Tag Archives: Ipe Decking

Swim Spa Deck Built With Ipe Wood

swim spa deck

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.

ipe swim spa deck

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.

DIY waterproof front porch

Easy Fix For Porch Leaking Into Basement

Years ago, many homes in the Northeast had front porches built directly over the basement foundation.

The only thing holding back the cold snowy weather and the rain was 1 inch thick tongue and groove pressure treated porch decking that was painted to seal it from the elements and keep the water out.

This is not a good idea. It doesn’t take long for the paint to peel, and seasonal temperature changes will cause expansion and contraction, leaving hairline gaps that break the paint seal on the tongue and groove line.

When bad rain storms hit and the wind blows just right, the covered roof offers little protection and the rain leaks into the basement. During the winter months, blowing snow sits on top of the porch, then on slightly warmer days it melts and leaks into the basement.

The water leaking down saturates the wood between the tongue and groove. The tight space blocks air flow and keeps the wood damp, leading to rot and decay.

fix for leaking porch into basement

This avid DIY guy and property investor in Buffalo, NY was forced to paint the porch every year and clear off snow throughout the winter. This was a lot of maintenance and just not always possible.

When he bought the property, he knew it would all need to be redone. He started searching for solutions to create a water proof porch surface that would not rot and continuously leak into the basement.

He found the only products really made for this solution were special exterior vinyl sheets that could only be purchased and installed by certified installers.

These sheets didn’t even come wide enough to cover his entire porch, which meant seams would need to be thermo-welded with a special heat gun.

Our customer found the average installation cost for these systems was $4,000 – $5,000, and quite frankly he did not like the look of these products. He said they just looked like the cheap flooring sheet goods you put on the interior of your house.

In addition, he was having a hard time trusting the longevity of these products since they haven’t been around that long. He also worried that the seams would eventually fail or tear as shoes caught on on them.

It reminded him of the composite decking products that have had so many product failures and class action lawsuits. To top it all off, as a DIY guy who takes pride in doing quality work himself, paying someone that kind of money to lay down some sheets and essentially melt them together with a heat gun was like rubbing nails down a chalkboard for this home owner.

Here’s the solution our customer came up with: our Ipe deck tiles. They look much better, allowed him to save a lot of money by doing it himself, and kept everything rot-resistant and waterproof.

First he laid a few tiles the length of the porch to see where they would need to be cut:

He decided he wanted to have a continuous 6 inch Ipe board screwed into the outer rim joist and framing the entire porch. This way the tiles could float without any penetrations in the ice and water shield.

Once he accounted for the width of the picture framed border, he cut the tiles to fit and decided to put the cut pieces against the house so there would be full tiles on the outermost edge of the porch.

He fixed a few rotted spots in the original porch by cutting them out and replacing them with one inch thick pressure treated wood, matching the existing material.

Next he laid ice and water shield over the entire porch according to the manufacturer’s requirements, overlapping the ice and water shield appropriately and keeping everything water positive – starting at the outside edge of the porch and overlapping the seams as you work your way toward the house.

Once the entire porch was waterproofed, it was a suitable foundation to float the deck tiles on top of the porch.

One important and obvious note to consider: make sure your front door will clear the tiles when floating on top with the deck tile connectors. In this case our customer had enough room, but he was planning on replacing the old outward-swinging door with an inward-swinging one, so it wouldn’t matter anyway.

We custom milled a 2 x 6 board to match the thickness of our 20 x 20 Ipe deck tiles. This board served as the picture frame for the deck tiles.

He also replaced the old crumbling concrete steps with Ipe decking, white vinyl risers, and vinyl railing.

ipe deck tiles on front porch

DIY waterproof front porch

ipe deck tiles

Our customer is thrilled with the results, and the deck tiles are exceeding his expectations. He said the installation was a breeze since they just snap together with the DeckWise tile connectors.

The picture above is at the end of the first winter in Buffalo (you can see the snow pile in the back at the curb). The deck tiles still look amazing and he still can’t believe how much money he saved opposed to those ugly vinyl sheet products.

He needed 65 of our 20 x 20 Ipe deck tiles, which cost him just over $1,000. He purchased the railings from a local building supply store for around $700, and he got the Ipe deck boards, DeckWise tile connectors, and vinyl products for his risers and skirting. In the end, he completed the project for around $2,000.

Everyone in the neighborhood has complimented the new look – even the pizza delivery guy!

You can purchase deck tiles directly from us and we’ll ship them to your house or job site. No job is too big or too small.

3 Reasons To Buy Extra Decking and Not Exact Amounts

We get it, exotic hardwoods are expensive. It’s natural for you to want to save your pennies and order just the right amount of material for your deck, but this is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Materials like decking aren’t made to fit exact specifications; they are crafted on-site by cutting each board to meet the dimensions of your design.  It’s these characteristics that necessitate ordering extra material just in case something happens. The extra material ordered is normally between 10% and 15% of your original amount and is referred to as “waste.”

