A notable mention for Texas

November 27th, 2013

Ipe, Garapa, Cumaru, and Tigerwood continue to have a growing availability throughout the country. Companies and supply websites are springing up state by state. While the largest suppliers are still based in the lower U.S. Gulf region, materials are making there way into other states more quickly than ever. States like Texas, are consuming large quantities to meet the growing demand. http://texasipe.com/ is one notable website that create a seamless bond between supply and demand. Ipe, Cumaru, Garapa, and Tigerwood are certainly making a statement across the country.

 

Tigerwood Dock

September 25th, 2013

Do it right the first time. Building a dock, which will be exposed to water and weather on a regular basis, requires careful planning of the construction and material choices to use. Docks are naturally difficult to construct because of the water surrounding them and pilings to which they  attach. This is why building a dock right the first time is so important. If you choose the best materials the first time around, then you can rest easy knowing it will outlast inferior materials. You will avoid costly and incessant repairs year after year. If you invest more on your dock the first time around, but it lasts twice as long and you do not spend your spring and summer every year on nagging repair work, then you are much better off. Time is money; free time is invaluable!  Save yourself the headache and do it right the first time. In addition to  the benefit of enjoying longer-lasting materials,, these materials also are much more beautiful.. Tigerwood is just such a superior choice for this application. Tigerwood’s density makes it an ideal choice material for marine applications. It will outlast softwoods, even pressure treated, by leaps and bounds. You can see from the pictures below how much more beautiful it is than a lower quality pine or pressure treated deck. Aside from its beauty, you will enjoy Tigerwoods integrity as it will outlast inferior materials two fold. It also provides a safer walking surface for tender feet as a result of its tight grain and resistance to warping and splintering.

Majestic Tigerwood Deck on Texas Lake copy

tigerwood dock

Gazebo Vs. Pergola

September 3rd, 2013

What is the difference between a Gazebo and a Pergola? Maybe you know the difference but are trying to decide which you prefer for your home. While both offer a stunning edition to your outdoor living area, they possess slightly different characteristics  that impact the lifestyle and use of your new addition. Historically, the gazebo was commonly mentioned in Chinese and Persian literature. Gazebos  are commonly seen today in England as well and date back as far as the late 1800′s. Gazebos  generally have fully roofed tops and open sides. Gazebos offer more protection from rain and sun than pergolas. Gazebos are commonly built with an octagonal design and  a raised deck in the center. Benches around the inside of a gazebo and screens for the sides are simple enhancements to make your living space more comfortable and to keep pesky insects away..

Pergolas developed around the same era and, like gazebos, some built in the 1800’s still exist today The  word “pergola” comes from the Latin word “pergula” which meant “lecture room, school with protruding roof with vines.”. Pergolas often extend from one building to another and are closely related to gardening as many pergolas provide a path for vines to grow along. Pergolas are generally less robust then gazebos and only provide limited concealment from sun and rain. Although they could, pergolas do not normally have a deck constructed below like the gazebo. Lattice is an inexpensive solution to create a perforated canopy on top of the pergola. The construction of a modern pergola that most directly comes to mind is a four post style with outer beams and cross members in the center. Along a poolside or over a green and meticulously managed outdoor living space are two of the most beautiful locations to construct a new pergola. Some are constructed of wrought Iron, some of brick or concrete and some of wood. Wood is the most common and is a green alternative to other building materials. Below are several pictures of gazebos and pergolas.

pergolas

ipe pergola

gazebos

 

 

 

CAMO Hidden Deck Fastening System

August 27th, 2013

The Camo Hidden Deck Fastening System is one of many hidden fastening systems available for decking projects. It works by driving the screws in through the side of each board at an angle. This eliminates the need for screwing into the face of the board, providing a safer and more beautiful approach to securing the boards. Below is a video of how the fastening system works.

How do I apply a protective finish to my Ipe Deck?

August 22nd, 2013

How do I apply a protective finish to my Ipe Deck?

                Whether you buy Ipe, Cumaru, Garapa or Tigerwood decking, you need to apply a deck finish if you want to maintain the deep, varied and rich tones of your hardwood deck.  I recommend Penofin Penetrating Oil Finish.  Penofin is easy to install and one coat every 6 months to a year is plenty.  How often Penofin treatment is needed depends on whether your deck receives direct sun, rain and much foot traffic.

