Ipe decks look fantastic. In addition to being incredibly beautiful, ipe is also an amazingly dense and durable wood species, so it can withstand a lot of traffic and use.
While it’s true natural hardwoods like ipe decking don’t require much maintenance, any material that’s exposed to the elements year-round, as well as events like damaging UV rays, foot traffic, tracked grit and dirt, and even red wine and bbq sauce spills, will require some maintenance so it stays looking its stunning best. Here are a few easy tips and pointers to keep your deck getting compliments for decades to come.
The first step to ipe maintenance is getting into the habit of doing routine cleaning. It doesn’t take much: just get a good quality outdoor broom and once a week sweep your deck clean of any debris. Leaves, stones and dirt can all cause stains and water build up, or get caught underfoot and mark or cut the wood.
Ensuring that the spaces between your deck boards are draining properly is also key to a long-lasting, beautiful deck. Remove all the furniture on the deck, including the bbq, if you have one. Using a large screwdriver, putty knife, or similar object, loosen any built-up debris between the deck boards, particularly near the joists where it can’t fall through. Instead of sweeping out the debris, use a shop vac to vacuum it out, then rinse the deck thoroughly with a garden hose. At The Decking Superstore, we recommend you DO NOT use a pressure washer to clean your ipe deck or to clear debris as it can damage the wood fibers and roughen the surface.
While the furniture is still off your deck, look for any stains from spilled food or drinks, and check the area around the bbq for spilled grease marks. Any areas that had planters or flower boxes may have pollen, algae or mildew stains or marks from water build up. These can all be cleaned with a scrubbing brush and a wood and deck cleaner solution like Messmer’s Wood Cleaner (never use regular bleach or other powerful cleaners not meant for wood decking). For best results, we have a variety of cleaners for both wood and composite decks that will do a fantastic job. Hose clean the area once you’re done.
If your deck has any deep scrapes or scuffs you want to remove, you’ll need to sand them out using an 80 grit sandpaper. If your deck is unfinished and has no sealer or stain on it, you can simply sand out the scrapes. The wood will look brighter and newer where you’ve removed the top layer, but will fade back to the same silvery-grey color. If you have a finish on the deck, you’ll want to vacuum up the sawdust and reapply the same finish.
The fact you have an ipe deck means you not only have a beautiful addition to your home, but you’ve also added a great investment. By following a simple cleaning routine and an annual maintenance check, you’ll have a stunning ipe deck that will rack up compliments for a long, long time.
For more information on ipe or any other decking question, contact us at The Decking Superstore.