If you’re not convinced that ordering waste is important, here are 3 reasons that’ll change your mind.

  • Save time just-in-case boards arrive damaged from freight. Sometimes packages, including large items, get damaged during delivery. If you have some extra material to immediately replace the damaged ones, you can continue your building without having to stop.
  • Have extra material just-in case you measured wrong. Sometimes building a deck on paper doesn’t translate to the actual deck you’re building and you can end- up ordering less than what is needed. If you order extra amounts, you won’t have to worry about being short and being forced to stop construction.
  • Accidents like breaking boards or cutting the wrong length boards are not unusual. If these accidents happen and you only ordered exact numbers, an accident can cost you both time and money.

Sometimes saving money up-front can ending-up costing you more later down the road. Spending that small “extra” amount so you can have a comfortable buffer of extra wood during your project will alleviate the pain of possibly having to wait for more wood, or needing to have your contractor come back at a later date. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful new outdoor living space without any setbacks!

Cedar, Ipe, or Bamboo: What’s The Right Choice?

The decking industry is constantly growing and it seems like there’s always a “new miracle material” made with fairy dust and rainbows that promises beautiful looks without lifting a finger. However, when we take a deep look into exterior decking products, we begin to see the shortcomings of the miracle materials and the benefits of the tried and true wood decking.

Cedar and other domestic woods like Southern Yellow Pine and Redwood have been the choice material in deck building for decades. These wood choices are standard because they are readily available and are found in our very own backyard.

The only downside, but one that everyone should understand, is the maintenance required. These woods are not long lasting and require sanding and sealing in an ongoing yearly basis. The best part about using these domestic woods is the low upfront cost in material and installation. Most deck builders already know how to work with these woods so labor costs are lower and the building process is a lot faster.

Ipe is another hardwood that’s been popularized in the last 40 years. This hardwood comes directly from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and although it doesn’t have the history of domestic hardwoods, it has been used for some of the most important boardwalks in the U.S. such as the Coney Island and Atlantic City boardwalks. Ipe is a very hard and very dense wood that lasts for decades with very little maintenance. The maintenance required is some oiling and cleaning every year or so, but nothing like the maintenance of domestic woods.

Unfortunately, the downside is the initial cost of the material and building. It’s significantly more expensive than the upfront cost of domestic woods and contractors need to use additional tools. However, these costs are recuperated by not having to spend time or money on expensive yearly sanding and sealing.

Finally, let’s talk about Bamboo. By process of elimination, you probably guessed that this is the new miracle material. Bamboo decking is actually made with…well it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly it’s made from. Let me explain. Bamboo is not actually a tree or a type of wood, it’s a type of grass. Grass on its own isn’t strong enough to hold much weight, let alone bare the load of a full deck plus furniture and people.

This means that Bamboo has to be shredded, glued back together and laced with chemicals to prevent mold and rot from occurring. Unfortunately, this is all highly experimental. The boards made from this mixture hold weight safely but the glues and chemicals may not last with exposure to sun and weather. In fact, with a quick google search, you can find reports of bamboo boards delaminating, breaking apart, splitting, and failing after just one year.

Innovative products have their place and they are always welcomed because they push the limits of what present materials are capable of. However, we can’t just make guarantees and promises based on products that are unproven and haven’t passed the test of time. Pick what best suits your wants, your needs, and your budget. This will give you the best material for your particular application; just remember to keep your expectation realistic.

Is There Such Thing as a Maintenance-Free Deck?

This is probably the question asked most often by both our potential and current customers, along with the entire internet. Everyone wants a maintenance-free deck that once it’s installed, you do absolutely nothing and it’ll stay looking just like the first time you stepped on it.

This popular belief was pioneered by some of the manufacturers of synthetic decking products, promising a maintenance-free, trouble-free surface that would last for years without lifting a finger. These fantastic claims resonated well because people were tired of the same Southern Yellow Pine, Cedar or Douglas Fir that would need yearly stripping, sealing and painting just to try to keep it together for a few years.

However, the properties that make these woods popular for construction don’t apply to exterior use.  They need to be painted or sealed constantly to protect the wood, otherwise it will deteriorate, splinter, crack, and rot beyond repair. Though cheap initially, the cost of maintenance and the enduring hard work has proven these species unsuitable.

We recommend Pressure Treated wood only for deck framing.
We recommend Pressure Treated wood only for deck framing.

The wonderful thing about our decking is that it maintains its structural integrity as the decades pass. This means there’s none of the deterioration that is typical with species like Southern Yellow Pine. Our decking weathers beautifully to grey, but it stays solid. With our hardwood choices of Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa, and Massaranduba, you can expect to have one of the densest and strongest woods available on the market. All of these woods are at least 2x stronger and much denser than any of the common wood used for decks.

