Ipe Decking Installation
Installation Questions for Ipe Decking and all Brazilian Hardwoods
Handling and Storage: Ipe is supplied partially air dried and should be stored out of direct sunlight and allowed to stabilize and acclimate to the installation environment humidity levels before installation. It is best to allow for groundside ventilation in the design as proper air circulation is necessary for long term stability of Ipe. When installing, allow 1/16" gap between the deck boards for circulation of air. When Ipe is fully seasoned, shrinkage of approx. 1/16" on 4" wide boards to 1/8" on 6" wide boards may be expected.
Recommended Ipe Spans: 16" OC is the maximum recommended span for all 1x6 Brazilian Decking.
Always check with your local building code or an Engineer before starting your deck project. Many areas in Florida and Louisiana (and other southern states) will mandate deck and dock minimums.
Ventilation: The design of the installation must allow for adequate ground-side ventilation. Proper air circulation beneath the deck is critical to insure dimensional and mechanical stability of any decking boards. Ventilation also helps reduce the potential for cupping.
Deck Spacing: Some shrinkage will occur as the wood seasons and dries. The typical rate of shrinkage can be approximately 1/16” on 3/4 x 3-1/2” deck boards and 1/8” on 3/4 x 5-1/2 and 1 x 5-1/2 deck boards. (Please note: In hot, dry regions, shrinkage may exceed the averages). When installing Ipe deck boards during the winter season, when temperatures are below 40º, we suggest the boards be spaced with a 1/16” gap. Deck boards requiring straightening should be secured in the desired position until properly fastened. Screws may break if used to force boards into position.
Cutting and Drilling: Use name brand carbide tipped saw blades and for smooth cuts due to the hardness of Ipe. Pre drill a pilot hole and countersink when using screws as fasteners.
End Sealing: Ends should be sealed immediately after cutting using a clear aqueous wax end sealer to reduce end checking.
Fastening:Boards should be pre-drilled to help prevent splitting of the wood by the fasteners and we suggest only the use of stainless steel fasteners for your Ipe decking installation.
Fasteners: For residential and light duty commercial installations, we suggest the use of stainless steel Headcote screws, 2-1/2” minimum length. The head of the Headcote screw is much smaller than the typical bugle-head screws required for softwood deck boards, and will be much less noticeable. When using the surface screw method, pre-drill pilot holes with a specially designed Smart-Bit. The Smart-Bit drills and counter-sink a perfect hole as it has a collar to prevent your drilling too deep. We suggest two (2) screws per joist when installing the deck boards. Always consult your local building codes for deck board fastening requirements.
Hidden Fasteners: We carry three types of hidden fastening system. The grooved board systems are quicker to install and seem much easier than other systems. Unlike other hidden fasteners the grooved board systems are istalled completely from the top of the deck. Frequently decks are either high or very close to the ground. In these cases, a below deck hidden fastener would either require a ladder or laying on the ground. Either way it would require you to be constantly looking up and turning your head and neck into a cramped and un-natural position. The grooved board systems, being installed from the top of the deck requires no additional body strain. It also avoids moving ladders beneath a deck every few minutes.
Fastening: Coated or galvanized steel fasteners may be used, but they tend to have a shorter life span and may cause staining of the wood. Stainless steel screws are considered the best and they will also eliminate potential chemical reactions or staining at the fastener location.
Insects: All Brazilian decking is Resistant to Termites, Pine Beetles, Marine Borers.