Is Striped Ipe Decking a Bad Thing?

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We love to let our customers know what they will be getting - before they buy it.  That way, everybody has a better understanding of what to expect, nobody is disappointed and everybody is happy. Long term customer satisfaction is another goal of ours.  We even go so far as publishing the Mataverde Success Plan on our website so everyone is literally "on the same page". When we discuss the inherent graining patterns commonly found in many pieces of Ipe decking, and many other species of tropical hardwood decking for that matter, some customers get concerned.


When customers are thinking about choosing hardwood decking for their new deck, we occasionally hear concerns about the inherent varied appearance found in all naturally grown hardwood decking species. “I like a more uniform look,” and “I don’t like the look of the 'striped' pieces” and “Can I get every piece to look exactly the same?” are a few fairly common questions we sometimes hear initially – but NEVER after the deck is installed. Working with the natural color and grain variations of hardwood decking is an art form that many experienced contractors have mastered. A skilled craftsman will work each piece of wood to its best advantage and take lots of care and pride to create a beautiful one-of-a-kind deck for you.

ipe_deck_natural_silvery_patinaHere’s why ‘striped’ Ipe hardwood can be a very good thing. For starters, after a deck has been in place for a number of years, the vast majority of decking customers will allow their deck to age gracefully to a silvery gray patina.  Once this natural aging process happens, the more highly figured and unique boards become the most interesting and visually appealing boards in the whole deck.  The striped deck boards that may have been considered the “ugly ducklings” when they were first installed, mature to become the “beautiful swans” of your deck. (Special thanks to Hans Christian Andersen for inspiring that analogy.)

Secondly, hardwood decking that has a strong linear graining appearance means that that particular piece of wood was either “quarter-sawn” or “rift-sawn” from the log when it was milled.  It is a scientifically proven fact that wood will expand and contract somewhat depending on moisture and temperature. With decking, most of this natural acclimation and adjustment occurs in the first few months. “Radial” expansion (along the width of a quarter sawn board) is typically about half as much as “tangential” expansion (along the width of a flat sawn board). That’s why quarter sawn wood and rift sawn wood are both typically stronger and more stable than flat sawn wood.  That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with flat sawn hardwood decking boards, they are strong and beautiful in their own right, too.

In summary, having a natural mix of grains and colors of hardwood decking boards is a great way to create a spectacular deck that is sure to be the envy of your friends, family and neighbors for many years to come. Go ahead, mix it up and dare to be different.

Please feel free to visit our website for more information about hardwood decking options, decking installation tips, finishing options and more:                      

Hardwood Decking Options

Ipe Decking Info

Ipe Decking gallery


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