IPE is the highest quality decking material on the market because it is durable and aesthetically pleasing. However there are common problems with IPE decking that can be experienced by people who can spend a lot of money.
However, there is a solution for every problem.
The benefit of IPE deck material is that it is naturally resistant to rot and is the strongest wood on the market. But how do you care for your IPE decking in a way that will preserve not only its durability but aesthetics as well?
In today’s article, we will provide you with the top seven common problems with IPE decking and how you can solve them. Read on if you want to find out how to maintain the longevity of your IPE decking.
The problem that often occurs in all wooden decking is improper acclimatization. Even if you use Ipe outside, you still need to adapt to the conditions. If not, you will increase your chances of splitting and splitting over time.
- Improper Acclimation Problems
The good news is, Ipe is tougher than cedar or redwood. It adapts to temperature and withstands the elements better than other species. Ipe can handle high humidity, dry climates and excess humidity with ease, provided it is given enough time to acclimate to the site.
Brazilian hardwood in its original condition has a high moisture content. The level is lowered through a slow drying process to prevent cracking and cracking. The wood is stored in a shed or log yard for months, readjusting to its new environment.
Unfortunately, when the wood moved from the yard to a different climate, the acclimatization process started again. If Ipe moves from a humid area to an arid area, it can dry out too quickly. The rapid loss of moisture in any wood will cause cracking and separation of the surface.
There are three things you can do to overcome the possibility of this happening to your decking material.
First, make sure the Ipe you buy is a certain premium or grade. This wood has very few splits and cracks. Natural imperfections are limited to the surface of the board and will not affect its integrity.
Second, give the planks a few days to acclimate to their new home before cutting them down. The longer they sit on site, the sturdier they will be when it comes time to start your project. Let the wood expand and contract naturally before pressing it down with a saw and drill.
When you expose the wood grain, the humidity levels will change and spread throughout the wood. Applying sealer to the new cut ends will slow down the process and help prevent separation.
- Excessive Movement
Adequate airflow is important for maintaining your deck. Wood needs space to breathe, and air to help prevent moisture build-up. Without it, moisture will sink in, and your Ipe will start to warp.
Yes, Ipe wood is solid, but it still moves with changes in humidity and temperature. If the humidity below decks is higher than above, the wood will compensate for the difference when drying. This can cause clutches, crevices, and buckling.
To prevent this from happening, the airflow on all four sides must remain even. Make sure you space the joints evenly and leave room for expansion and drainage.
Even though you are building the lower deck, leave at least 18 ”for airflow under the beam. If wood is too close to the ground or concrete slab, the temperature can affect your Ipe. Consider oiling and sealing all four sides of the board.
Another way to solve this problem is to create a slope below your deck for good drainage and ventilation. Place the soil in a corner away from your house. Test with a hose to make sure water doesn’t pool near your foundation or slabs.
There are products designed for below deck drainage, such as membranes, waterproof flanges, and below deck ceiling systems. You can find this product online.
- Coloring, spots, and sealing
If sap, pollen, or leaves remain on the surface of the wood, it can cause dark stains. Regular cleaning of Ipe will help reduce its effect. Make sure to sweep your deck and rinse off the debris afterward.
Fading usually occurs in areas with high sunlight. You can use UV protection on your Ipe to reduce damaging rays. If your budget allows, consider looking for a tent that extends over your deck.
Oiling your Ipe or sealing it will protect the end result. If you prefer to leave your Ipe a natural gray, you can sand the freckles, but be careful not to burn the wood.
There are brightening chemicals on the market that you can use to lighten dark spots or discolorations. Look for products that are safe to use with Brazilian hardwoods.
If all else fails, you may have to use a wood peeler and reseal your boards. Be careful with these products as they contain volatile chemicals. Always wear breathing apparatus and gloves.
- Replacing the Damaged Board
Although IPE deck wood is the most durable material on the market, it is not completely resistant to breakage. Over the course of several years, you may have to replace damaged boards that are cracked or dry.
Sometimes spilled hot oil from the grill can damage your deck. If this happens, you may have to replace multiple boards.
Fortunately, you don’t have to replace the entire deck, which makes IPE wood an affordable option for decking. IPE is the only decking material you can replace hassle-free. Composite planks are also an excellent choice for decks, but they can be difficult to replace when damaged.
When replacing IPE boards, the new wood will naturally match the old decking. Although the new planks may be a lighter color, they will begin to darken over time and look more like old wooden planks on your deck.
To make it easier to replace a damaged IPE board, you should always choose a pre-drilling installation. There are several clip-in designs, but this makes it more difficult to replace your IPE board when you need it. It is recommended that you install this IPE board properly for a sturdier and safer structure.
- High Quality IPE Wood is Hard to Find
Other common IPE decking issues include not being able to find high-quality boards. Depending on your origin, it can be difficult to find the right IPE wood for your deck.
However, there is a solution to this problem. One aspect you should keep in mind is that some retailers may be short on IPE decking during Brazil’s monsoons.
This is because only five months of the year are dedicated to harvesting IPE timber. The rainy season in South America prevents loggers from extracting wood from the forest. Fortunately, IPE deck suppliers plan ahead to ensure they can always provide their customers with what they need. That’s why it’s important to find a supplier that never runs out of IPE deck wood.
So when you want to replace multiple IPE boards you can, because you know your supplier will have what you need.
- Maintain Your IPE Deck Twice a Year – Is It Too Much?