DSC_9891

Having a desire for a low-maintenance material is when our Brazilian hardwood decking becomes most enticing. Using any of our species of hardwoods won’t promise you a deck that, without any help, will be pristine for many decades. We are realistic and we know that our decking needs some maintenance, no matter how minimal it is. The maintenance you can expect with our hardwoods is to have to rinse off the deck with warm water.  

If you leave the deck without cleaning for months, you may need to use a cleaner and brightener solution. Don’t worry, this is a powder that dissolves in warm water and gets applied with a mop; if you can mop a floor you can use these solutions. Finally, to keep the color of any of our woods, you will need to re-apply Ipe Oil once every year to two years depending on how much sun your deck sees.

This oil acts as a sunscreen, and brings out the rich tones of the wood’s grain. Unlike most other products on the market, this oil doesn’t need a million things before it’s applied. If your deck is clean, just apply it again!

What we offer is a no compromise decking material that lasts well over 30 years, is 100% natural, low-maintenance, and can always be repaired should there be any scratches or gouges. Even more importantly, compared to any other material, if our hardwood is left to fade, it can always be returned to its original color.

How to Build a Horizontal Ipe Fence

Ipe isn’t just for decking anymore. This versatile wood is perfect for a variety of outdoor projects because of its durability. Its strength and dimensional stability can make it a little harder to work with than other woods, but with a lifespan of 75 years, it’ll be worth it to put the little extra elbow grease into your project.

Today we’re going to show you how to build a fence out of Ipe. Not only will this give you added privacy, but it will look fantastic in your yard!

Picking the straightest boards will make the installation run smoothly.
Picking the straightest boards will make the installation run smoothly.

Step 1: pick out the straightest boards you can find from your shipment. This will make the fence building process easier.

0005
End sealing protects the board from warping and cracking over time.

Step 2: End seal your boards. This is going to keep the wood from cracking, splitting and warping over time.

Be sure to get accurate measurements to ensure easy installation.
Be sure to get accurate measurements to ensure easy installation.

Step 3: Measure where the board will overlap on the post. Mark the center of the overlapping part. This is where the board will be attached to the post. Make note of this measurement.

0004
Predrilling is important so you don’t crack the board.

Step 4: Use a 1/8” drill bit and 3/8” countersink bit to predrill a hole for the screw.

0006
Construction adhesive will give the deck board extra holding power.

Step 5: Apply some construction adhesive on the post. Allow the adhesive to dry before attaching the deck boards.

0007
Attach the first board to the post.

Step 6: Attach one end of the board to the post. Use a level and attach the board to the post.

0008
Be sure to obtain accurate measurements before you cut a groove into the board.

Step 7: Next, take a biscuit joiner, set it to the correct depth for the clip that you’re using. Practice on some scraps first so you don’t risk ruining an entire board.

Insert the ipe clips into the groove.
Insert the Ipe clips into the groove.

Step 8: Place the Ipe clip into the groove.

Don't forget to predrill!
Don’t forget to predrill!

Step 9: Use the drill bit from the Ipe clip complete kit and predrill at a 45° angle. Attach the screws.

Be sure to get accurate measurements to ensure easy installation.
Be sure to get accurate measurements to ensure easy installation.

Step 10: Take your measurements from the first board and mark the next board.

Repeat steps 4-9 until your fence is complete.

Insert wood glue into the hole before placing the plug in it.
Insert wood glue into the hole before placing the plug in it.

Step 11: Insert wood glue into the hole and use a hammer to tap the plug to fit securely.

Fencing
Cutting the ends of the plugs will yield a smoother surface

Step 12: Using a Flush Cut Saw, remove the extra piece of the plug so that it becomes flush with the board.

Sand down the plugs for a smooth surface.
Sand down the plugs for a smooth surface.

Step 13: Sand down the top of the plug with a 120 grit orbital sander for a smooth surface.

Here's the finished ipe fence.
Here’s the finished Ipe fence.

From here you have the option to oil the wood with Ipe Oil, or you can leave it untreated and allow it to weather to a natural gray.

***Pro Tip: Using an orbital sander leaves a smoother finish. Typical pad sanders will end up leaving scratches that become prominent as time

Brazilian Hardwood Decking

Natural beauty and elegance should not be limited to the indoors only. We believe comfort and beauty should be extended outdoors to create an escape from daily life. Our lumber is used by architects for commercial and residential projects because of its beauty and incredible durability.

This gorgeous ipe and Garapa deck will last for year with no chemical treatment.

This gorgeous Ipe and Garapa deck will last for years with no chemical treatment.

Hardwoods: Beauty in Every Board

Continue reading