Tag Archives: Ipe Characteristics

Decking Defects to Look Out For

When buying decking, it’s important that you are aware of some natural occurring defects that plague other species as well as pressure-treated decking.

Some of the more common defects that you can run into are checks, knots, and splits. If you’ve ever stepped on a chemically treated wood decks, you most definitely have seen all three of those defects since they’re most common with softer and lesser grade woods.

In this one picture, you can see how knots, checks & splits have made this surface dangerous to walk on.
In this one picture, you can see how knots, checks & splits have made this surface dangerous to walk on.

Checks are a result of the wood separating across rings. They are more prevalent on vertical grain cuts of decking.

Knots are indicative of the presence of a branch that was in the lumber. Lower grade materials typically include knots and are, therefore, cheaper.

Checks and splits typically occur when the wood cells are torn apart. They are rather unsightly and can produce splinters.

Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about any of these defects if you install an ipe deck. Not only will your deck be made of premium grade materials, it will also need less maintenance,  look great and be safer than decks that are riddles with the problems outlined above.

Contact AdvantageLumber.com today for premium grade ipe decking.

Science Proves that Ipe Lives Up to the Hype

Many people, including me, like to talk about how ipe decking is one of the most durable and dependable woods on the market. This isn’t just sales talk. There have actually been studies and tests done that concluded that ipe wood lives up to the hype.

Three specific tests that prove this are from the US Naval Laboratory, the  National Fire Protection Agency, and the Janka Hardness Test.

The study from the US Naval Laboratory showed a single piece of ipe wood could be left in the ground completely exposed to the elements  for 15 years without termite infestation. They also discovered that that ipe decking was very resistant to mold, mildew, and fungus.

The National Fire Protection Agency and other third party certification companies have shown Ipe hardwood to have up to a Class A rating for flame spread. What does this mean? Let’s say someone bumped into your charcoal grill and some briquettes fell onto your deck. Well, if you owned an ipe deck, the fire would not spread as quickly as if you had a deck made of cheap composite decking or an inferior wood.

Finally, the Janka Hardness test revealed that ipe is one of the densest hardwoods that nature provides. By measuring the force necessary to push a tiny steel ball into a piece of hardwood, the Janka Hardness test is an important factor to consider if you are comparing ipe decking to pressure treated decking, California redwood, and even teak.

In fact, when tested with the Janka Hardness Scale, ipe was proven to be three times as strong as teak. Ipe’s Janka Hardness was registered at 3600 lbs, whereas the Janka Hardness of teak came in at just 1050 lbs. Pressure treated decking came in at 690 lbs. and, surprisingly, California redwood came in at 480 lbs.

These tests clearly demonstrate that this exotic hardwood lives up to its reputation as one of the most durable woods in the market. When you need decking that will stand the test of time, the elements and anything in between, ipe decking is your best choice.

Ipe Decking & Fire – What You Need to Know

One feature of ipe decking that I most often forget to mention is how ipe handles fire. This kind of information is important to know because many deck owners use tiki torches, grills, and firepits on their deck. While we all try to be careful, there is always the chance, however remote, that one of those things could tip over and spark a fire.

There have been many instances where a dog bumped into a charcoal grill and spilled over some briquettes, or a guest tips over a seemingly put out tiki torch and a fire gets started. In those situations, you must react quickly to properly put out the fire before it spreads to the rest of your deck.

If you have a deck made of ipe, or are considering building an ipe deck, you need to know that ipe has a fire spread rating that is the same as concrete! What does this mean? Unlike other hardwoods that spread fire rapidly, fire tends to remain isolated around its point of origin. In this way, the damage that the fire has made is contained in a much smaller region on your deck. Of course, calling the proper authorities and attempting to put out the fire right away is absolutely critical and recommended.

Interestingly enough, ipe wood has up to a Class A fire rating for flame spread. Here is a table that shows the ratings given to ipe decking from the National Fire Protection Agency (Note, there are other third party certification companies that show similar results. Results will vary based on the moisture content, origin, and species). Continue reading

Ipe Decking Is Eco-Friendly & Beautiful

Few things in life are as refreshing as stepping out onto your ipe wood deck to enjoy the company of friends, loved ones, or just to have a moment of solitude. Homeowners who are looking to upgrade or replace their existing patio and outdoor entertainment area are turning to ipe in droves for many reasons.

The reasons why people are choosing ipe decking include:

  • Low maintenance
  • Better return on investment
  • A fresh and beautiful look that lasts
  • Increased resistance to mold, mildew, & fungi
  • Natural repellent to termite & other insect infestation
  • Ipe is eco-friendly

Also known as Brazilian walnut, ipe is a dark brown wood that comes from surprisingly versatile trees. The Tabebuia Serratifolia tree can measure a maximum height of around 150 feet and often has a trunk diameter of around 6 feet. Contrary to what you may have heard, ipe is not an endangered species and grows in a variety of places throughout Central and South America. In fact, ipe is as abundant in Brazil as yellow pine is in the United States.

The wood for ipe decking can be responsibly cultivated in managed forests that have been certified by the respected Forest Stewardship Council. The process to get FSC certified is laborious, time-consuming, and ultimately worth every second. When we, as a leading eco-friendly ipe wood importer, promote responsible forestry practices, consumers, retailers, contractors, and manufacturers start to see the value in using FPC certified woods. At Advantage Trim & Lumber we hope that when you step out on your new ipe deck, you will breathe easier knowing that you have an eco-friendly deck that is still the envy of the neighborhood.