Ipe Wood Decking Problems

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Over the years I have heard some objections about Ipe decking; 'you have to pre-drill the Ipe deck boards', 'Ipe wood is hard to cut', 'Ipe decks turn gray' and 'Ipe is expensive'. I’m pretty sure that covers all the problems I have ever heard about Ipe hardwood. All I have to say is…are you serious?! Ipe is the most beautiful and amazing wood decking I've ever seen. Let’s take a look at each of these objections about Ipe.

ipe-decking-installation-in-californiaIpe decking is as tough as it is beautiful

Ipe Wood is Hard to Cut

True. Ipe wood is an extremely hard, high density tropical hardwood. Of course Ipe wood decking is hard to cut, that’s why deck builders and other construction professionals use carbide saw blades when cutting Ipe wood.  Carbide saw blades will give you a good clean cut through Ipe wood, quickly, safely and repetitively.

The fact that Ipe is so hard is actually a very good thing and is one reason why I love Ipe, why Ipe wood lasts so long and why Ipe hardwood is so scratch resistant. That is the reason why the insects don’t eat Ipe wood.  Ipe hardwood has a Janka hardness rating of 3,680 psi, making Ipe one of the hardest woods on the planet.  Ipe wood is so hard and dense that water will barely penetrate the surface. Ipe is one of the densest woods as well. Ipe is so dense that it doesn’t even float on water. 


Ipe deck at sundown

No worries about splitting, checking or splintering with the denseness of Ipe hardwood decking. 

See more about the Ipe decking materials and others to choose the best for your project.

Download the FREE "Ultimate Guide To Selecting The Right Decking" now.

Ipe Decking Needs to be Pre-Drilled

Not necessarily. While pre-drilling Ipe decking boards is one Ipe decking installation option, there are other installation techniques and methods that require no pre-drilling for Ipe. Recent technology has developed Ipe decking screws that will self-drill as you install your Ipe deck boards.

The best self-drilling screw we have found is called the Ejector screw. This amazing screw eliminates the need to pre-drill Ipe and saves lots of labor time on the job.  It works fantastic, especially on large decks.


Mataverde Eurotec Deck Clip Hidden fastenerMataverde concealed deck fasteners save you time and labor when using pre-grooved hardwoods.


Another installation method for Ipe decking that requires no pre-drilling is using pre-grooved Ipe decking with the Mataverde Concealed Deck Fastener. Lots of people like the clean look of this hidden fastener method because it has no visible screw heads.

Check out the Mataverde Concealed Deck Fastener for yourself. Request a FREE sample. 

Ipe Wood Turns Gray

Yep, if you'd like it to. Like all natural wood species, Ipe hardwood will in fact turn gray over time if left to weather naturally.  Over time, the surface of the Ipe hardwood decking does oxidize to a silver gray patina.  This does not hurt the Ipe wood at all and in no way affects the structural integrity of Ipe.  


Ipe deck weathered to silvery gray patina-1

Naturally weathered Ipe is a great low-maintenance decking option


It is important to know that you can maintain the look of the Ipe with a few simple steps. The first thing that you should do when you install Ipe decking is to give it a coat of a UV protective oil finish such as Penofin Hardwood Formula.  You should do that whether you want your Ipe decking to ‘silver out’ or not.

This will help the Ipe wood acclimate to its new environment.  If you want Ipe to weather to gray from there, just sit back and relax and enjoy your deck, Mother Nature will do the rest.  If you want to keep your deck that warm brown color, just reapply the oil finish as needed.  Whether you decide to try to keep your Ipe a rich brown tone or let it weather out to a silver gray patina, there is no wrong choice.

Download the free white paper, "Guide To How Woods Weather" for more information.

Ipe Wood is Expensive

Yes and No. While it's true that the up-front price of Ipe decking is sometimes higher than other popular, less durable decking options, Ipe is less costly than most of the plastic decking out there and... Ipe is real wood! Also, Ipe decking lasts so much longer than any other decking material. Lifecycle cost studies show that Ipe is actually the lowest cost of any decking material in the long run.

See for it yourself, request a FREE sample of Ipe decking material.

So, some people may tell me that they have problems with Ipe, but I see these so-called “problems” as benefits of Ipe.  I love Ipe because it is hard and tough.  I love that silvery gray patina that Ipe naturally ages to.  So, let’s get serious, get your hands dirty and put an Ipe deck down.  For a little bit of hard work, you will have the long lasting benefits of an Ipe hardwood deck.

Want to learn more about Ipe decking and other decking options?

Download, "The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Right Decking"


Looking for some deck ideas? Need a little deck design inspiration?

Download the "Deck Design Ideas Book" - 61 pages featuring over 150 real deck projects and deck ideas


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