If you’re thinking ipe will be your choice of decking material, or you’re lucky enough to already have an ipe deck, good for you. Ipe is a stunning natural wood and a top choice for decking and siding.
A premium Brazilian hardwood, ipe has a deep, rich and luxurious amber hue, and will last for decades with very little maintenance required. If left untreated, ipe will weather naturally and slowly turn a nice, silvery-grey color. However, if you want to keep your ipe deck’s original, lustrous look for years to come, here are a few tips on how to apply a finish like a pro:
Firstly, it’s important to know that there are two general types of finishes for wood: film-forming coatings and penetrating oil finishes. The next important fact to know is never, ever, ever use a film-forming coating on an ipe deck. Ever. Yes, a film coating will look nice for a while, but it doesn’t take long before they start to flake and peel and then you’ll have to strip your deck and refinish it with the right product: a penetrating oil finish.
Penetrating oils provide excellent UV protection and conditioning for your ipe deck. Plus, you can vary the shade or color of the wood without obscuring it’s fine, beautiful grain, one of the primary reasons why ipe is so popular. We have a variety of great penetrating oil products and cleaners at The Decking Superstore and can help you pick out the right one and the right amount for you.
Ipe is a very dense wood with a tight cell structure. As such, it absorbs penetrating oils differently than a softwood like pine or cedar would. Softwoods readily absorb finishes, so you only have to work the stain or oil in with a few passes of your brush. With ipe, however, you’ll want to apply oil to a section of the deck (called a course) and then move on to the next course. After about 15 minutes, you’ll need to go back to the first course and wipe the excess oil off, much like you would with a piece of fine wood furniture. Once you’re good at it, you should be able to get about four of five courses going before going back to finish the cycle. Also, don’t be tempted to use a shortcut and apply the oil with a sprayer. Use a brush or cloth. Trust us on this.
If your ipe deck hasn’t been built yet, pre-stain the boards on all six sides before installing them (sides five and six are the two ends of the board). This will give your ipe the highest level of protection, particularly if the deck is low to the ground where it will absorb moisture.
Stick to these tips and regularly clean your deck of debris and mildew and you’ll have a great-looking deck that will be the envy of the neighbourhood.
All our ipe is sustainably harvested from certified growers and is available in a variety of lengths and dimensions. For more information on this great decking material, contact us at The Decking Superstore.