Ipe is in high demand for both commercial and residential decking projects. Once you become familiar with the benefits of this Brazilian tropical hardwood species, chances are you won’t have any trouble understanding its continual growth in popularity. There are all sorts of reasons why everyone from lumber dealers to construction companies to end customers have come to consider Ipe as their go-to choice for both large and small decking jobs. In this series of articles, we’ll explore some of the advantages Ipe has to offer as well as discuss Ipe selection and installation tips.
Ipe is Extremely Hard and Dense
You don’t have to worry about scratching, denting, or damaging your boards each time some small item gets dropped on your Ipe deck. In fact, this hardwood is so dense and durable that it’s earned the nickname “Ironwood.”
Ipe is Long-Lasting
When you build a deck with Ipe, barring some extreme weather catastrophe, you shouldn’t have to replace it for decades. This wood species typically has over a 40-year long lifespan! That’s one reason why builders are increasingly using it to construct not just decks, but porches, interior floors, and outdoor siding as well.
Ipe is Extremely Stable
Ipe is an impressively stable species of wood. This means that it doesn’t tend to move as much as many other species of wood, including some other hardwoods. This stability makes Ipe ideal for use in outdoor projects where it will be exposed to extreme temperature and moisture fluctuations.
Ipe Moves Uniformly
One unique property of Ipe is that it has a tendency to move at an almost exactly equal rate both tangentially and radially. This means that Ipe moves at practically the same rate in all directions as opposed to most other species of wood which tend to move more across the grain than they do along the grain.
Ipe is Fire-Resistant
Fire is one of the most destructive forces in all of nature. It can wreak havoc on wooden structures, including outdoor decks. Ipe is a great choice for wildfire-prone areas, because even in its untreated state, it has a class A fire rating.
Ipe Comes in a Variety of Different Sizes
Because of its popularity, Ipe is readily available from reputable dealers in numerous sizes, such as 2×4 through 2×12 boards, as well as 4×4, and 6×6 posts. This versatile hardwood, which used to be mainly reserved for decking projects, has become more mainstream in recent years for interior flooring, outdoor furniture, siding, boardwalks, and bridges.
Ipe is Insect-Resistant
Perhaps due to its origin in the insect-laden tropical forests, Ipe wood tends to be resistant to insect attacks. This is great news for anyone using Ipe for outdoor decking, furniture, or siding.
As you can see, there’s a whole host of different reasons why Ipe has gained such a great reputation with lumber dealers, construction workers, and customers alike, especially for outdoor decking projects. In the next article in this series, we’ll highlight a few considerations to keep in mind when it comes to working with this durable and attractive tropical hardwood.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the Capitol building, celebrity homes, the White House, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums. For more information on J. Gibson McIlvain’s lumber products and services, call Monday – Friday at (800) 638-9100 to speak with one of their representatives.
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