Ipe Wood Decking vs Composite Decking

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Have you ever wondered how Ipe decking compares to composite decking and other synthetic decking products? We get asked similar questions pretty often. The differences between Ipe decking and the synthetic decking materials are so diverse, it makes more sense to start with how they are similar: they are both moderate to high priced decking material options. The similarities between Ipe decking and synthetic decking pretty much stop there. 

Ipe Deck Railing

The Difference Between Ipe Wood Decking and Synthetic Decking

  • Ipe wood decking is an all natural, real wood, renewable product. Synthetic decking materials are typically made from plastics and/or wood "flour".

  • Synthetic decking does not span very far - joists must be placed at 12" on center when the decking is installed diagonally. Ipe decking is so rigid it can span up to 24" on center.

  • Ipe decking has amazing dimensional stability. Most synthetic decking expands and contracts noticeably in the heat and cold. Plastic decking materials exhibit the most significant movement and does not recover the original shape.

  • Composite decking and plastic decking have little or no resistance to fire or extreme heat. Ipe hardwood decking has a Class A Fire rating.

  • Synthetic decking scratches easily - and there is no simple repair when this occurs. High density Ipe decking is so extremely resistant to scratches and gouges it is often selected for boardwalks and other high traffic areas.  Even if Ipe hardwood somehow gets gouged, a simple sanding will fix it.

  • Synthetic decking is available in a variety of colors. Each manufacturer has different expectations for how long the colors will last before fading and how severe the fading will be. Ipe decking is a rich chocolatey brown hardwood. If left to weather naturally, Ipe decking will develop a silvery gray patina. If the original color of the Ipe wood is desired, a coat of penetrating oil is required periodically.

But what will Ipe decking look like as it ages? We have a white paper for that, and it's good news.

sky deck massachusetts ipe deck rooftop fire pit pergolaIpe wood rooftop deck and pergola: beauty meets functionality in the face of high UV and weather exposure.

If you are considering building a deck, it definitely pays to do some homework about decking material options. We have developed a comprehensive white paper to assist you in your search. Please click on the link below for a FREE GUIDE to decking materials  "The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Right Decking Material".



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