Ipe is the lowest maintenance wood product you can use to cover your deck, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make sure to install and care for it correctly. Since it does last so long, you will want to make sure that you install it correctly the first time you try. Here are some common issues and how to keep them from happening to you.
Use the right hardware
Always use stainless steel screws when installing via clips or top screwing. If you use a Galvinized or Ceramic screw system, then it will leach into the wood and cause black spots where those screws are. We carry the proper stainless steel screws, so that you can make sure you deck will look great for decades.
Alway End Seal
Ipe can develope end checks, which is when the ends dry too quickly and may crack. To prevent this, you should make sure to Anchor seal every fresh cut end. This will prevent checking and allow the wood to acclimate properly. If you apply anchor seal on all cuts, checking will not be an issue.
Dirt and Mildew
Depending on the amount of traffic or environment your ipe decking is in, you may have dirt or Mildew build up. Keep in mind that Ipe is much more mildew resistant than composite decking, but, if you do have dirt or Mildew the recommendation is to use a cleaner/brightener combination to bring back the bright clean look of you ipe decking.
Make sure you are buying Top Grade Ipe
You will also want to make sure that you are buying top grade ipe wood. The lower the grade the more likely that the wood has knots or inconsistencies. We only carry premium decking and have a supplier that is a direct importer sp quality will not be an issue with buying from eDeck.com .
Properly Straighten Deck Boards
When installing the boards, you want to make sure to use a Bowrench to make sure all boards are as straight as possible when you are drilling them in. If you do not using something like the Bowrench, then you could have difficulty getting with board spacing consistency. The Bowrench can alway work as a third hand.
Pre-grooved vs non-grooved
If you are trying to decide between pre-grooved or non-grooved decking, you need to understand the time it will take to top drill all of the holes needed for non-grooved decking, and then drilling and installing the plugs. You can use our calculators to see how many fasters are needed for each type of decking and then decide what makes more sense for your applications. It also depends on your vision for you final project. Are you okay with seeing tops screws, would you prefer plugs to cover them, or would you prefer not to see any screws at all.
Use the right tools
Ipe is one of the hardest woods you can find and that is why it lasts so long. However with it’s strength comes the need to have the right tools to drill and cut it. You want to make sure if you are using cordless to use 18v plus or you can use corded power tools as well. As for Circular saw blades, you want to make sure you are using a carbide saw blade and may want to carry a back-up in case of dulling. For drill bits we recommend carbide, titanium, or high speed steel you will want to buy several of these as well because they will dull with use.
Safety with Ipe Dust
Ipe dust when working does have silica naturally in the wood. You will want to take some precautions when working with depending on how sensitive your skin is. Alway wear proper safety glasses, ear protection, and a mask. If you have sensitive skin, you will want to wear long sleeves and pants while cutting or drill and then shower once done working to clean all of the dust away. We also recommend an electric fan if possible to remove as much as possible.
Take you time to plan and do every step correctly for the install of your Ipe decking. Since these decks can last over 45+ years, you want to make sure that you take your time to install the properly. Make sure to treat your project as the finished carpentry it is and not as a rush carpentry job.
This advice should help you avoid issues or problems with your Ipe decking installs. If anyone has any additional suggestions or ideas about the best ways to keep from having a Ipe problems, let us know below in the comments section or feel free to contact us.