Archive for the ‘Maintance for Products’ Category

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

Thursday, 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


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

Thursday, 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

Got a Boat Dock – Maintenance Musts

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

For those who live on a waterway — river, lake, bay or canal — you’ve probably have built a boat dock using extremely hard wood. If you haven’t, think about it. Especially if you have a little skiff sitting on the grass or tied to a weight close to the shore.

We’ve got some tips for existing structures or a soon-to-be constructed ipe boat docks.

Try to Fit In

Before we get to what you’ll regularly need to do to keep it functional for years, this message is for those who are about to build their water-logged plank. You are borrowing a part of nature from other wildlife. By that we suggest constructing it so it doesn’t mess with the habitats of other animals. Beavers especially. We don’t have to tell you why except to remind you they have sharp teeth and love to gnaw-away at wood.

Likewise, keep it wide so it won’t interrupt the water as it splashes, naturally, along the shoreline. It prevents erosion where the water meets the land.

On the Surface

Since you’re concerned about the environment, you want to purchase some of our hardwoods that have not been treated. They don’t need to be. They hold-up their end of the bargain because of the trees they came from. There are some sealants on the market if you wish to take that path.

These are known as low-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials. No petrochemicals or oils are in the formula. No pollution. As we mentioned before, with a wood like ipe it’s not a “must do” thing you need handle. But these low-VOC solutions are clear in color and add an extra measure of water-resistance. As if you’d need it with one of the hardest woods known to humanity.

Cleaning the Boat Deck Surface

We’ve got something you can concoct in your kitchen that’s environmentally safe. Mix together a three-to-one batch of olive oil and vinegar. This will take care of any mineral salt deposits or stains. Stir regularly and pour a little at a time and with a medium bristle broom, sweep the ugly away.

What if you accidentally spill some oil on the surface? Another trip to the kitchen. Make a paste with baking soda and water. Cover the area in question, let it dry, then hose it off.

We do not recommend pressure washers unless they are set very low — like under 900 PSI.

The Actual Structure

Take a good look at the boat dock every season. Get in the water and push at the legs, heartily. Walk across the surface with a heavy foot. Check any hardware for corrosion. To avoid rusting and the like, use stainless steel bolts, nails, nuts and all the other stuff that’s keeping it together when constructing it.

Find anything that needs fixing? Fix it. Right away. It will not only prolong the life of your deck.

It will also save you a trip to the hospital.

Remember that old tune by Otis Redding, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay?” Kind of a sad song, but he’s got the right idea:

Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun

I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ come

Watching the ships roll in

And then I watch ‘em roll away again

It really doesn’t get any better than that!

Original Source:

Sealing or Staining

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

There’s one thing in the world that really doesn’t need to be seriously slapped with strange colored stain. If you have a backyard fence or deck that’s all ipe, all the time, you stain it to keep it new with something that doesn’t alter its striking tone.

You’ve got to protect your investment. But even without sealing, ipe, tigerwood, cumaru and garapa will age just like the Queen of England. The colors will turn over the years, but if it’s durability you want, you got it with these seemingly ageless products.

But, What If?

You want to keep the exotic hues that the lumber had on the first day the installation. There are a couple of approaches you can take.

  • Staining your wood with a perfect match of stain will protect it from the damage that the sun can generate on the surface.
  • Sealing the wood keeps the wolves at bay. Once again, ipe, tigerwood, cumaru and garapa are extremely resistant to water, pollen, mold and dirt that gets tracked across the surface.

It’s up to you. You really only need protection if you want to keep these interesting hardwoods floor-room fresh. Other than that, you can “set it and forget it” if you so choose.

The Weathering Process

To know what you’re protecting, let’s take a moment to talk about the weathering process. When you seal it with something clear, the natural color won’t last forever. Thanks, Mr. Sun. The ultra-violet rays will bleach-out the surface. The natural color will soon be grandfathered into a gray or silvery shade.

Clear sealing materials are not sunglasses. It seems like it’s a low maintenance solution, but ol’ Sol will take its toll with simple sealing.

That means if you want to hold onto that wonderful color, you might think about applying a coat of pigmented stain every couple of years. Stain reflects the power of the sun. Sometimes the damage from the large heating source in the sky is absorbed by the coat and not the wood. Reminder: Choose a stain that nearly perfectly matches the fresh color of the hardwood. You could even go a shade lighter. Ipe, tigerwood, cumaru and garapa can handle it.

What Kind of Stain?

