What is Ipe Wood?
Ipe (spelled ipe and pronounced “ee-pay”), also called Brazilian walnut, is a beautiful exotic wood from South America. Ipe Wood is used for Ipe decking, Ipe tiles, and other outdoor applications, Ipe wood structures are hard, strong, and naturally resistant to rot, abrasion and weather.
It is almost twice as dense as most woods and up to five times harder. It is dark brown in color, like a mahogany, so not only lasts a long time but has the beauty of a fine interior wood. Ipe wood will silver if it is allowed to age. The original dark color can be brought back to its original shade with the use of a deck cleaner/brightening system and application of a hardwood finish specifically formulated for Ipe and other exotic hardwoods, such as Messmer’s UV Plus. Ipe wood has become a very popular and inexpensive alternative to teak wood for usage in decking, furniture and more.
- OTHER NAMES: Brazilian Walnut, Lapacho, Pau Lope
- ORIGIN: Brazil, tropical South-America
- APPEARANCE: Heartwood ranges from olive brown to amber to near black, often with lighter and darker striping, sharply demarcated from the whitish or yellowish sapwood. Texture is fine to medium, low luster, with a straight to irregular wide grain pattern
- DENSITY: Janka scale hardness is 3684, making it extremely hard and durable
- WEIGHT: 71 lbs. / cu. ft., or approximately 5.9 lbs. per board foot
- DRYING: Ipe dries extremely well with little checking, twisting or bowing
- WORKABILITY: Ipe can be difficult to work with, without the proper tooling. It can have a blunting effect on cutting edges, so pre-drilling for screws is recommended. Carbide-tipped saw blades should be used, making it much easier to cut. Ipe comes in long lengths, but planks do not bend well. It sands very smoothly with little or no splintering. Boards can be straight-line ripped and the edges can be eased, or rounded, using carbide tooling. Biscuit joiners work well for grooving hidden fastener systems. Ipe is said to glue well with certain adhesives and it is advised to use caution if using a nail gun for fastening.
- DURABILITY: Ipe can be used without preservatives or additional treatments. Ipe is expected to last 25+ years with little to no degradation from rot, decay or termite infestation
- PRESERVATION: Ipe heartwood is extremely resistant to attack by decay, fungi and termites, but not as resistant to marine borers. Due to its density, it is very resistant to preservation treatments
- FINISHING: If left unfinished, like any other natural wood, Ipe will turn gray. Due to Ipe’s density, it is difficult for any finish treatment to penetrate the wood. Outside in the elements on a horizontal surface, caretakers can expect to regularly re-coat