Tips and Tricks that the Contractors know

UV Finisher

Ipé Oil is a UV Finisher that helps to preserve the color of your wood. Ipé will last up to 100+ years whether you do anything to it or not but it will turn to a silvery-gray color over time if you do not put a UV Finisher on it from time to time. It is kind of like a suntan lotion to block the suns rays from turning your wood gray. It is surprising, it is still a beautiful wood even when it turns gray, but you will loose the beautiful walnut shades that it has if you do not use the UV Finisher.

One of the cool things about the hardwoods is that even if you let you wood turn gray over time or get pre-occupied and it starts to turn gray, you can use Messmer’s Cleaner/Brighteners for hardwood and it will bring your color back and you can then put the finisher back on and have the color back again!

Here are some Ipe Decking tricks of the trade that you might not read anywhere:

  • When you are finished with your deck and have washed it off (not with a power washer), drizzle a little water on it with your hand, if the water soaks in within 30 seconds, your wood is a good consistency to accept the finisher.
  • Apply the finisher when it is between 50 and 90 degrees (I know, good luck in the summer or winter depending where you live)!
  • Do not apply in the hot mid-day sun. The sun will warm up the boards and the finisher will not soak in correctly.
  • If you have any “puddles” in the finisher, smooth them out or they will dry tacky and look different than the rest of your deck.
  • Wait a couple of days or so and put a second coat on (for the first time only) when you do your deck.
  • Even if you are going to let your wood turn gray over time, put an initial coat on to kind of “condition” the wood and then let it slowly go gray over time.

Wax for the ends of your boards.

The wax is probably the least expensive item that you will purchase, but it is the best thing that I can tell you to do. The boards all come with a wax on the ends to help prevent cracking and/or checking down the road. It works in 2 ways: It helps prevent excess water getting into the end grains on the board but it also helps to protect the board from loosing moisture on the ends and then drying out and spitting!

You do want to be careful when applying the wax because it will show and also repel the UV Finisher if you are putting one on your new deck. Being careful now, will save you time in sanding with an 80 grit sandpaper later!

Steps for your deck.

Using a solid 12” wide stair tread outdoors is not the best application. You should use 2 pieces of 2×6, or 3 pieces of 2×4, etc. This is much better for drainage, ventilation, and to minimize the chance for cupping.

Everyone assume they should have a solid tread just like on their hardwood floors in the house; but, those floors don’t get rain and snow!