The recommendation is picking a stain and sealer that’s oil-based. Look to see if micro-ground transparent oxide pigments are part of the make-up of the material. Forget anything with clay pigments. While that will work well if you use actual colored paint, you’ll end up with structure that ends-up spotty and with uneven patches of color. Really, don’t use paint on the good stuff.

With transparent oxide pigments, you’ll keep everything clear as you bounce the UV rays back from where they came.

Ever buy a pair of cheap sunglasses? What a bargain. But if you bought some eyewear that was tried-and-true, the tint will modify the way colors look. But they won’t fritz-around with the beauty or detail. Blocks the sun. Won’t make what you see fuzzy.

Going oil-based with micro-ground transparent oxide pigments, same thing. They’ll enhance what you see and not gum-up the original look of your lifetime investment.

Original Source:

Outdoor Living Maintenance

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

We like to think we’re in a “set it and forget it” kind of world, as they used to say on the old TV commercial. Truth is everything needs a little maintenance now and then. That holds true for your deck, trellis, pergola, arbor and wood fence.

Without a little spring or summer sprucing up, it won’t be long before you’ll be faced with a monstrosity that will require replacement to bring back the function that it one time delivered to your outdoor living space.

Tom and Huck

Even in the classic Mark Twain novels, you remember how the boys hated to paint the white wooden fence. However, if you have a hardwood structure like ipe (EE-pay), tigerwood, garapa or cumaru, the maintenance will be significantly reduced. But as we said at the top, it’s not a “set it and forget it” proposition.

The last thing you want to do with any of these hardwoods is paint them. These are the strongest woods known to humanity. They can hold their own whether stained or simply sealed. Painting leads to chipping which leads to scraping off the coat, wasting some serious time and money.

Natural or Beyond

Already known for their exotic beauty, ipe, tigerwood, garapa or cumaru can simply be left to age gracefully. The color will change throughout the years if you take that route. You could stain these hardwoods. There are so many options and hues from which to choose. Your best bet is to retain their elegance by simply sealing the wood.

Don’t go cheap on the all-weather clear sealant. The better the brand, the less likely you’ll need to repeat the process over the years. Remember: You get what you pay for.

Staining, A Buyer’s Guide

While we do not endorse any of these brands, we can get you a leg-up on a few of the quality manufacturers of sealants and stains.

  • One product that has been introduced in the past few years is called One Time. The creators of this substance suggest that it has a lifespan of about 7-years. Be aware, it’s a touch more expensive than some of the other names on our roster.
  • The Flood Company started out during the Wild West days of 1841. You’ll get around a 5-year run on this material.
  • Every town has a store that used to employ the slogan that they cover the Earth — Sherwin Williams. An added feature of buying from these establishments are that the people who wait on you are not some kid with a summer job. The staff knows their business. Like Everlasting Hardwoods, we’re both in the same boat with experts that are both knowledgeable and well trained.
  • Sikkens stains and sealers are designed for easy, one-coat application that offers maximum protection for outdoor living areas. This transparent coating enhances the natural appearance of wood, while providing optimal protection from the elements. This product is ideal for your siding, railing, and decks, SRD coatings are available in eight tints.

Just some suggestions of the quality, high-end stuff that you might consider applying if your deck, trellis, pergola, arbor or wood fence is unfinished. Even if it comes completely protected, anywhere from 3-to-5 years, you’ll need to perform some maintenance. We hope the choices — again not recommendations — can help guide your way.

Original Source:h

The Wrong Way – Ipe Deck Finishing

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

We always hear about fashion dos and don’ts. You know, crap like don’t wear white after Labor Day. Really? Tell that to Mother Nature, Vermont Division. That’s the state which celebrates Summer on August 9th between 2-and-4 PM. Lots of snow. Frozen precip, if you haven’t heard, is white.

Along these lines, there are some matters you should never do before or after your ipe (EE-pay) deck has been installed. Top of the list, don’t paint the surface white.

The Wrong Stuff

There are a lot of things that fall into the hands-off category. Like never eat ipe, even from the corner of the structure. More reasonably, put down your fork and saw. Here’s a bunch of stuff that should be on, occasionally off-limits.

