Tag Archives: Maintenance Free Decking

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.

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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.

Proper Installation will Prevent Decking Problems

Installing Ipe Decking
Learn how to Prevent Problems and Future Decking Maintenance

The best way to prevent decking problems is to ensure that your deck was installed correctly in the first place.

Here are five crucial steps that will prolong the life of your deck:

1) Buy decking that is premium grade. When shopping for exotic hardwoods like ipe, it’s important to know the difference between premium/clear grade and common grade.

  • Common/Select Grade – Contains sap wood and visible knots & worm holes. Common grade also can be poorly milled (called hit and miss planing). Common grade also has a huge color variance from very light blond to almost black wood.
  • Premium/Clear – Best grade, period. All heart and no sapwood. Carefully milled material which highlights the well-blended colors with some boards showing their natural accents.

2) Use an  end sealer prior to installation. This is a critical part of decking installation and will help prevent future problems. Learn more about end grain sealer.

3) Apply deck oil. Choosing the right deck oil finish for ipe or any other hardwood decking will be prevent many problems including warping, checking, splits, and cracks.

4) Use a deck fastening system. Using hidden deck fasteners not only make your deck surface more attractive, but they also allow your new deck to expand and contract throughout the course of its life without much impediment.

5) Properly straighten bowed deck boards. Installing bowed boards, or forcing them in with flimsy tools and methods might save you some install time, but in the long run, you might also be decreasing the overall structural integrity and look of your deck. Nothing is a bigger pain that having to repair boards that get loose from the joist. Using deck tools like the Hardwood Wrench® will save you the headaches (and backaches) of having to make future repairs.

6) Don’t rush. When you take care in the installation process, you’ll find that you:

  • Get more enjoyment out of installing wood decking
  • End up with a stronger, and better looking deck
  • Gain years of personal enjoyment out of using it

If you breeze through any of these steps, or skip one of them, you might end up having to put more time and work into maintaining your deck. Ultimately, these decking products will greatly enhance the look and performance of your future deck. If you have any other questions, or would like to speak to a professional, contact us.

Ipe Decking is Perfect for Families

There are many reasons why ipe wood decking should be your first choice for your new family deck.

 

An ipe deck can be enjoyed all year round.
An ipe deck can be enjoyed all year round.
  • An ipe deck is so hard and compact that it doesn’t splinter
  • Ipe requires very little maintenance
  • Unlike pressure treated decking that has been infused with chemicals that can leech into your yard, ipe wood is all natural
  • A deck made of ipe hardwood will increase the value of your home
  • Ipe is versatile and can be the centerpiece of your outdoor living space for decades

These facts are proven by the fact that families all across the country have chosen to build their deck with ipe. If you’d like to see how this wood decking is being used, check out this article on this Cole Valley family that just finished their outdoor living area. Designed by Janet Moyer Landscaping in San Francisco, that family’s deck will provide lasting memories and wonderful times all year round. Her website has many examples of the how ipe can be used for your outdoor living area.

If you’re looking for the perfect decking material to use for your deck, patio, or covered porch, contact us today.