Special Situations in Deck Building


Florida, the Caribbean, Bahamas, USVI and Other wet sunny climates

Florida the land of sunshine and hurricanes. Overall, alligators and termites do not bother Brazilian hardwoods like Ipe. However, the Florida sun bakes everything to a crisp. In addition, many of the Florida decks are really docks.

Ipe Finishing over Water

Docks take special care when applying a finisher over water. It is illegal in most (if not all) states to put any oil into a wetland area. There are even federal statutes about allowing oil to spill in water. The only finisher that we have found that is safe for water use is Flood Finisher. Flood is water based and is safe for lakes and the ocean. Be aware that Flood is a very temperamental finish. We recommend you call the Flood help line prior to application and make sure the tell you all of the intricacies and nuance of Flood Finish.


Long Lasting Finishers

If your deck is over land you can use Ipe Oil, Messmers, or any of the high end oil based finishers. The local contractors recommend hand rubbing the finisher into the wood. As Ipe or any Brazilian hardwood is so dense just applying it to the surface does not adhere to the wood. Hand rubbing take longer but the results also last much longer. You should consider hand rubbing in any area that gets strong direct sun.


Face screwing is the best wherever you have strong winds. When you are facing a hurricane, that is some strong wind. If you are desire the hidden fastener look, you should strongly consider the Ipe Clip Extreme. The Ipe Clip Extreme is a clip that is wind rated. No one or no product can guarantee your deck will survive the 150 MPH winds of a class 5 hurricane. It does make sense to use a product that was designed to help hold your deck as long as possible.

Ipe Decks over water

Bridges and Dock that are low over water have special circumstance you need to be aware of. As by design, the bottom of the Ipe will always be humid you should expect your dock to cup. Depending upon you or your customer’s need this may or may not be a problem. We have one customer who built a 700 sq ft dock (30×20 plus ramp). His view is I am on the dock to enjoy it not to look at the boards. However, some customer may be more critical. You should always advise your customer of the potential of cupping.

Georgia Decks or Mountainous Regions

Decks high off of the ground

Whenever you are comtimpltating a deck that is more than about 8 feet off of the ground you should strive to do all your work on the top of the deck. If you use a fastening system that attaches from below then you or your contractor will be moving ladders or scaffalting. This takes a lot of extra time (read labor) when builing your deck.

Texas Decks or Decks in the Plains

Decks that are low to the ground

also need to be planned for potential issues. Any wood that is too close to the ground may cup. It is recommended that you have 24″ of ventilation.