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By Chris | October 16, 2008 - 3:22 pm - Posted in Alternative Materials, Decks & Fences

Ipe (aka Brazilian hardwood, ironwood, and others) has become exceptionally popular as deck lumber in recent years – so much so that I have seen ipe deck lumber prices as high as $10 per board foot during short term ipe shortages.

ipe deck lumber makes beautiful long-lasting decksThe advantages of ipe deck lumber are clear and include:

  • Excellent fire-resistance rating (A1, the same as concrete)
  • Naturally high decay and insect resistance (basically, it’s a non-issue)
  • Beautiful dark wood
  • Hardness rating is about 3 times red oak
  • Easily lasts 25 years as decking

When exposed to sun over time, Ipe deck lumber develops a silver-gray tone but its original dark color can be renewed with a pressure washer.

Working with Ipe Deck Lumber

Because of its hardness, ipe decking requires a few extra drill bits, saw blades, and time. Pre-drill all holes and keep your saw blades sharp to avoid damaging the wood while cutting. Prepare to kill a few drill bits and blades.

There are a few deck clip options you can use if you buy ipe deck lumber with grooves cut on the edges.? This allows you to build your ipe deck without having visible screws on top.

Ipe does not easily accept stains or protective treatments but most people buy largely for the color and its natural resistance is so excellent it usually does not need protection anyway.

Ipe Deck Lumber is NOT for Hippies

Ipe wood comes mostly from forests ranging from Mexico to Northern Argentina and many of the trees logged for ipe lumber are probably taken illegally.? Fortunately, most of the ipe lumber now used comes from cultivated trees.? If you are concerned about the social and environmental issues around using imported wood, check that your ipe deck lumber is FSC certified.? Although, FSC certifications have been forged before, you can generally rest assured that FSC certified ipe deck lumber comes from legitimate forests, conscientious timber companies, and responsible lumber dealers. Of course, responsibility might cost more.

1 Comment

  1. February 2, 2009 @ 9:07 am


    […] with cellular PVC decking materials. The TC-4 is perfect for exotic hardwood decking lumber like Ipe and Teak. The TC-G offers the fastest installation available today with pre-grooved decking or […]

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