Archive for June, 2009

Ipe Outdoor Furniture and Decking for Outdoor Fun and Durability

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

It is summer time and there is no better place to spend a good portion of it than with your family in the back yard.  In order to do that, every year people all over the country look for the perfect outdoor furniture.  While it may have proven elusive in the past, the hunt is over.  If you are looking for beautiful, durable and weather proof, then look no further.  Outdoor furniture made from Ipe wood delivers all of this and more.

This tropical hardwood is widespread throughout South America and Central America.  It is found in a variety of places from ridge tops to riverbanks and is also easily grown in managed forests as well.  This commercially valuable tree is not an endangered species and most of the stock that arrives in the United States originates from forests, which bare the Forest Stewardship Council certification.  Stock receiving this certification helps encourage sustainable forestry practices and offers the best remedy to exploitive deforestation.

Dark brown in color, the heartwood of Ipe is often beautifully striped with alternating light and dark striping.  This natural dark color can be retained by applying a treatment of deck oil that contains UV protection.  If preferred however traditional weathering will gradually change the color of the wood to handsome gray patina.

The incredibly dense cell structure of this tree is what conveys some of its most valuable properties.  With a natural resistance to insect infestation, fungi, water damage and warping, this wood makes an ideal material with which to build outdoor projects.  Tests conducted during construction of the Panama by the United States Naval Research Laboratory the United States Forest Products Laboratory found that wood left in the ground for 15 years was still without any termite infestation.  Ipe was also tested by the United States Forest Products Laboratory which gave the wood its highest rating as well and found that the heartwood is very resistant to attack by decay fungi and mold, lasting as long as 40 years without any treatment and up to 100 years with just a single treatment of deck oil applied to the surface.

It is not only the durability of the wood that is so incredible; this wood also has amazing safety features.  When used for decking around pools and hot tubs, it is incredibly slip resistant when wet.  This hardwood exceeds the Americans with Disabilities act requirements for Static Coefficient of friction in a wet environment, providing an extra layer of protection in areas where falls can be dangerous.  In addition to slip resistance, decking made from the heartwood of this tree is also very resistant to splintering which is a plus for using in seating and flooring.

With so many items today considered disposable, it is a refreshing change to find a product that can be expected to last a lifetime with such little maintenance.  Ipe furniture is affordable as well and cost much less than other tropical hardwoods.  When compared to the amount of money it will take if less durable furniture is bought and replaced over the course of a lifetime, furniture made from this incredible hardwood is a deal.

Products Made with Ipe with Stand the Test of Time and Elements

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

When it comes to choosing products for the outdoor areas of your home, it would be difficult to find a product that combines beauty, durability and practicality quite the way that furniture and decking constructed from Ipe wood does.  What exactly is Ipe you ask?  Well for those who have not heard of this versatile nearly indestructible wood, here’s a crash course.

This is actually a tropical hardwood, pronounced ee-pay, which is found growing throughout Central America and South America as well as certain parts of Asia.  Found growing on both ridge tops and riverbanks, Ironwood as it is also called, is also grown easily in managed forests in the parts of the world to which it is indigenous.  Not an endangered species, this particular tree offers a good ecological alternative to other tropical hardwoods such as Teak and Mahogany.  Since it does grow quite well in a managed environment, responsible American importers of this wood generally purchase their entire stock from harvesters that have been certified through the Forestry Stewardship Council.  Certification with the FSC ensures that renewable sources for exotic hardwoods are utilized and is one of the best ways to end exploitive deforestation and encourage responsible forestry practices.

Going by different common names such as Brazilian Walnut, Lapacho, Amapa, Cortez, Guayacan polvillo and Madera negra and trades like Pau Lope, Diamond Decking and Ironwood, this species of tropical tree has a unique dense cell structure that makes it an ideal wood for use outdoors.  It is eight times harder than California Redwood and 368% harder than Teak.  It is also much less expensive than Teak.  The unique cell structure mentioned previously makes this wood so dense that it actually sinks in water.  This is also what makes the wood so impervious to infestation by termites and other insects.  In tests conducted by the United States Naval Research Laboratory it was found that Ipe wood left in the ground untreated was still without termite infestation after 15 years!  The heartwood is extremely resilient and is very resistant to attack by fungi and mold as well.

Because of its extreme resistance to splintering, again due to the tightly arrange cell structure, this wood is ideal for use in outdoor furniture and decking around pools and hot tubs.  Another built in safety feature is its slip resistance when wet.  Decking made from this tropical hardwood exceeds the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for Static Coefficient of friction in a wet environment.  That is a definite advantage when used in areas where small children frequently run and play.

Though the initial investment may be more than what would be expected if using products of lesser quality, because Ipe wood can be expected to provide a lifetime of use with minimal upkeep, the long term saves add up quickly since any outdoor project that uses this wood should never need to be replaced.    Leaving you with not only extra money but also extra time to spend enjoying your outdoor furniture and decking rather than working on it.