How easy is Penofin to install?  All you need is an old T-shirt ripped in half, a pad for your knees, rubber gloves so your hands aren’t stained, and Penofin.  Penofin recommends one gallon for every 400-500 square feet.  I find that about 2 quarts is plenty for 360 square feet.

Wash the deck thoroughly and allow it to dry.  I prefer to wait 24-48 hours after cleaning.  Applying any finish to a wet deck will cause problems.  The Penofin finish cannot penetrate the Ipe decking and the water creates a barrier to penetration.  This can make the surface tacky and will collect dust and dirt.  Shake the Penofin thoroughly.  I fold the T-shirt several times and dip on section into the Penofin can and rub the oil into the Ipe decking boards.  You don’t need a lot of “elbow grease.”  Just be sure to rub the Penofin oil in so that there is no excess.  Once again, the excess will become tacky or sticky and collect dirt and dust.  Applying one coat will take about 45 minutes for 350 square feet.  I usually let the porch dry before I let kids and dogs run across.

Any unused Penofin can be saved.  Just be sure to store the can away from heat.

Why Penofin?  Penofin claims that it offers 99% protection against the damaging effects of UV rays from the sun.  Penofin also offers mold and mildew protection and penetrates dense hardwoods like Ipe, Tigerwood, Cumaru and Garapa.

Below are pictures of a 7 year old Ipe deck before cleaning, after cleaning, and after the Penofin treatment.   The other photo is a Garapa deck that was coated with Penofin.

 

 

cleaning and treating Ipe Deck or Porch

cleaning and treating Ipe Deck or Porch

 

Penofin treated Garapa flooring

Penofin treated Garapa flooring

penofin gallon

 

Eco-Friendly Home Accessories

August 20th, 2013

Eco-Friendly Home Accessories

 

These days, going green gets plenty of lip-service, but many of us often assume that eco-consciousness and style are mutually exclusive domains. While it is true that many earth-friendly decor options do have a decidedly rustic feel, the demand for sustainable products is bringing to the market every look imaginable, from the classic to the postmodern.

Here are just a few ways you can give your space that decisive touch in an earth-first spirit:

bamboo mats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floor your guests with green alternatives

Rugs/carpeting

To paraphrase a famous movie, a good rug can really hang a room together. However, buying a sectional rug made from recycled materials can be as eco-responsible as it is fashion forward. Many of us don’t realize it, but discarded carpeting is a chief villain in making our landfills so mountainous, so make sure you dispose of old carpets and their byproducts through a reuse/recycle program.

 

Bamboo

On the other hand, if you’re saddled with unsightly carpeting and don’t have the resources to replace it, bamboo flooring is a fantastic compromise for the hardwood floor appeal.  It’s actually fairly easy to cover an entire room with a DIY bamboo flooring kit, but rollable area mats can do the trick as well. Not only does bamboo have a trendy New Age vibe, using the fast-growing wood of bamboo takes the heat of our shrinking rainforests.

 

Outside decks

Remember that deck you have been wanting to build for years, but just never got around to because it just seemed too hard or too expensive? This is a perfect opportunity to promote further eco-consciousness in your home.

Instead of using some sort of plastic for your deck, or even a composite blend of wood, the best bet is to go with responsibly harvested and managed lumber. This way, you get the beautiful look of a wooden deck, but you can rest assured knowing that you did your part to make the green choice. There are affordable hardwood choices out there, that don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Even more importantly, this wood will keep your deck around for years and years.

 

Give recycled furniture the front seat

While sometimes there is no substitute for a good old-fashioned vintage wood chair, today’s eco-visionaries are concocting recycled indoor and outdoor furniture that’s closer in spirit to Ikea than the shoddy stackable seats we might associate with a school cafeteria. Remember, recycling is a two part solution:  properly disposing of HDPEs is essential, but in order for the equation to work, we must also embrace second generation products.

 

Recycled plastic furniture is not only maintenance-free, stain-resistant and impervious to germs and bacteria, it’s a significant avenue of deforestation. And, if you’re a stolid traditionalist, there are attractive wood-grain simulations that might do the trick.

