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Ipe has earned its great reputation by being one of the only hardwood decking products that will last as long as you own your house. It has a 40+ year lifespan, and this Brazilian tropical hardwood will add value and a lifetime of use and beauty to any deck, porch, siding, or interior flooring project.
Ipe is also known appropriately as “Ironwood” because of its remarkable hardness and density. The color is mostly a deep reddish brown though variation is possible as with all woods. Though there is not a standardized grading system for Ipe, J. Gibson McIlvain only imports what would commonly be known as Grade A Ipe. We consider Grade A Ipe to be clear of defects on at least 3 sides. Defects include knots, borer holes, sapwood, interlocking or reversing grain which will cause tearout when planing. In other words grade A Ipe will have a consistent color with straight or cathedral grain patterns with no holes or knots. Quartersawn Ipe will present some raised grain areas where the internal structure of the wood (medullary rays) is much harder and will appear as ridges that may need to be sanded. This is not a defect; but rather, and indication of a quartersawn board which will have very straight grain and be extremely stable.
Supplying only Grade A Ipe is tough and requires J. Gibson McIlvain to be very picky about which mills we use to harvest and saw our Ipe decking. Ipe quality control is very important to us, follow the link to learn more about our quality control efforts.
Ipe is most commonly used for decks, bridge building projects, boardwalks, marinas, outdoor furniture, and other outdoor applications. If the boards are kiln dried, Ipe wood can also make for an attractive interior flooring option. Because of Ipe’s incredible durability, it is usually chosen for very high traffic areas, where it can last for many, many years.
Ipe wood is prized for its lustrous rich brown color and very dense, tight grain. Its color has a tendency to fade to an attractive silvery-gray patina if left untreated. You can retain the brown hue and radiant texture by periodically treating your wood with an appropriate timber oil.
Because of its density and hardness, Ipe absorbs minimal moisture and typically experiences only minor shrinkage and movement after installation. It machines very well, and it rarely splinters or splits. The wood also resists decay and insect attacks. Ipe is so dense that, even in its untreated, natural state, it has a class A fire rating, making it nearly as fire resistant as concrete or metal.
In other words, there is no decking lumber more perfect than Ipe.
J. Gibson McIlvain carries both air dried Ipe decking that is surfaced on 4 sides and eased on 4 edges (S4s, E4E) or kiln dried, rough sawn material. Decking is air dried to a 12-18% moisture content so as to prevent checking and excessive movement as the material is exposed to the weather. Our Ipe decking can be installed by face screwing or by using hidden clip fastners. We can groove the material at our millworks upon request. We also carry a full line of Ipe clips, screws, bits, sealer, and oil for your decking projects. For interior applications, the kiln dried material must be used since modern climate controlled interiors are much drier and the 6-8% kiln dried material is better suited.
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