Category Archives: Ipe Brazilian hardwood

South America offers robust wood option for decking

Ipe deck in Lees Summit MO

Ipe deck in Lees Summit MO

It comes from the warm, wet environment of South America.  Its origins make it naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attacks.  It is Ipe (pronounced “EE-pay”) wood from Brazil. It has other interesting qualities as well.  Ipe is so dense that if you drop it in a pool, it will sink.  It is 8-times harder than California Redwood.  It is also known as Brazilian Walnut or Iron Wood.  A deck made with Ipe can last 50 years or more and still look good.

Whether or not your decking material can float or sink probably doesn’t matter to you, but some of Ipe’s other qualities are very attractive to homeowners considering deck material options.  In the past. Ipe popularity seems to be increasing as we’ve had more requests recently about this super durable wood.  Ipe is very attractive: it has a natural reddish brown color that varies in shade and hue and has a very tight grain.  In order to maintain its beautiful finish, it is typically sealed with an oil-based sealant, depending on how much weather it will experience.

Lenexa KS ipe deck by Archadeck

This close-up of the Lenexa KS Ipe deck shows the beautiful dark color and the color variety in the different boards.

Ipe can be used in many different designs for both outdoor decks and enclosed porches.  It can be used in flooring, railing, and in some cases, trim detail.  Its look and style are very different from the more common North American hardwoods.  It is also distinct from PVC and man made lumbers, though it rivals them in durability.  The promise of a long life and good looks wins many homeowners over.

There are some other things to consider when you are researching Ipe.  It requires more time and skill to work with because it is so hard and dense.  Costs for materials and labor will be higher with Ipe than they will with more common woods like cedar and redwood.  Archadeck is proud to be one of only a few experienced Ipe deck builders in Kansas City.  We are familiar with Ipe and know how to make it work and use it to its best advantage.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

As fun as exotic wood facts are, hardness, durability, appearance, decay resistance and cost are more important to consider.  After you have spent a little time exploring your options, invite us over to answer your questions and give you a free consultation.  We want to help you pick the materials and design that will best suit your project.

If you’re considering adding an outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851 – 3325 or drop us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. For more Ipe deck pictures, please visit the Ipe deck photo gallery on our website.

Switching out a Lenexa KS cedar deck for Ipe

This Lenexa family had an old cedar deck that was rotted and had problems. It was time for a new deck. They liked having a natural wood deck but they wanted something that was exceptionally durable. They were also looking for a larger deck for entertainment and to fit more people.

ipe deck Lenexa KS with sealer lr

This large Ipe deck is sealed to maintain the beautiful color

Ipe is one of the most durable woods available. It’s durability and strength come from it density and hardness. Various woods’ hardness is measured on a scale called the Janka hardness scale. Western Red Cedar has a hardness rating of just under 600 – 800 whereas Ipe has a rating of about 3700 on the same scale making Ipe the perfect choice for these homeowners looking for a durable natural wood.

Lenexa KS ipe deck by Archadeck

This close-up of the Lenexa KS Ipe deck shows the beautiful dark color and the color variety in the different boards.

As you can see in the picture above, Ipe has a strikingly dark and rich color. This family really liked the dark color. One consideration to make when selecting a decking material or other materials for your outdoor living space is maintenance. Natural wood is beautiful and as I always say nothing looks as much like real wood as wood itself. But unlike composites or other synthetic outdoor building materials, natural wood requires sealing and may require staining based on personal taste preferences. The maintenance frequency will depend highly on weather, the amount of direct sunlight affecting the space, and use or traffic on the space. Wood decks whether cedar, pressure-treated pine, or Ipe may require maintenance every 1-2 years. Treating and maintaining Ipe is a little different than other natural woods. Ipe is treated with an oil that seals the wood and helps it to maintain its rich dark color.

Archadeck Ipe deck Lenexa KS

This Ipe deck has black composite TimberTech Radiance rail

For low-maintenance railing, the family selected black composite TimberTech radiance rail. This railing has a beautiful narrow profile which along with the dark color directs the eye easily to the area beyond the deck. TimberTech Radiance rail comes in several different colors. This family really liked the high-end look of this railing.

Lenexa KS black TimberTech radiance rail Archadeck Ipe deck

Notice the way your eye passes through the railing to enjoy the view on the other side. Dark railing with a slender profile aids in accomplishing this objective.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are considering adding a deck, porch or other outdoor structure to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation. We can be reached at (913) 851 – 3325 or kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.