden hue.

Garapa is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attack and offers a 30+ year lifespan.

Watch this video on Garapa decking:

You can find more info and pricing here: Garapa decking prices

Last but not least our fifth decking we recommend to our customers is:

Massaranduba decking

Also known as Brazilian Redwood Massaranduba is much more durable than California Redwood, has a longer lifespan and requires much less maintenance.

In fact Massaranduba is over 7x harder than California Redwood. With a janka hardness of 3,190 compared to California Redwood which has a janka hardness of 420.

California Redwood is a softwood and requires annual maintenance of applying a water sealer to keep water out of the grain of the wood to prolong its life and prevent rot and decay.

Just like the first four species of hardwood decking that we recommended, Massaranduba naturally resists rot, decay and wood boring insects.

In addition Massaranduba is also a very low maintenance deck material and offers a 30+ year lifespan.

Watch this short video on Massaranduba decking:

Current Massaranduba decking prices

Deck Framing with Joist Tape

How to Make Your Framing Last as Long as Your Ipe Decking

Ipe decking can last up to 75 years with hardly any maintenance. That’s great! But customers often wonder: what about the framing?

Deck framing is usually made of pressure treated pine. It’s cheap, easy to install, and readily available. But pressure treated pine is only rated to last about 15 years. So why would you spend all that money on 75-year ipe if you’re going to have to replace the deck in just 15 years anyway due to rotten framing?

It’s a great question! Here are a few way to make your framing last as long as your ipe decking:

Build the Frame with Ipe

The most obvious fix is to build your frame from the same material as your decking. This will certainly work, but it will be very expensive. And because ipe is so tough, it will be a lot harder to build the frame and secure the deck boards to it. For these reasons, we don’t typically recommend going this route.

Build the Frame with Metal

Metal deck framing comes with many of the same advantages and drawback as ipe framing: it’s expensive and difficult to work with. Additionally, metal products tend to react with ipe and stain the decking. Because of this, you’ll have to use joist and ledger tape as a protective barrier between the framing and the deck boards.

Metal framing can be a great solution if you don’t mind the extra cost and effort, but we don’t usually recommend it. However, now that we’ve brought up joist and ledger tape…

Build the Frame with Pressure Treated Lumber and Protect It with Joist and Ledger Tape

Ledger Tape and Joist Tape

The third option—and the one we recommend—is to use pressure treated pine, then cover your joists, posts, and ledgers with a protective, waterproof tape.

Most wood deterioration is caused by exposure to the elements, especially moisture. The areas of your frame that are most susceptible to rot are places where the wood touches up against something else, creating tight spaces that trap water. Common culprits are the bases of posts in contact with the ground and the tops of joists in contact with the decking.

Joist tape creates a protective barrier between the decking and the joists and keeps the wood dry. Ledger tape does the same thing, but it’s wider so it can cover a broader area. Ledger tape is good for protecting ledgers, beams, and posts.

You should apply joist and ledger tape to all your horizontal framing surfaces. The tape should be wide enough to fold over the sides for maximum protection. You may have to cut the tape in order to wrap corners without creating wrinkles, which can allow water to seep in.

Using joist and ledger tape on your deck framing will drastically improve the lifespan of your deck without costing you tons of money or effort.