Made from the ipe tree. 6-inch deck boards are sustainably harvested (FSC-certified).
Trim pieces generally are not certified. Very long-lasting natural wood decking; more rot-
resistant than second-growth cedar or redwood. Knot-free. Looks like teak, but harvesting
doesn’t wreck rain forests. Needs no sealer or finish. Will weather to gray. A premium
product, comparable in price to clear cedar and redwood
Ipe is an extremely dense South American hardwood. It is nearly seven times harder and
almost four times stronger than red cedar, another popular decking material. Ipe is
dimensionally stable and resists twisting and warping. It will remain smooth, splinter-free
and friendly to bare feet for years.
Ipe wood that is certified through the Forest Stewardship Council promotes sustainable
forestry. FSC is the non-profit group that has taken the worldwide lead in promoting wise
management of commercial timberland. This wood, which carries the Ironwoods brand,
comes from Brazil, where the tree thrives. Ipe is strong, so deck builders can often use
less wood in the support structure. With a bending strength of just over 25,000 pounds, an
ipe 1x4 deck board can span joists 24 inches apart and still carry a live load of 100
pounds per square foot. For the decking support structure, we generally recommend a
less expensive option—our CA-B pressure-treated lumber, which has been treated to
resist insect and fungi attack. It is just as durable as ordinary pressure-treated lumber but
free of arsenic and chromium, two highly toxic materials. Ipe has a beautiful, teak-like,
deep brown color when freshly milled. Cut ends should be sealed immediately after cutting
using a clear wax to reduce end checking. We sell Anchor Seal for this purpose. The
decking itself needs no finish to remain durable or splinter-free. If untreated, it will weather
to a uniform silver patina.
Benefits of Ipe Decking
Practical benefits include:· No yearly cleaning or coating with preservatives if you
choose to let this wood weather naturally. · 25-year guarantee against decay and
termite damage.· Resists splitting and warping.· Has a Class A-1 Fire Retardant
Rating (National Fire Protection Association/Uniform Building Code)—the same
as steel and concrete. Environmental benefits include:· Extremely durable.· Not
treated with pesticides, so it can be used near ponds or other wet areas without
fear of contamination.
How to use this product
It is typically sold with a moisture content of 18 to 20 percent. A 4-inch-wide board
will eventually shrink no more than 1/16 inch in width. Ipe is tough on hand tools and
nails. It is recommend power tools with carbide-tipped saw blades and high-quality
drill bits. Fasteners It makes no sense to build with fasteners that won't last as long
as the wood. Use stainless steel screws and invisible fastening systems. Be sure
to pre-drill holes and countersink the screw heads.
Screw systems: If you use self-drilling screws, such as the Swaneze line from the
Swan Secure Products first pre-bore countersinks (shallow holes that allow the
screw heads to seat properly). As an alternative, skip the countersink holes, drill
9/64-inch pilot holes and use stainless steel #7 trim-head screws. The proper
length of a fastener is 2½ times the thickness of the decking. Other companies
make systems where screws remain hidden because they are put in from
Ipe sands well with electric sanders. Use coarser grits than with softer decking.
Sealing and Finishing This wood will develop a silver patina if left unfinished. To
preserve the natural color some lumber yards recommend the deck treatment
developed by Bio-Wash,Natural Deck Oil.
First, treat the deck with Mill Glaze Away (a powder dissolved in water), which
opens the wood pores, adjusts the pH and leaves a slight borate residue on the
wood to prevent growth of any mildew spores that might land on the wood before
the finish is applied. Then coat with Natural Deck Oil, a penetrating finish that
blocks ultraviolet rays from the sun. They are what cause exposed wood to turn
gray. Natural Deck Oil's UV protection comes primarily from iron oxide particles so
finely ground that they are virtually transparent. Unlike UV absorbers in some
finishes, they don't wear out over time.
The sawdust from ipe may cause skin irritation. And wood dust in general is
considered a possible human carcinogen because of an increased rate of nasal
cancer among woodworkers in factories. It is recommend wearing a respirator that
works while sawing ipe.
Respirators that work
If you need to filter out sawdust or other particles don't depend on a single-elastic
disposable labeled as a "nuisance dust mask." These products haven't passed
any government tests, and many are not very effective. For disposable masks that
work, look for ones with two elastic bands and labeling that says "respirator" and
"NIOSH," for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Well-fitting
rubberized half-face masks fitted with particulate cartridges are even more
effective because they seal better against the face. Instructions for checking the fit
should be on the package. If you need to filter out solvents or other toxic gases
Dust masks—even the two-elastic types—won't help you at all. You need a
rubberized half-face mask fitted with an appropriate cartridge or cartridges. It is
very important to match them to the task: An acid cartridge that's just right for
working with concrete etchers won't help if you're dealing with organic vapors in
paints. Buy a mask from a company that lists its technical service number on the
package. Call it for advice on what to use with specific materials. Again, it's very
important to make sure the mask fits properly. Instructions should be on the
package. When not in use, cartridges should be removed from the mask and
sealed in a plastic bag. The carbon filters in organic-vapor cartridges keep filtering
whatever air passes by, and there's no point in wasting their useful life when it isn't
helping you. When the smell of whatever you're working with comes through the
respirator, it's a sign that the cartridges need to be changed. Cartridges may fail
before this time, but odors are a sure sign. However, some ingredients pass
through respirators at dangerous levels long before the odor is noticeable.
Methylene chloride, common in many paint strippers, is one of these. It can break
through an organic vapor cartridge after as little as 15 minutes. Manufacturers warn
on the labels about the need for adequate ventilation, but they don't mention
respirators. Now you know why. When there is no way for you to detect chemicals
that slip through a respirator, it makes sense to avoid using them altogether. Or, at
least, use them outdoors. For guys with beards
Facial hair keeps both disposable masks and rubberized half-face masks from
sealing properly. Only gear that shrouds the head will protect you. The right role for
Respirators should be used mostly as backup protection. Your first line of defense
should always be to select the least-hazardous material that will do the job and to
work in ways that generate the least dust or other pollution. For example, misting
the surface before sanding greatly cuts down on dust. Next, assure adequate
ventilation. Then, use a respirator to take care of whatever hazard is left.
Article Courtesy By
Environmental Home Center
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