If you are looking for a durable type of wood for building a deck around your house, consider using Brazillian Ipe decking. The Ipe tree native to Brazil is a large tree that produces one of the hardest, most durable types of wood in the world.
The boards made from this tree can last over 40 years. The wood is resistant to termites, mold, and fungi, and doesn’t burn readily. A relative of the walnut tree, Brazillian Ipe decking offers a great alternative to composites and treated woods.
Because the Ipe trees are so huge, individual Brazillian ipe decking timbers can be as large as 6 by 6 and up to 20 feet long. The boards do not have knots to work around, either. T
he wood is of a high density, which helps it resist scratches, and it also does not get slick easily. It is actually considered to have almost twice the strength of oak, which is known to be a very hard, durable type of wood.
You may be thinking of the depletion of the rain forest, and may be wondering if Brazillian Ipe decking is a good choice for the environment. In reality, loggers who harvest Ipe trees are able to choose the largest trees and maintain wood lots in an environmentally sensitive way.
The native people, because of their poverty, tend to burn areas that feature these trees in order to make pasture for their cattle. This burning of these valuable trees is what is causing the depletion of the rain forest. Forestry is only responsible for about 6 percent of the loss of forest in the tropics.
Brazillian Ipe decking can be purchased in tongue and groove boards. There are also fasteners available that make it easy to put a deck together. Ipe has a dark, elegant look that everyone is sure to appreciate.
In addition to decks, Brazilian Ipe is suitable for garden bridges, gazebos, tables, benches, and lawn or patio furniture. It can also be used indoors for flooring. Ipe can be kept it’s natural dark brown or allowed to weather into a silver gray color.
Ipe Deck Pricing
Because it has to be imported from South America, Brazillian Ipe decking is not cheap, but considering the durability of the wood, the extra expense may be worth it for many home owners. A 2 by 6 board will probably cost you around five dollars per foot in length.
Short boards of only three or four feet can be much cheaper, costing only around two dollars per foot for 1 by 4’s. Very long boards will cost more per foot.
When you receive your imported Brazillian Ipe decking wood, you should let it sit for a few days so that it can adjust to the humidity and temperature of your local conditions. You will want to use air dried lumber for outdoor uses and kiln dried lumber for inside uses. The kiln dried ipe lumber will expand if used outdoors.
When putting your Brazillian Ipe decking together, you should leave about 1/16 of an inch gap between boards for drainage of rainwater. You will need to use premium carbide saw blades because the wood is so hard.
Cut ends of boards that are exposed will need to have an end sealant painted on withing 24 hours of the time the cut was made. Ipe lumber can be glued as well, using an epoxy or polyurethane glue.