 

lantern

 

Putting things in a different light

Even if their drain on Mother Nature were not an issue, bright overhead lights tend to create an unwelcoming atmosphere in any setting. One obvious way to create a more relaxing mood and lower consumption of electricity is to use candles, but beware:  standard commercial candles can release sundry toxic byproducts into the air, including the carcinogen paraffin. Soy candles, on the other hand, are biodegradable and non-toxic. Making them yourself is fairly simple, and will have a chic, homemade look.

Electric light is even more of a buzzkill on a patio, so another winning choice is a set of solar-powered lanterns. With a gentle, steady light and styles ranging from old-fashioned blown glass to Oriental paper designs, these can transform your backyard into an exotic haven.

 

Aromatherapy

On the subject of alternative lighting, noncommercial candles can put our noses at ease as well as our eyes. For a true immersion into olfactory bliss, take things a step further by diffusing your home with a subtle mist of calming oils, such as lavender or rose. The easiest and most inexpensive way to do this is with a portable vaporizer. By adding just a few drops of your favorite blend of natural oils into the vaporizer chamber, you’ll add the perfect bohemian touch to your digs.

These products are really only the beginning. Remember, eco-consciousness is not just a way of buying things, but also a  way of seeing ways to give materials second (or third lives).  Thrifting, gifting and creatively reusing old items are all powerful tools in reducing waste.

 

 

 

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer, yoga enthusiast and mom of three who writes for VapeWorld to educate others about the importance of aromatherapy and eco-friendly home decor. As she is currently in the process of remodeling her home, she is focused on incorporating as many eco-friendly accessories as possible. Follow her on Pinterest today!

What will my Ipe or hardwood deck look like after several years?

August 15th, 2013

What will my Ipe or hardwood deck look like after several years?

                Homeowners ask two common questions when they consider buying Ipe, Cumaru, Garapa or Tigerwood   for their new deck.  How much maintenance will I have to do to Ipe decking?  What will Ipe decking look like with little maintenance?  The pictures below are from an Ipe front porch and Ipe back deck and stairs which were built in 2006.  The front Ipe porch faces east and receives direct sun.  The Ipe deck boards are covered but get wet in rainstorms.  The back Ipe deck is on the west side of the house under a large oak tree.  The tree drops a lot of leaves and other debris and the Ipe decking receives afternoon sun through the tree.

The homeowner cleans the front porch annually with a bleach-based cleaner available at any Lowe’s or Home Depot.  After the annual cleaning, he applies one coat of Penofin to protect the Ipe wood against sun and water damage.  He only blows off the porch decking every few weeks the rest of the year.

The back Ipe decking is cleaned about every 2 years with a power washer.  The homeowner uses no cleaning fluids, no brushes and no Penofin.  The homeowner will blow leaves and other debris off the Ipe deck every other week.

You can plainly see the difference in appearance from the two levels of maintenance.  The back porch Ipe color has faded over time.  Notably, however, the Ipe deck boards show no sign of rot and no scratches.  Over these 7 years, two Labrador retrievers and one Wire-haired pointing Griffon called this porch deck home.  While you may notice some paw scratches on the white doors, the Ipe decking shows no sign of dog nail scratches.

 

Uncleaned 7yr old Ipe Porch

Un-cleaned 7yr old Ipe Porch

 

Never Treated, Un-Cleaned 7yr old  Ipe Deck

Never Treated, Un-Cleaned 7yr old Ipe Deck

Pool Deck

August 15th, 2013

Thinking about building a pool deck? Pool decks add the right look and feel for your in-ground or above ground pool. Concrete is so bland and generic. Wood trim or a full deck around your pool will add beauty, ambiance and uniqueness to your backyard. A pool deck surrounding your above ground pool will add a necessary point of access into the water and a nice area to BBQ, lay out under the sun or socialize. There are many options of how to build pool decks and several materials to choose from. We recommend searching online for ideas and working with a contractor to design your  unique pool deck.

When deciding on materials to use there are several questions to answer. How long do I want my pool deck to last? How safe does it need to be? What looks the best? How much will it cost? Most want the pool deck to last as long as possible. Most want a beautiful pool deck. Most want a deck safe for bare feet and unlikely to warp and twist. Everyone wants to save money. Luckily, the answer to all of these questions can be found by using several species of wood.

Before getting to those species, we should first point out perhaps the least adequate species, Pine. Pine has a very short life expectancy and tends to warp, twist and split under the sun and in wet conditions. Though Pine is inexpensive, it is costly in the long run due to the need for frequent repair and replacement of boards.

