Ipe is not an abbreviation. Rather, it’s the common name of Tabebuia serratifolia, a tropical hardwood lumber specie. The correct pronunciation is “EE-pay”. Other common names for ipe include Brazilian walnut and ironwood.
The ipe tree is native to South America. However, it also grows throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, southern Florida, and other tropical regions.
Ipe wood is extremely dense, making it one of the most durable woods in the world. It’s also a beautiful wood, boasting a rich, dark brown color. As a result, ipe is highly sought after for high-end exterior woodworking projects. It’s a popular material for decks, siding, fences, and outdoor furniture.
AdvantageLumber.com carries the largest inventory of ipe lumber in North America. We mill ipe into decking, siding, interior flooring, live-edge slabs, and cabinet-grade lumber.
Most people are familiar with Teak wood, it’s been well known to last outdoors without many of the common issues of softwoods.
Teak has exceptional resistance to rot and termites but it only offers moderate resistance to marine borers and the powder post beetle.
Since Teak is so well known for it’s exterior durability it has been widely used for outdoor furniture and boat building.
This has driven up the demand for Teak which then increases the price as well. Genuine Teak (Burmese Teak) is very expensive. Plantation Teak that is fast grown is significantly cheaper.
The high price point of Teak makes it out of the price range for many people especially for larger projects.
Teak Wood Lifespan
The lifespan of teak is known to be up to 50 years if properly maintained. If teak is left to turn a natural grey and not oiled each year you can expect teak in this condition to last 30 years or more depending on how harsh the climate is.
Teak Price Vs. Ipe Price
Due to the popular demand of teak over many years the price has increased substantially to the point that most people would find it not cost effective. Our teak price is around $40 per board foot.
Due to the high price of teak many people have used Ipe wood as a cost effective alternative to teak. Ipe is our top recommended alternative to teak it can outlast teak and Ipe is significantly cheaper.
Ipe is primarily sold for exterior decking, fencing, siding and many other exterior projects. It is priced and sold by the lineal foot. As of 2020 our starting price for 1×4 Ipe Wood is $2.13 per lineal foot.
A 1x4x8 Ipe Wood board would cost $17.04 that same board in teak would cost $110.00
Is Ipe Better Than Teak?
Ipe wood is a South American hardwood that is over three times harder on the Janka scale compared to genuine teak.
The Janka test is a measure of the hardness of wood. The Janka test was developed as a variation of the Brinell hardness test. The test measures the force required to push a steel ball with a diameter of 11.28 millimeters (0.444 inches) into the wood to a depth of half the ball’s diameter. The diameter was chosen to produce a circle with an area of 100 square millimeters.
The Janka hardness of Teak is: 1,050
The Janka hardness of Ipe is: 3,680
Other than Ipe wood being over three times harder, Ipe also has some other exceptional properties that make it one of the best exterior hardwoods available.
One of the strongest woods in the world
Up to a Class A fire rating for flame spread
Termite, Mold & Fungi resistant
High scratch & slip resistance
Can outlast composite material
Over three times harder than teak
Proven to last 75+ years on commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk
Can you paint ipe wood? It’s a common question, and the experts will always tell you the same two things:
Why would you want to?
Those can be frustrating answers. Maybe you want to use ipe for its strength, but you aren’t fond of its color. Or maybe you inherited a finished project from a previous homeowner whose tastes didn’t match yours. So what can you do?
Why Ipe Is Not Paintable
First, let’s look at the source of the problem. We paint wood all the time; why is ipe different?
Exotic hardwoods (including ipe and its friends: cumaru, tigerwood, etc.) are not like most woods. Paint won’t stick to them! For one, they’re just too dense. The tight grain squeezes other substances out, and creates a relatively non-porous surface (compared to softer woods) that leaves the paint with nothing to cling to.
Another reason paint won’t stick to ipe and its ilk is that these woods are saturated with natural oils. These oils repel the paint, much like how the oil on a duck’s feathers repels water.
It just so happens that these two characteristics, density and oils, are what make ipe such a good choice for exterior projects in the first place. The dense grain gives it an impervious structure, and the oils fight off mold and decay. It’s too bad that they also have the unfortunate side effect of making the wood difficult to paint.
And it’s not just paint. Most wood stains and film-forming top coats will struggle to maintain any lasting hold on ipe. That’s why companies developed specialized products like Ipe Oil® and Messmers for dealing with exotic hardwoods. These oil-based finishes were specifically formulated to penetrate deeply into ipe’s dense grain structure and enrich the wood’s natural characteristics.
Can Anything Be Done?
Some woodworkers have claimed mild success in painting ipe by taking a few preliminary steps. First, sand the ipe with coarse-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface a bit. This will give the paint something to cling to. Then, apply several layers of oil-based primer. Finally, you can paint the ipe, but use an oil-based paint instead of the usual latex stuff.
Having said that, these steps will not guarantee a perfect, long-lasting finish; and as a rule, AdvantageLumber.com does not recommend painting ipe.
Alternatives to Painting Ipe
Painting ipe may not be a good idea, but you do have some other options.
Use a Different Wood
If you’re starting a brand-new project, this is the best way to go. A wood like cedar may not have the strength and longevity of ipe, but you can paint it to your heart’s content. The paint will also help protect the wood, giving back some of the durability you sacrificed by using a softer wood specie.
Cover the Ipe in a Paintable Material
Sometimes you just don’t have a choice. Either ipe is required for its structural properties, or someone else installed the wood without asking you first!
In cases like this, when you absolutely must use ipe, you should first consider if you really want to cover up that beautiful, natural hardwood. If your answer is still “yes”, then your best option is to clad the ipe in a paintable material. Build a sheath or covering out of another wood, such as cedar or even pressure treated pine, and paint that instead. You’ll get the strong foundation provided by ipe as well as full control over the final appearance.
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.
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.
Are you looking for the best wood for a new horizontal fence?
Certain woods will require more maintenance than others and can be susceptible to rot, decay and insect attack.
The woods that are commonly prone to those issues are softwoods such as pressure treated pine, cedar and even redwood.
There are certain hardwood species however that are more durable than teak and cheaper.
The top species of wood that we recommend for a horizontal fence are:
These woods excel in harsh climates such as the hot Florida sun, the dry Arizona desert as well as cold and snowy Buffalo, NY. Woods such as Ipe have been proven to last 75+ years on commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk.
These woods are also naturally resistant to rot, decay, fungi and wood boring insects can not chew through them. In addition they are low maintenance and incredibly beautiful.
Building a horizontal fence from one of these beautiful species of wood will have your friends and neighbors admiring your new fence for years.
Take a look at many of these beautiful horizontal fences our customers have built with some of our wood: