Ipe is an incredible wood, especially for decking. One of
the benefits we often mention is the low maintenance requirement. Once it’s installed,
you barely have to touch an ipe deck! Virtually the only thing you have to do
is oil it every year or so to preserve that rich brown color.
Of course, people looking for low-maintenance decking often want to know just how little work they can get away with. And who can blame them? Nobody builds a deck because they want to oil it every year! So what exactly will happen to your brand-new ipe deck if you decide to never oil it?
Un-Oiled Ipe Turns Gray
One of the first questions asked is what the decking will look like in a couple of years. It can actually be a little difficult to find pictures of weathered ipe; everyone just wants to show off that freshly oiled color! Well, you can put your curiosity to rest. Click on any of the photos below to see a bigger version:
Is Gray Ipe Weaker?
Another common question is whether the oil increases the ipe’s lifespan. Put another way, does letting ipe turn gray make it weaker?
You can relax. If you skip the maintenance, your ipe deck will still last up to 75 years. Regular oil treatments can increase that lifespan, but most people are pretty satisfied with three quarters of a century.
It’s also true that oiling can help make the wood resist cupping, especially in the case of ground-level decks, but as long as your deck was properly designed and built, this shouldn’t be a problem.
For proof, you need only look at the many large-scale, public projects that have used ipe decking. For instance, the Coney Island boardwalk used ipe for 90 years, and it was never oiled. Even after nearly a century of continual, heavy use, the wood was still strong enough when they replaced it that it was repurposed for use in high-end designer furniture!
If you don’t oil your ipe deck, it will turn gray, but that’s not a bad thing! A weathered ipe deck will still give you decades of low-maintenance backyard fun!
Building an outdoor kitchen is a major investment. You want to make sure you are using materials that are going to hold up to the outdoor environment as well as the abuse of kitchen wear and tear.
You are probably looking at spending thousands of dollars on top of the line stainless steel appliances for your outdoor kitchen.
The last thing you would want is to spend a lot of time and money on an outdoor kitchen and have your grill in your outdoor kitchen rust out after 5 years and force you to redo your outdoor kitchen.
Many homeowners want their appliances to sit in cabinets or an outdoor bar built out of a beautiful long lasting wood.
Woods You Should Not Use for an Outdoor Kitchen
We suggest staying away from softwoods such as pressure treated pine, cedar and redwood.
These softwoods are all susceptible to rot, wood boring insects and are can catch fire quickly. In addition they require yearly maintenance with waterproofing sealers that will peel off.
This will leave you scraping and sanding all the wood and then reapplying the sealer each year. Waterproofing sealers help keep water from penetrating the grain of softwoods which would lead to faster rot and decay.
Additionally your outdoor kitchen will more than likely be placed on a concrete slab foundation. Depending on the design of your outdoor kitchen your cabinets or bar will be sitting on top of the concrete.
Concrete wicks moisture so softwoods sitting on top of concrete will rot faster at the base.
These are just a few reasons why we don’t recommend these softwoods for an outdoor kitchen.
Best Woods for Outdoor Kitchens
There are a few species of wood that we’ve found to be proven to perform incredibly well in outdoor environments such as outdoor kitchens.
These species are Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa and Massaranduba. They all come from South America and have proven to last up to 75 years or more with very low maintenance.
Above you’ll see a picture of an outdoor kitchen built with Ipe wood deck boards. The deck is also built with Ipe wood decking.
Ipe wood decking is one of the most durable, long lasting decking woods available. It is more durable than teak and is more cost effective as well.
It is also naturally resistant to mold, mildew, rot and decay, wood boring insects can not chew through the wood, It has a Class A rating against flame spread, does not splinter like softwoods and it has proven to last 75+ year on commercial boardwalks like Coney Island boardwalk in New York.
Here’s another outdoor kitchen built with Ipe Wood:
The second most durable wood we recommend for outdoor kitchens is Cumaru which is also known as Brazilian Teak.