So what wood should you use? There are several good choices, all of which are Hardwoods. Hardwoods provide a much longer life expectancy than softwoods like pine and have much lower maintenance and extended life expectancies. Four species in particular have grown in popularity and provide the highest level of safety, beauty, longevity and overall cost effectiveness. The first and best of the four species is Ipe. The second is Cumaru. The third is Tigerwood and the fourth is Garapa. All four species are extremely dense, impervious to rot, water and sun damage, splintering and insects.  Ipe, Cumaru, Garapa and Tigerwood have different colors that appeal to varying tastes.  Each has a tight grain pattern which means that they will not tend to splinter, twist or warp.  The right pool deck can be the highlight of your backyard and the centerpiece of attraction. Learn more about Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood, and Garapa by exploring Everlasting Hardwoods. We urge you to research these species to learn how you can benefit from choosing them. Good Luck!

 

 

ipe pool railing

Ipe Pool Railing

ipe wood pool railing

Ipe Pool Railing. This pool would look gorgeous with complimentary Ipe Pool Decking!

A Fantastic article with pictures about Ipe outlasting Pine in harsh conditions is available here:

http://www.ohc.net/ipe-vs-treated-pine/

Comparing Deck Cleaners for Ipe and other Hardwood Decks

August 7th, 2013

What kind of Deck Cleaner should I use on Ipe or other exotic hardwood decks and just how hard is cleaning a deck? This year, I decided to compare a locally available deck cleaner to a brand recommended on the Internet for my Ipe deck front porch. This Ipe deck is 8 years old. The Ipe porch is cleaned once a year with a local deck cleaner from Lowe’s, usually Olympic or Cabots. Restore-A-Deck 2 Step Deck Cleaner was recommended on an Internet site so I compared this to Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner. Based on my efforts last Saturday, I recommend Restore-A-Deck 2 Step Deck Cleaner. This porch is 12’ wide by 36’ long. The Ipe porch is on the east side of the home, receives heavy morning sun and is exposed to rain and dirt from five kids and one large, Wire-haired Griffon dog. I bought two Restore-A-Deck packages for $88.99 off the internet and one gallon of Olympic for $16.87 at Lowe’s. Due to column spacing, I used almost the entire gallon of Olympic on 1/3 of the porch. Just one fourth of the Restore-A-Deck purchase was needed to clean 2/3 of the Ipe porch. I estimate that $22.25 of the Restore-A-Deck at $22.25 is about the same as two gallons of the Olympic for $33.74. I started with the Olympic Premium Deck cleaner and followed its instructions. Olympic instructs to wet the Ipe porch first with a water hose. I then applied the Olympic with an inexpensive garden sprayer. Olympic appeared to be a strong bleach mixture and one can immediately see cleaning results. To get most dirt up, however, a push broom/brush with medium coarseness is needed. A second application of Olympic got the porch completely clean. Several rinses of the porch with the hose and a lighter push brush removed all cleaner. Restore-A-Deck is a two step process. I mixed the solid cleaner with warm water in the same garden sprayer. Apparently, the solid did not completely dissolve as the mixture tended to clog the sprayer, but it worked well enough with additional air pressure. Restore-A-Deck cleaned deeper into the wood grain and picked up more dirt and grime. The push brush was needed to scrub in certain areas. As the Restore-A-Deck cleaned, the dirt residue and cleaner created a slippery deck surface so I had to be careful. Rinsing the cleaner off with a water hose took several tries with the push broom. I then mixed the brightener second step in the same garden sprayer and applied the brightener to the porch. The entire process took about 2 1/2 hours with some assistance during the washing phase. Restore-A-Deck is the better cleaner. While the 2-step process took longer and was slippery, the end result is a perfectly clean, almost like-new, appearance. All bleach-based cleaners tend to leave a white sheen on the Ipe. Here are some before and after pictures of the cleaning.

restore a deck

2 part cleaner used

brush clean

Push broom used as scrub brush

foaming action

Restore-a-Deck 2 part cleaner has a foaming action

strips stains

Restore-a-Deck cleaner appeared to strip all old stains and oils off

half cleaned

Top portion of porch has been cleaned, bottom has not. Both are wet in photo.

deck cleaning side by side (1280x426)

Before Cleaning (LEFT) After Cleaning (Right)

Deck cleaning before and after (1280x426)

Before Cleaning (Left) After Cleaning (Right)

After letting the porch dry thoroughly for 48 hours, I applied a coat of Penofin Penetrating Oil Finish to the Ipe porch. ~ Guest Blogger

…Follow along with OHC to see results of Penofin Treatment on this Ipe porch…

What is Ipe?

