If you thought you couldn’t afford to use Ipe on your next decking project, you may be wrong. With a current overstock of “short” Ipe decking in stock, J. Gibson McIlvain is running a sale on this excellent tropical hardwood decking lumber. Our current overstock consists of 7 foot long 1×6 Ipe decking, and we have it ready to ship to your jobsite, anywhere in the US (estimated delivery times). Of course, the current deal we’re running will only last as long as the overstock does, but the basic principle of saving money by buying short lumber is nothing new and won’t go away, anytime soon.
When it comes to Ipe, which is the premier decking species that we sell, the typical Ipe decking order consists of 16-foot and longer sizes, almost always in even-numbered footage. Is there anything wrong with using shorter or odd-length decking boards? Absolutely not! It’s simply a matter of preference for most North American builders.
For lumber in general, the average length requested in the US is 10 to 12 feet. Most Americans consider 8-foot boards the minimum length, which leads to 6- to 7-foot boards being referred to as “short” lumber. In Europe, however, there is no such designation, and so-called “short” lumber is used routinely. While domestic sawmills are used to milling only 8-foot and longer boards, exotic hardwoods such as Ipe come in a wider variety of lengths to serve a global market.
As with other imported hardwood species such as Sapele or Mahogany, J. Gibson McIlvain receives a number of short Ipe boards along with every order we receive. Basically, when we buy 16-foot Ipe boards, we receive a certain number of 7-foot boards as a by-product of producing the longer boards. And these short, odd-length boards are perfectly good for use in decking. Even without a special overstock sale, short lumber is often sold at a discount ranging from 10% to 30%, which can make a big difference in a project budget.
You can also get more for your money by buying odd-length decking. Mills produce odd-length decking, so when US suppliers request even-length decking, instead, they simply cut off that extra foot. What a waste! We and our customers still pay for that added foot, so we’ve begun to purchase odd-length decking as-is, giving our customers the option of utilizing that extra foot of lumber that they paid for anyway. Is there anything wrong with having a 17-foot deck instead of a 16-foot one? No. You may even have room for an extra chair at your table or for that bigger grill you wanted to get.
Whether you’re a builder making suggestions to a customer or you’re a homeowner drawing up plans to get the most bang for your buck on your own new deck, taking a look at short or odd-length Ipe can help you create the best deck possible without wasting wood or money.
Call us today at 800-638-9100 to discuss using odd-length Ipe decking for your next project.
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.