Cumaru is almost identical to Ipe it’s just got a little more color variation which ranges from golden brown to a reddish brown. Ipe is more consistent in color which is a chocolate brown.
Many people are drawn to Cumaru because it’s typically 30% cheaper and also a very beautiful and durable wood. It has all the similar properties like Class A rating against flame spread which makes it an excellent wood for outdoor kitchens.
While we don’t have pictures of an outdoor kitchen built with Cumaru wood most of the jobs we supply are used to build decks.
Just like Ipe wood is most commonly used to build decks both of these woods are great for a wide array of outdoor projects.
Here’s a picture of a deck built with Cumaru:
Tigerwood Outdoor Kitchen
This is our 3rd most popular option for an exterior hardwood that is great for outdoor kitchens.
Tigerwood is not quite as dense as Ipe or Cumaru but it’s still a very dense and durable hardwood that’s great for outdoor use. In fact Tigerwood is more than double the Janka hardness compared to Teak.
These 3 wood species are the best woods that we recommend for outdoor kitchens.
When building an outdoor kitchen with wood you can often use short length boards depending on your design of course.
A quality American made above ground pool can last 10 – 20 years if not more depending on the conditions.
You want to make sure your deck will last just as long without all the common issues associated with some decking options.
In this article we’ll discuss all your decking options for your above ground pools and highlight the pros and cons of each.
The first most affordable and most common decking option is:
Pressure Treated Pine Decking
Most above ground pool decks are built using pressure treated pine because it’s readily available at almost every building material supplier near you and its the most affordable option.
This is a real wood option that requires consistent maintenance to ensure the longest lifespan possible.
Pine is a softwood that is susceptible to rot, decay, mold, mildew and insect attack. In addition pressure treated pine also typically experiences repeated cycles of thermal expansion and contraction (especially if you live in the north and get harsh winters).
Softwoods require the use of deck stains and water sealers that help keep the water out of the wood grain which accelerates rot, decay and insect attack.
Treated pine commonly gives off splinters and slivers in your feet since most of the time you’ll be using your above ground pool deck with bare feet. So be prepared for annoyed guests and crying kids.
The average life expectancy for a pressure treated pine pool deck is 15 – 20 years. Many will see something more like 10 – 15 years. It really depends on how good you kept up with the maintenance each year.
Pools decks obviously are constantly getting saturated with pool water especially if you have little kids who like keep getting out and jumping in the pool doing cannonballs.
The next real wood option is:
Cedar Wood Decking
This is another softwood option however cedar does offer some natural resistance to rot and decay but will eventually rot and decay as time goes on.
In the picture above you can see this homeowner is replacing on of the deck boards and the others have splinters and checking that can cause splinters and slivers in your feet.
Cedar also requires a waterproofing sealer to help ensure a longer lifespan especially around pool decks with the constant exposure to water.
If maintained yearly you could expect a life expectancy of 20 – 25 years. Again this all depends on the wear and tear the deck sees as well as the annual maintenance.
The third option that most home owners think will be the best is:
Many homeowners think that composite decking will be “maintenance free”. In the early years when composite decking was first made, many manufacturers spent millions of dollars on advertising bragging that their products were “maintenance free”.
Unfortunately many people found out the hard way there really is no such thing as maintenance free. As a result there was several class action lawsuits for false advertising and other issues.
Composite decking has many issues including severe fading as shown in first picture as well as deteriorating and crumbling as shown in the second picture.
Many homeowners also complain about composites being extremely hot to walk on in your bare feet which is not good around pools. Another common problem is that it can be very slippery when wet which would not be good around a pool.
Homeowners should do a Google search for “composite decking complaints” and “composite decking problems”. We get calls from homeowners each week that need to replace their composite decking after only a year or two of having their deck installed.
We have yet to find a composite decking product that will meet or exceed our customers expectations so we do not sell any composite or plastic decking materials for now.
Last but not least your other option is:
When we say hardwood we are talking about some of the hardest most durable woods on earth. In fact they are harder and more durable than Teak and cheaper too.