August 7th, 2013

What is Ipe? Ipe, pronounced EEE-PAY, is an extremely dense hardwood from South America. It’s use is growing in popularity rapidly across the United States. Some refer to it as Brazilian Walnut. It is most commonly used for Ipe Decking and Ipe Hardwood Flooring. Ipe furniture is also a high quality product produced from this wood. The Ipe tree more specifically comes from the Brazilian Rainforest. Fortunately, responsible harvesting and forestry management of this product ensures a lasting and reliable supply to the United States. Ipe is now farmed commercially in many parts of South America. Ipe wood is very long lasting and highly resistant to mold, mildew, rot, bugs, scratches, dents and marks. It is low maintenance compared to inferior decking and flooring woods. The grain of the wood is so small and tight that it is ideal for bare feet and provides a safer walking surface than other woods. Consumers choose Ipe over other options because it is a green alternative to synthetics, a renewable resource and outlasts any other species. It has a beautiful rich color, especially when treated with a sealer. The sealer we recommend is Penofin. Penofin is naturally extracted and produced from Brazilian Rosewood Oil. It is environmentally friendly, provides 99% UV protection, is odorless, and has 0 VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds.) Ipe is typically quite expensive in comparison to softwoods; however, it’s extended lifespan lower maintenance cost and time and soundness make Ipe a long-term value and the initial investments pays off in the end. See this blog about Ipe vs Pine to see an example with supporting evidence. Ipe wood is often used on porches, docks, decks, at marinas, as commercial and residential siding, for furniture, pergolas and gazebos. There are other exotic hardwoods growing in popularity with Ipe. Tigerwood, Cumaru, and Garapa are also raising eyebrows. Though Ipe is the most sought-after of the four, the other three retain similar characteristics and uses. More specifics about Ipe ( What is Ipe? ) wood are below.

  • Ipe’s Scientific Name: Handroanthus spp.
  • Ipe Tree Size: 100 ft (30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter
  • Specific Gravity @ 12% MC: .91-1.1
  • Janka Hardness: 3,510 lbs
  • Modulus of Rupture: 25,660 lbf/in2
  • Elastic Modulus: 3,200,000 lbf/in2
  • Crushing Strength: 13,600 lbf/in2
  • Shrinkage: Radial= 5.9%, Tangential= 7.2%, Volumetric= 12.4%

What is Ipe? More about What is Ipe? :

Ipe is 3 times harder than Oak. It has similar appearance and qualities to Teak wood. Ipe is superior in Decking applications and structural applications over Teak. Ipe has a class 1 fire rating which is the same rating that concrete and steel fall under! There are few dealers of Ipe, Tigerwood, Cumaru and Garapa in the United States. Overseas Hardwoods Company is the oldest provider with a long track record of responsible lumber purchasing, has the most inventory on site in many sizes and has the most experienced staff in house. OHC is based out of Mobile Alabama. Ipe and other tropical hardwoods should always be purchased from reputable suppliers like Overseas Hardwoods Company to ensure it has been responsibly harvested. This in turn prevents unlawful harvesting and deforestation and creates a sustainable harvesting operation in Brazil and other parts of South and Central America. Consumers often believe that using composite and plastic decking is safer and greener. This is unfortunate because producing these composite materials is irreversible and detrimental to the environment. See a short article on composite decking vs hardwood decking here. Ipe is natural. Ipe is a renewable recourse. Ipe is safe, long lasting, strong and low maintenance. Ipe wood is a fantastic choice for many types of outdoor projects. Overseas Hardwoods Company strongly recommends the use of Ipe for multiple applications, especially decking. To speak with an experienced hardwoods representative that can answer more of your questions like ” What is Ipe? ” call 877-568-7616 or visit OHC sales team on the web.

Pictures of notable characteristics of Ipe when used as Decking, flooring or furniture: