You cannot go wrong with IPE wood if you are looking for a durable, long-lasting decking material. Ipe is known as ‘Ironwood’ and ‘Brazilian walnut’ because of its most distinctive feature: hardness and durability. On the Janka scale, it is 3680lb. That means the wood is three times harder than an oak floor or a maple baseball bat. So, it will typically require carbide-tipped tools and sharp, name brand saws with around 80 teeth for a nice and clean cut, and pre-drilled for installation. Identifying high-quality IPE should not be difficult when you keep the following factors in mind:
- The supplier – The key to high-quality Ipe wood is a dependable supplier with strict quality control. So, be sure to choose the right company that choose responsibly harvested IPE that complies with the Lacey act. Reputable suppliers pick only the highest-quality pieces by carefully inspecting each material before including them in their inventory. This way, they are able to provide only the best defect-free materials to you.
- Characteristics – Authentic IPE wood is brown, with small variations that add character to it. In some cases, you should be able to find a few boards in a darker shade of brown that are almost black. Some are red, and some may be greenish. In any case, the texture should be very fine, with a lovely graining pattern. Take note that each board will vary in grain and color, but the predominant hue should be medium brown.
- Durability – High-quality IPE is extremely durable and will not attract pine beetles, fungal and mildew growth, and termites. Its hardness makes it naturally resistant to scratches, and in case you accidentally drag something across your IPE wood deck, an orbital sander with 80 grits should bring it back to its smooth state. There is no need to preserve wood, as it will gracefully turn gray when exposed to the sun, but if you want to maintain the beautiful brown hue, take time to apply a UV blocking finisher periodically.