Ipe is a special and unique type of tropical wood that is found only in South and Central America. As compared to the other decking materials, ipe is much stronger and resistant to pests and weather. It has a natural dark red and brown color that many people prefer, though you can also go for more intense and darker shades if you want to. Some homeowners simply seal it without adding any stain or color to enjoy its natural shade.
Apart from the hardwood, an ipe deck consists of many other materials such as concrete, ledgers, beams, bolts, etc. and cost of all these materials are added to the cost of overall decking. Many owners play safe and use other hardwoods for beams and other things and ipe as a surface material. This lowers the overall cost and also gives the deck a wonderful look.
Here some factors that make ipe one of the best woods for outdoor usage:
Rugged and Durable: Ipe is one of the world’s densest woods due to its dense cellular structure. It is a rugged wood that is resistant to rot, mold, insects like termites, and even fire. The wood does not even need any external treatment to help it repel pests. The reason it is so resistant is because of its natural oils and dense cellular structure. Its expansion and contraction ratio is lesser than any other material. All these benefits result in a wood that is not only good looking but can also outlast other decking options.
Low Maintenance: Ipe wood decking is a low maintenance surface. Though not necessarily needed, you can, for additional protection, seal it with a rose oil based sealant like penofin and wash it annually with a hydrogen peroxide based cleaner. The cleaner will remove the grime and mold spores. If you want to maintain its natural brown patina you can apply a coat of penofin after the annual cleaning.
Non-Slippery Surface: Ipe decking is non-slippery due to its cellular structure. This makes the wood extremely useful in places that are close to pools or as outdoor decking in areas that see frequent rainfall.
Cool Surface: Ipe wood retains lesser heat than its counterparts and remains cool even in harsh summers. It also develops far lesser cracks than other woods so you do not have to worry about any splintering.