Main Elements to Consider When Buying IPE Wood Decking
Ipe wood is a popular material for outdoor decking. It is very strong because of its exceptional hardness and natural resistance to rotting and insects, among others. Nevertheless, several downsides need to be considered before installing ipe decking.
One of the most significant benefits of Ipe is its long life span. At 40 years, it lasts twice as long as most softwood decking materials that are commonly used. The longevity is due to the dense structure of Ipe and its high natural oil content. Properly looked after, an ipe wooden deck can last for decades.
Despite being inherently durable, regular maintenance is essential for maintaining the good looks and optimal lifespan of ipe floors. Every 1-2 years, light sanding and applying a protective finish are needed to keep the rich coloration and prevent water from penetrating the floor’s surface. While lower than many other kinds of wood, these still should be considered regarding maintenance requirements.
When new, Ipe has a light reddish-brown or tan appearance; however, within a few months, it becomes silvery gray if the tree still needs to be finished. The unfinished grayed surface naturally resists decay, although some homeowners prefer their original warm coloring to remain present after that period. It must then periodically be refinished to maintain the color. Expectations of color change should be considered when buying ipe wood decking Florida.
Wooden decks tend to expand and contract with changing moisture and temperature levels, although the extent varies from one type to another. Ipe swells and shrinks less once installed compared to most other woods. It means adequately fastened ipe boards will not usually warp or leave excessive spaces between them due to superior dimensional stability. However, some occurrences of expansion and contraction need consideration in terms of design and construction to avoid problems.
The extreme hardiness of IPE is the central aspect contributing to its durability, but it also complicates its installation process. Prior drilling is necessary before fastening, while stainless steel screws might break off if over-tightened into the wood’s dense fibers. For instance, special drill bits made of hardwood or containing carbide tips should be applied instead of regular blades used for cutting standard tools, which will quickly wear out when used on IPE. The high density and hardness make it harder to work Ipe than it is with traditional softwood.
Reflecting on these fundamentals also means that you know what makes exotic hardwood advantageous while at the same time helping you plan for its weaknesses associated with ipe decking. Taking care of these aspects upfront eventually ensures outstanding results during investments in improved outdoor living spaces using this premium, long-lasting material.