How to use an Finisher Photos
Finishers, are they needed?
Ipe wood has its own natural decay defenses, so sealing is not necessary. Ipe's natural density will prevent water absorption, cupping, splintering and twisting issues common with traditional decking materials. It will remain smooth and splinter free, aging to a silver patina that will outlast most woods with no chemical coating.
However, if you want original colors, use an Finish . Finishing is needed if you desire to keep the original colors of your beautiful Brazilian Hardwood deck. Use a product with a strong UV inhibitor. Below is a list of products that have been used by local builders. I'm told these finishes last for 1-2 years. How often you need to reapply will vary depending on what area of the country you live in and your weather exposure.
Be sure not to overcoat. Excessive application of any of these Finishers may create a sticky surface and will not improve their performance. In fact, over coating will detract from the appearance of your deck and you will start seeing a “puddle” look. For best results the product directions state to apply a thin coat and remove excess with a clean rag. We have heard that using small push broom as a brush to coat speeds up application. However we do not know the long term effectiveness of this method. To recoat clean the deck and use the same process to coat the Finish as during the original sealing.
Do not stop in the middle. When sealing your deck, be sure to start at one or two boards and coat the entire length. If you stop in the middle of your deck, be sure to only stop after treating an entire section. If you stop in the middle of a board and start again the next day, it will be obvious when you finish.
UV Finish Choices that include UV protection like Ipe Oil or Penofin are very effective.
Bringing back your original colors, or, How to Rejuvenate your Ipe deck
If you have allowed Ipe to age to its silver color and now have changed your mind and would like the russet brown color back again, you can use a pressure washer on the surface. With some care and a little luck you get the original color back. Test in an inconspicuous place first!
Streaking. Be careful as pressure washing can leave a streaking pattern if water pressure or application is uneven. Again, always test an inconspicuous place. Try to maintain an even travel across the wood surface or you'll leave "lap" marks on the deck as the water penetrates to different levels into the wood surface. Try a small area first and gain some experience.
Sanding? It is possible to sand the top layer to expose the beautiful colors below. The problem is this doesn't help too much on the small edges between boards.
Ipe Deck Cleaning:
How to Clean your Deck Photos
Note: It is the responsibility of you the owner or installer to adequately test pressure washing, cleaning or finishing for product suitability and application method for your particular installation. The above are techniques that have worked for others in the past and we want to share information that we hear for the benefit of others. However, you need to test and insure that any of these ideas will work in your specific application.
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