Tag Archives: gray decking

Gray Ipe Decking

What Does Gray Ipe Look Like?

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!

Gray Ipe Dock

Restoring Your Gray Deck, The Right Way

Have you ever passed by a store and noticed the color on a poster wasn’t quite right? Or perhaps the color of your car has lost its shine after a few years. What you see are the effect of the sun’s ultra-violet rays.

The same ultra-violet rays that cause car paint and posters to fade also cause your decking to turn gray over time. In exotic hardwoods like our Brazilian decking, the fading occurs only on the surface.

In woods like pine or cedar, the fading can cause the wood fibers to deteriorate, which leads to cracks and eventually broken boards. As for plastic decking such as composite or PVC, the color fading caused by ultra-violet rays is permanent.

So how do you restore your Brazilian hardwood deck? Well, it depends how much regular maintenance you’ve done. Here are a few methods to bring back the color of your faded deck:

Method 1 – Start with the simplest of approaches and test a small amount of Ipe Oil on part of your deck. Sometimes applying a coat of Ipe Oil is enough to bring back the color. If this didn’t work, move on to the next method.

Method 2 – Use DeckWise Cleaner and Brightener. Wet your deck with a garden hose and apply the dissolved solution (follow the instructions on the back of each product) using a bristle broom to agitate the surface. Rinse with a garden hose, and once the surface is dry apply a new coat of Ipe Oil. Now your deck should look as good as new!

If your deck refuses to look new, give these methods a shot.

Method 3 – Using a pressure washer with a wide angle fan tip nozzle, wash your deck straight down the length of each board. This keeps you from stamping a pattern into the board or raising the grain of the wood and causing splinters. If pressure washing didn’t achieve the original finish, there’s one more thing you can try.

Method 4 –Sand your deck, starting with an 80 grit sand paper on an orbital sander and finishing with 100 grit sand paper. Once you’re done, vacuum your deck, or rinse it well with water to remove any dust and apply Ipe Oil. This should bring it back to the beautiful deck of years past!

We hope this helps you get your deck back to the color you want! Bookmark this page if you wish to share these deck maintenance tips with others, and don’t forget to give us a call if you have any questions or shoot us an email at info@advantagelumber.coml