The decking species we recommend for above ground pool decks are:
These South American hardwoods are sustainably harvested and have proven to last up to 75 years with very low maintenance.
They are also naturally resistant to rot, decay, mold, mildew, splinter, class A rating against flame spread, resistant to wood boring insects, naturally slip resistant and not hot to walk on bare foot.
All of these qualities make them excellent around pools!
The only maintenance that’s required is cleaning the dirt and debris off the surface which is required by all decking manufacturers (especially composites).
Pollen, dirt, leaves, rain and other debris will land on all decks so a light power washing is a good idea when needed.
The only other maintenance that many homeowners choose to do is oiling the wood usually once a year. UV rays from the sun will bleach the color out of the wood and turn it grey.
Some homeowners like they grey look so they don’t have to do anything other than an occasional cleaning.
Oiling the wood will keep the beautiful color of the woods and enhance the beautiful grain. Once you see the beauty of these woods most homeowners want to maintain that look.
Do not be confused oiling hardwoods is incredibly easy and it’s not a top coat like water sealers for soft woods that will eventually peel off and leave you with a lot of maintenance.
The oil you simply roll on with a paint roller after that you wipe up any that did not soak into the wood. These woods are so dense they will only absorb so much oil. It will eventually fade away (usually spring time the following year). Then you just apply more oil.
If you are searching for the cost of Ipe decking you have come to the right place. For nearly 30 years we have been transparent about publishing all prices and all costs associated with ordering Ipe decking directly on our website.
Looking for the Cheapest Price on Ipe Decking – Read This First!
Ipe decking is one of the most well known decking materials. It’s one of the only proven decking materials to last up to 75 years in some of the harshest commercial applications such as The Coney Island Boardwalk.
As a result of its durability and beauty, Ipe wood prices have steadily increased over many years due to the increase in demand as well as many other factors such as fuel costs, increased government regulations to ensure sustainable logging as well as increased importing costs to get the Ipe wood into the USA.
As the leading importer of Ipe decking we are the only American company that owns our own lumber mills in Brazil.
We opened our own mills in Brazil for many reasons including being able to ensure the highest quality Ipe decking is being shipped to our customers.
We are also able to ensure all logging is being done legally and sustainably as our staff in Brazil are working everyday to ensure all aspects are legal and sustainable.
Being the largest importer also allows us to offer the best pricing on quality Ipe decking. We have seen others offer Ipe for a cheaper price to entice a customer on buying “cheaper Ipe”. Be warned that not all Ipe decking is equal.
Some will offer cheaper prices on the decking while everything else is more money. We are also one of the only Ipe decking sellers that consistently offers free shipping on many items.
We also do not have any minimum purchase quantities on Ipe wood. Some sellers impose expensive minimums so they can focus on making more profit and not be bothered with a smaller order.
We are glad to package and ship $100 worth of Ipe so you can build planter boxes or an Adirondack chair.
Yes it costs us more money to package these smaller orders but we are happy to do it so we can prove and show our commitment to customer care and satisfaction no matter how much you spend.
We have even seen some sellers that are drop shipping Ipe selling other cheaper species as Ipe and charging a premium for it. They have no control over what they are selling since they are a middle man with a website and don’t own any inventory.
These sellers simply have other brokers ship you what they have left over and could not sell to their own customers.
The people that fall for that found they got what they pay for… “Cheaper Ipe Decking” or sometimes not Ipe at all but some other cheaper specie.
We welcome all of our customers to stop into one of our 4 US factories to view what you are going to purchase ahead of time. We also welcome wholesale buyers looking to purchase large quantities to tour one of our Brazil mills.
Make sure you are going to buy from someone that is very transparent and willing to show you their operation and what you are purchasing.
Ipe Decking Grading Standards
For nearly 30 years our customers have come to rely on the quality of Ipe decking that we have consistently delivered.
We pioneered the grading standards of Ipe and are the only ones to offer (SMR®) Select Mill Run® Ipe decking.
SMR® Grading is Ipe decking that we sort because it does not meet our standards for our premium Ipe but it is not B grade either. So we created SMR® which is a grade between the premium and B Grade.
