Top 10 Reasons to Finish Ipe Hardwood Decking or Siding

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“If Ipe decking and other hardwoods are so good, why should I have to pre-finish hardwood decking or siding at all?  The answer is you don’t have to pre-finish hardwood decking or siding, but it is a very good idea to do so”.  And here's why.



Here are some helpful tips for you to consider when you’re thinking about finishing Ipe decking or other high density hardwood decking or siding materials. 

There are a lot of compelling reasons to pre-finish your Ipe decking or siding before you even install it – even if you plan to let your exterior hardwood weather out to a silvery color. If you decide to finish your Ipe, Cumaru, Santa Maria, Garapa or Machiche hardwood decking or siding after installation, that’s OK, too, but pre-finishing works best and here’s the top 10 reasons why it is considered a best building practice.


Ipe vertical wood rain screen


Key Benefits of Pre-Finishing Ipe Wood and

Other Exterior Hardwood Decking and Siding Materials

  • Pre-finishing hardwood decking and siding with a UV inhibiting sealer or coating before installation helps the new material acclimate properly and minimizes the potential for surface checking during this critical period.
  • Applying a UV inhibiting coating or sealer provides immediate protection as soon as the boards hit the job site. It’s like putting on sunscreen before going to the beach, why leave home without it?
  • Coating all four sides of a board provides better protection and allows for a more even and consistent acclimation for the entire board, not just the face. This is especially important in an exterior project where the wood receives a high level of unpredictable weather and extreme punishment from the elements.
  • It’s much easier to apply a consistent layer of sealer or coating on all 4 sides of a board with a “factory finish” at a consistent temperature than it is in the field.
  • Most coatings manufacturers have developed their products to dry properly at specific temperature ranges for best adherence and performance. They may void their warranty if the finish is not applied at the proper temperature.
  • If you pre-finish hardwood decking or siding in a clean climate-controlled environment, you eliminate the potential for contamination from dirt, dust and job site debris.
  • It’s beautiful right away! And it's so much easier to get a great looking, blemish free finish. 
  • Having material already finished when it arrives on your site can save you valuable construction cycle time for a faster project turn around.
  • Pre-finishing hardwood decking or siding cuts down on planning and scheduling of on-site trades and helps minimize potential scheduling conflicts.
  • Since it takes less time to produce in a climate-controlled setting, pre-finishing exterior woods often costs much less than doing the work on site.


curved mataverde ipe deck


Pre-finishing hardwood decking and siding materials like Ipe, Cumaru, Garapa, Machiche and others is such a good idea. Your finishing process in the field is quick and can be limited to small touch-ups and clean-up after the job is done.

Pre-finished decking and siding looks great,  can save you lots of time and labor, eliminate many headaches, aggravation and uncertainty right away and help your peace of mind for years to come. 

Even if you decide to allow your exterior hardwood siding or decking to mellow out to a silver patina over time, the initial protection will help your wood season properly. To learn more about this low maintenance option, Download "How Exterior Hardwoods Weather".

We hope this article was helpful.  Feel free to comment below. We welcome your comments and value your input. Please visit our website for more information about hardwood decking and siding, finishing exterior woods, care and maintenance of exterior wood and lots more:

Finishing Exterior Hardwoods

Care and Maintenance of Hardwood Decking and Siding

Hardwood Decking Material Options


If you are trying to decide on what type of decking works best for you, please download, “The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Right Decking Material” for lots of helpful information. This FREE Decking Guide has been used by architects, construction professionals and property owners throughout the world. Download your free copy today.


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