How to Deck Maintenance, Finisher & Deck Cleaning For Ipe, Garapa, or any Hardwood Deck

The Overview: Ipe or Brazilian Hardwood Finishing & Maintenance

Maintenance Tips with Pictures

Ipe Deck Finish, Ipe Deck Cleaning ,Ipe Deck Cleaning 2,Cleaning your deck
Natural Look: If a natural weathered look is desired, Ipe decking will normally season in 6 to 12 months. At this stage, the wood will continue to weather to a silvery gray color and no further maintenance will be required except for normal cleaning.

Finished Wood Color: For installations where a “finished wood” appearance is desired, apply a premium penetrating finish with a high U.V. inhibitor rating. The finish should be reapplied periodically to maintain the desired color, depending upon the exposure to the sun and surface wear. Finishers which include UV protection like re very effective. We carry Ipe Oil and Penofin finishing products.

Getting the Gray out: If you have allowed your deck to gray and wish to restore Brazilian deck original color we suggest Messmers Brightener Cleaner. This should remove most of the gray colored surface film and expose most of the original wood coloration. To maintain this appearance, follow the “finished wood” appearance recommendations. Ipe decking will enhance your outdoor living for decades to come.

Sanding: Their is no sanding needed for any our our Brazilian Hardwoods. I hear this question from California with people familiar with Redwood. I do not know redwood but from what I am being told by customers it splinters and requires a lot of maintenance. Brazilian Hardwoods do not require sanding or anything beyond cleaning prior to resealing..

The Details:

How to use an Finisher Photos
Finishers, are they needed?
Ipe wood has its own natural decay defenses, so sealing is not necessary. Ipe’s natural density will prevent water absorption, cupping, splintering and twisting issues common with traditional decking materials. It will remain smooth and splinter free, aging to a silver patina that will outlast most woods with no chemical coating.

However, if you want original colors, use an Finish . Finishing is needed if you desire to keep the original colors of your beautiful Brazilian Hardwood deck. Use a product with a strong UV inhibitor. Below is a list of products that have been used by local builders. I’m told these finishes last for 1-2 years. How often you need to reapply will vary depending on what area of the country you live in and your weather exposure.

Be sure not to overcoat. Excessive application of any of these Finishers may create a sticky surface and will not improve their performance. In fact, over coating will detract from the appearance of your deck and you will start seeing a “puddle” look. For best results the product directions state to apply a thin coat and remove excess with a clean rag. We have heard that using small push broom as a brush to coat speeds up application. However we do not know the long term effectiveness of this method. To recoat clean the deck and use the same process to coat the Finish as during the original sealing.
Do not stop in the middle. When sealing your deck, be sure to start at one or two boards and coat the entire length. If you stop in the middle of your deck, be sure to only stop after treating an entire section. If you stop in the middle of a board and start again the next day, it will be obvious when you finish.

UV Finish Choices that include UV protection like Ipe Oil or Penofin are very effective.
Bringing back your original colors, or, How to Rejuvenate your Ipe deck
If you have allowed Ipe to age to its silver color and now have changed your mind and would like the russet brown color back again, you can use a pressure washer on the surface. With some care and a little luck you get the original color back. Test in an inconspicuous place first!
Streaking. Be careful as pressure washing can leave a streaking pattern if water pressure or application is uneven. Again, always test an inconspicuous place. Try to maintain an even travel across the wood surface or you’ll leave “lap” marks on the deck as the water penetrates to different levels into the wood surface. Try a small area first and gain some experience.
Sanding? It is possible to sand the top layer to expose the beautiful colors below. The problem is this doesn’t help too much on the small edges between boards.

Ipe Deck Cleaning:

How to Clean your Deck Photos
Note: It is the responsibility of you the owner or installer to adequately test pressure washing, cleaning or finishing for product suitability and application method for your particular installation. The above are techniques that have worked for others in the past and we want to share information that we hear for the benefit of others. However, you need to test and insure that any of these ideas will work in your specific application.