We offer this grade as a cost savings for those customers that don’t mind a little more character but want to save some money on their Ipe decking purchase.
Below is a picture of our SMR® Ipe deck tiles. They are very beautiful and just as durable as our premium Ipe wood decking.
If the cost of Ipe decking has really got you sweating we took it one step further. We also offer B Grade Ipe decking which offers you a significant cost savings on your Ipe.
Our B grade Ipe exceeds most of our customers expectations since our grading standards are the highest in the industry.
Watch this short video below to see what a customer built with our B grade Ipe and see what he has to say.
Ipe Wood Discounts
Having 4 factories in the US and 2 in Brazil gives us a large quantity of Ipe wood that we offer at huge discounts.
We have a lot of short length materials and odd lots of Ipe wood that are perfect for many projects but do not meet our most common requested sizes.
Resorts such as The Ritz Carlton often call us looking for the best wood for their exterior living spaces.
For resorts like this our first recommendation is Ipe wood decking and that what they decided to use.
The resort did have pressure treated pine and found that was not holding up in the harsh Florida sun. The grain on the pine would raise and people could trip or get slivers and it was becoming unsightly.
The Ipe wood they ordered from us compliments the beautiful Oceanfront views and will allow their patrons years of exterior beauty and enjoyment without the maintenance issues they experienced with the pressure treated pine.
Stop by and check out their lovely restaurant while enjoying the Oceanfront views they have an awesome Sunday brunch a swanky pool area, beautiful beach and now lots of beautiful Advantage Ipe Decking.
If you have a resort or commercial application and need the best exterior wood give us a call today or stop by the Ritz Carlton in Naples first to see our wood in use
We supply materials to not only resorts like this but also small backyard projects around the world. If you need a board, a bundle, a truckload, or more please give us a call. 1-877-232-3915
A swim spa can be a great addition to your home. However before you purchase a swim spa you need to consider a deck built around it.
A custom deck built for your swim spa will make accessing and using your new swim spa easy and enjoyable it can also reduce the risk of a slip and fall injury.
This is a Master Spa 15 Deep Swim Spa that a California homeowner purchased. They were looking for the best decking material to build a deck for their new spa.
Whats the Best Deck for a Swim Spa?
We strongly suggested Ipe wood for the deck surrounding their new spa. Here’s a few reasons why Ipe wood works so well for swim spas:
Our Ipe wood has natural slip resistance and has been ASTM-C1028-89 tested so our Ipe Decking exceeds the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for Static Coefficient of friction in a wet environment
Ipe is naturally resistant to mold, mildew and wood boring insects
Approximately seven times harder than Cedar, ASTM-D143-94 tested; our Ipe decking stands up to the harshest conditions imaginable.
Barefoot friendly compared to softwoods that deteriorate fast
These are a few reasons why our customer chose Ipe for their new swim spa deck and railings.
Swim Spa Deck Ideas You Might Like:
The homeowner designed the swim spa deck to allow simplified unrolling of the spa cover. This is achieved while standing on the 3-step side. You can easily fold and unfold the cover on the spa while walking the entire length of the spa.
Take note of how wide the top platform is, this is an important detail. When you are taking your cover on and off you are usually focused on the cover so a narrow step would leave you more likely to trip.
The wide platform reduces the risk of tripping over a narrow step while taking your cover on and off. One other detail you’ll notice is the height of the top platform.
Your walking platform should allow you to fold up your cover without being hunched over and this deck was designed with that in mind as well.
The upper deck allows for easy spa access and features a wide bench for removing your sandals as well as a nice place to set your towel and smart phone.
The railing is stainless steel cable to maximize the views of the garden. The posts are powder coated which will offer years of maintenance free railing. The top handrail is Ipe wood to match the decking and provide a nice slip resistant grip.
LED lights were built into the steps to illuminate the steps as well as add some elegance. The deck substructure is constructed of clear redwood and was designed to allow removal of the spa side panels for future maintenance of the spa if needed.