Ipe is a great choice for decking because it is durable, low-maintenance, resistant to moisture and insect damage, and long-lasting. Moreover, it is slip- and water-resistant. Discerning designers, architects, and homeowners also appreciate its rich red-brown color that can make any outdoor space stunning. However, choosing the right materials for ipe decking installation is crucial to ensure you can enjoy and experience those benefits. Use this guide to help you pick the appropriate, high-quality boards.
Pick the right supplier.
Buy ipe boards only from reputable and trustworthy suppliers. That way, you can be confident in the quality of their products. They also ensure proper handling and provide other materials you may need.
Ensure proper storage and handling
Ipe must be partially air-dried when delivered to you. Store it away from direct sunlight to acclimate and stabilize the wood to the humidity levels of the installation area.
Enabling ground-side ventilation in your design will allow proper air circulation to keep your ipe decking installation stable in the long run. While installing, ensure a 1/16” gap between the deck boards. When fully seasoned, expect 4”-wide boards to shrink around 1/16” and 6”-wide boards to shrink to 1/8”.
The ideal ipe span is 16” maximum for 1×6 Brazilian decking. However, check local building codes or consult an engineer before you build. For instance, many areas in Florida, Louisiana, and other southern states mandate minimums on decks and docks.
Always ensure a well-designed deck before installation. There should be sufficient deck spacing to let the wood contract or expand with the changing temperatures and enough ground-side ventilation for air circulation.
Use the right techniques and materials for installation.
Invest in name-brand carbide-tipped saw blades for smoother cuts. Pre-drill pilot holes and countersinks when using screws as fasteners for ipe decking installation. Seal the ends immediately using a clear aqueous wax sealer after cutting to minimize end checking.
Expert installers recommend using stainless steel fasteners. Consider Headcote or Deckwise screws in 2 to ½” minimum length for light-duty commercial and residential installation. Check with suppliers of ipe hardwood for hidden fastening systems.