Most people claim that maintaining their IPE decking twice a year is too much work. However IPE decking does not require extensive maintenance, as it is only done annually. What’s more, you can choose not to oil your deck so that it turns gray.
On the other hand, most people will not skip the oiling process to prevent sun damage. But rest assured that the IPE decking material you choose will be extremely durable, so it will last a long time regardless of whether you oil once or twice a year.
Maintaining your IPE deck is much better than having to replace the boards due to damage and lack of proper maintenance. Annual maintenance will maintain the longevity of your deck and ensure it always looks good like new.
- Different Color Boards
It may be difficult for you to get an IPE deck that is one solid color, as it is not easy to find boards that are all the same color. If you choose plastic or composite wood, you will get planks of the same color. But with natural IPE wood, you will.
How Long Does the IPE Deck Last?
Your IPE deck will last for 50 years if you care for it the right way. The smooth IPE wood resembles mahogany, and is a solid, non-flammable material. So it’s no surprise that the firing rate for IPE decking is the same as for concrete or steel.
This means that IPE wood will not rot over time when exposed to water. That’s why it’s the perfect material for use on the deck of a boat. Because IPE wood is so dense, your deck is safe from termites and other digging creatures.
The IPE deck is the ideal investment for your home because of its long service life and low maintenance.
How Do I Care for My IPE Deck?
Maintaining IPE hardwood decking is easy. Just cover your deck with a weather resistant product. Also, it is advisable to reseal and stain your IPE deck twice a year. You will need to clean the deck before sanding and reinstall your sealant.
Choose a product specifically designed for IPE deck cleaning, such as Defy Wood Cleaner. This wood cleaning product opens the pores of the material to improve coloring. This is a safe oxygenated wood cleaner that deeply cleans your deck to give the surface shine.
If there are trees around your deck, use a soft broom or blower to clean up fallen leaf piles.
Does IPE Decking Need Sealing?
Yes, you will need to seal your IPE deck, but the sealing is not to prevent water damage. This is because the wood is dense and will not rot if exposed to excess water. People seal this tropical hardwood to protect it from sun damage.
You may experience drying damage the first month you have an IPE deck if you don’t seal it properly with the right product. Use an oil with excellent penetration like DeckWise. This oil seeps into the wood to prevent mold growth.
How Often Should I Oil My IPE Deck?
You should oil your IPE deck twice a year to prevent aesthetic loss and to prevent damage from drying. The best times to oil your IPE deck are once in the spring and again before fall. So, whether you are oiling the ground level deck or the upstairs level, always oil them twice a year.
If you oil the deck twice a year, it will increase the lifespan of the wood and prevent sun damage. The oil treatment will also accentuate the wood color and give it a beautiful glossy look. Make sure to choose stains and oils specially formulated for IPE wood that increase the life of the board.
Do Termites Eat IPE?
IPE wood is resistant to termite attack. These tiny insects eat wood to live off of the nutrients it provides. On the other hand, because IPE wood is very dense, termites have difficulty eating the material.
A study from a US Navy laboratory shows that IPE wood can withstand termite infestation for 15 years in soil. Other types of wood haven’t been able to withstand termite infestation for years in the soil, but IPE can.
Termites prefer wood that is easier to eat, such as dry or damp wood. That’s why it’s important to choose the right wood product for your deck, such as Brazilian walnut, to prevent structural damage from termites.
Should I Sand My IPE Deck?
Yes, you should always sand your deck, especially before staining or oiling your deck boards. Sand each board with an electric hand sander and remove any remaining dust. Apply your stain and oil according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
By sanding your deck, your stains and grease can easily rise to the surface. Sanding will remove old stains from the planks, so you can add a new color to your deck.
What Is The Best Finish For IPE Decking?
The best deck coating for IPE wood is Messmer’s UV Plus deck staining. It is a translucent wood stain and deck that protects exterior wood from the elements. UV Messmer products are formulated for pressure treated wood and IPE decks.
What’s more, this wood stain gives your IPE deck a natural look, and is available in two colors for you to choose from.
How Do You Make IPE Look New?
To keep your IPE looking new, you should have regular maintenance sanding and oiling your deck twice a year. You should also choose a cleaning product that is safe to use on the IPE deck to remove mold and mildew growth.
There are detergents on the market that are premixed and come in a spray bottle. Spray cleaner lets you spread the cleaning aid evenly across your deck so you don’t miss a spot.
On the other hand, you can sweep the area regularly to clean the deck of dust, leaves, and debris to keep it looking new.
When choosing a material for your deck it is important to choose composite or IPE decking so that it is easier to rejuvenate the wood surface. If your deck is starting to look dull, it might be time to grease the IPE board. Make sure you choose the correct IPE stain or sealant designed for IPE decks to ensure a smooth finish and leave a glossy finish on the board surface.
IPE decks are extremely durable as the material is naturally resistant to rot and most wood damaging insects. Because IPE wood is solid, it is also very resistant to fire, so it won’t catch fire easily if a fire breaks out in your home.
Although IPE is more expensive than other types of wood and there are common problems people have with the material, it is a property investment. This is because wood lasts up to 50 years without rotting, cracking, or tarnishing, especially when exposed to the elements.
So if you want a deck that lasts longer and requires less maintenance then you should choose IPE wood for your home. IPE is not only rugged, it adds style and sophistication to the exterior of your property.
Just make sure that you maintain your deck twice a year and you will have a stunning deck for years to come.