One of the many aspects of Ipe that set it apart from other lumber species is tied to its area of origin. Not only does its exotic roots in Brazil mean that you should expect it to cost a little more and take a little longer to get to you, but it also means that there’s a very specific growing season that ends up causing major fluctuations in pricing based on simple economics. When you realize what’s going on, you can prepare for it and strategically make your Ipe purchases in a way that maximizes your resources and benefits your customers.
Ipe Decking Season Supply Crunch
By the time June rolls around and U.S. homeowners are ready to have new decks put on, there’s already as much Ipe this side of the Equator as will get here before the snow starts to fall. The entire Ipe supply for the year has already been imported back in winter or early spring, and now it’s been sitting at your local lumber supplier’s yard awaiting your purchase. That scenario means that lumber suppliers like J. Gibson McIlvain have to plan ahead and make an educated guess about how much Ipe will be sold, months in advance of its being purchased from lumber mills. And those suppliers will have to pay for that expensive decking lumber and store it for a period of time while they await your future decking order.
Ipe Decking Quality Control & Sustainability
J. Gibson McIlvain carefully researches each Brazilian lumber mill to ensure both legality and environmental sustainability. In the midst of a supply crunch, importers can easily shirk their duties here in favor of higher profits. It’s important for both Lacey Act compliance and the future of the global ecology for all of us to be cautious about purchasing Ipe or any other species from questionable sources.
Ipe Decking Buying Strategies
The same Ipe order could cost significantly more, depending on when you and how you purchase it. (For a detailed description of various scenarios, check out this post.) One basic rule of thumb is that the lower the supply, the greater the cost. In addition, the higher the supply, the greater the quality will be from which to select. One more principle to keep in mind is that the larger your order, the lower the overhead cost will be which is added to your bill. So if you want to have your pick of premium Ipe at the lowest price possible, your strategy will include the following key tactics:
1. Purchase all the Ipe you’ll need for the decking season in a single order.
2. Purchase your Ipe as early in the season as possible.
If you end up with extra Ipe (that you paid far less to secure than it’s going to sell for later in the season), you could end up making money on re-selling it. While that potential may seem like a bit of a hassle, it’s far better to risk a little bit of a hassle than ordering Ipe lumber late in the season and paying a premium for it then.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
For more information on J. Gibson McIlvain’s lumber products and services, call Monday-Friday toll free (800) 638-9100 to speak with one of their representatives.