Doing a full comparison between Ipe and Pressure Treated Pine for decking is like comparing Kobe beef and a McDonald’s beef patty. Pressure treated pine works well as the frame of your decking but not as the decking itself. Pressure treated pine lasts only for about 5-10 years and must be constantly stained and finished. Ipe on the other hand, is an all-natural wood, proven to last over 75 years without any chemical treatment. The Coney Island boardwalk was in service since the 1940s! Boards from that landmark boardwalk have been reclaimed and reused for many applications from patio furniture to indoor flooring.
Take a look at the picture above. Gross, isn’t it? That picture is of the old pressure treated decking you can get at the big box stores. The worst part? This picture was taken on a boardwalk that many children and people walk on each and every day. Basically, it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Can you see why I am a little biased toward hardwood decking? After looking at that picture, it’s easy to see why. Wood decking species like Tigerwood, Cumaru, Garapa and Ipe, just doesn’t have these problems and are naturally built to last.
Yes, pressure treated lumber is cheaper, but it’s really best suited for deck framing due to its resistance to termites. But, if you want to install it as a surface material, the long term cost to maintain it can be far more expensive. Imagine someone getting injured on your pressure treated deck? Can you say, “Hello higher hazard insurance premiums?”
The truth is, hard wood decking maintenance issues are few and far between. Most people just apply a deck finish like Ipe Oil™ once every couple of years to maintain its natural reddish brown color and that’s pretty much it.
You can search for my previous posts on the dangers of pressure treated wood, but for now…a picture really is worth a thousand words!
The choice between using pressure treated decking or ipe decking has led to much speculation. Is pressure treated wood safe? Is ipe more resistant to insects than pressure treated wood? When starting any home improvement project the quality of the building materials should always be taken into account. A deck purchase should be no different.
That’s why at AdvantageLumber.com we offer only the BEST decking options that are available on the market today. All our ipe decking and other exotic decking lines are 100% free from added chemicals and wood preservatives. You may be asking yourself how this affects you, the homeowner that will be installing the decking on his/her home.
First off, lets take a look at how pressure treated decking is made. Pressure treatment is a process that forces chemical preservatives into the wood. Wood is placed inside a closed cylinder, vacuumed and then pressure is applied to force the preservatives into the wood. The preservatives are meant to help protect the wood from attack by termites, other insects, and fungal decay.
Now with ALL of these chemicals that come with pressure treated decking… do you really want this material installed on a deck that will come in contact with so many of your loved ones? Sure pressure treated decking may be resistant to some insects, but what about a few years from now? What about the overall condition of the pressure treated lumber used on your deck; will your pressure treated deck stand the test of time?
Not only are the chemicals found in pressure treated a health concern, but the lumber itself is far inferior to ipe decking and any of the hardwoods that Advantage Lumber offers. Above is an example of a pressure treated deck (2) and an ipe deck (1) that have been weathered over time.
The pressure treated decking is from a bay front restaurant located in Longboat Key, Florida. You can see that the ipe decking (1) stands up to the elements much better than the pressure treated decking (2). Besides the Ipe (1) turning to a sliver/grey color the ipe looks the same as the day it was installed.
To make this comparison even MORE drastic… The ipe deck (1) is from the famous Miami Beach boardwalk! Clearly, the fact that an ipe deck held up in more severe conditions is probably the best testimonial anyone could give.
Typically, commercial applications like the Miami boardwalk should show much more wear than residential applications. However, the exact opposite is shown here because of the superior NATURAL qualities found in ipe wood (1).
NOTE: We do recommend Pressure Treated Lumber for deck framing and joist material.