  • Don’t fail to pre-finish. Before you begin construction of your deck, slap on a coat. Don’t miss anything – top, bottom, side-to-side. After it’s installed, get the exposed ends. Let it set for a day-or-two so that it’s totally dry when you hammer and screw it into place. By pre-finishing the ipe you are adding decades (hell, maybe centuries) to the hardwood’s lifespan. This is especially necessary if the deck is close to the ground. Either way, begin with this procedure.
  • Never coat your ipe deck by using a squeegee, an air-driven sprayer or a roller. Attach a pair of knee pads, get on all fours and apply it by hand. It’s a potential pain in the vertebrae, but it’s the best way to apply the gunk.
  • Are you contemplating a lap of film-forming coatings? Bad deck owner. Never do this to any wood deck, even if it’s not ipe decking. Marine structures require this process. Land-lubbing ones will require mucho maintenance if you cross this stream. Remember why you bought ipé to begin with? It doesn’t take that much care and feeding.
  • You want to add oils that penetrate the ipe. You do not want to go too far, though. And once you wipe it on the surface, go back over the work to rid the deck of any excess oil. Putting oil on soft woods, you can go bat crap crazy with the amount you apply. Those woods that are lower on the Janka hardness scale can suck-it-up. Ipe keeps the oil at arm’s length. Too much oil will simply make the surface icky.
  • Just because its ipe doesn’t mean you’ll be able to take the deck to the prom forever. Sooner-or-later the hardwood will wear a tattered gown. It’s a pro-choice issue. You can let it age gracefully to a silvery gray by never touching it up. Or you’ll need to do some annual upkeep. Don’t get nervous. Maintenance with ipe means sweeping the surface; with a moist cloth removing any soil or sap; and reapplying the oil. No BFD.

Keeping the Color of Ipé Intact

Monday, November 12th, 2012

The proposed Ipe (EE-pay) deck you’re planning to erect in the front 40 is one of those types of wood that only needs a grain of love after its been assembled. This dark rose-brown material is capable of standing the test of time without a hell of a lot of care and feeding. Unlike softer woods that can be stained or painted, ipe wood comes utterly self-contained.

There are some matters you can do to seal the deal without sealing the wood. Shall we talk about a few of the little things you can do to keep everyone happy?

Irregular Maintenance

Just leaving the wood alone, you’ll be able to watch it evolve from its freshly-cut state to a classic, gentlemanly silver. However, those who’d like to keep that ruby-brunette appearance as rich as the day it was felled, here’s what you need to do. It shouldn’t take all that much work on your end. Nice part: You’ll only need to do this every couple of years.

  • Affix your hands on the handle of a broom. Sweep the surface clean of any residual crap that’s piled up on the surface. A good practice is to do this not only annually, but anytime wet leaves or any junk are resting on the deck.
  • Fill a bucket with water and dip a mop into the liquid to scrub-down any areas that didn’t get the message from the broom. This entire cleaning exercise will ensure that whatever you do, the ipe will age gracefully without any spots in the places that cover the material from the sun.
  • Anytime before you apply anything to any wood – ipe included – find an out-of-the-way location to try-out the product. Let that test area rest so you can see what it will do to the ipe.
  • At the lumber yard, purchase a deck finish with a ultra-violet blocker. Likewise, read the label to assure yourself that it’s safe to use on this hardwood. Or you can DIY-it by mixing together some spar varnish and boiled linseed oil. Let the concoction sit overnight before you lap it on the wood.
  • Since ipe is already extremely water resistant you don’t need to worry about that when brushing on the linseed-based solution. Only concern you have is to apply it evenly. Don’t go overboard with the stuff. You don’t want to make the surface all gooey.
  • What if you want to highlight the darker hues of the hardwood? Before applying the linseed liquid, brush a coat of ipe stain on the surface. Follow directions for use. Note: This will not modify the color of the deck; it only enhances what the wood already shows.
  • Good news! The finish should last 5-years or-so.

Damage Control – Wood Furniture

Monday, October 29th, 2012

You and the spouse feel like Tarzan and Jane during the outdoor months. Hanging-out in the backyard is your favorite best thing to do other than eat fresh heritage tomatoes from that perfectly loamed garden of yours. You’ve equipped the deck with fine hardwood furniture – tables, chairs, benches, a fire pit and a big-assed porcelain egg for grilling.

One night, a heavy storm comes rumbling through the area. A branch falls, hitting the teak picnic table, leaving behind an ugly reminder. After muttering the obligatory obscenities, it’s time for some retail damage control.

Calm Down, Bubba

The sweetest thing that wooden furniture brings to the dance is that it’s fairly easy to patch a scratch. You can go pro and get something from the woodworking section of your local hardware store. Or you can open a tin of shoe polish that matches the furniture’s hue. Maybe find a magic marker that’s the same color. With any solution you choose, simply dab a bit on the damaged area.

If it’s a deep groove, you may need to call in a pro to restore the canyon. Anyway you go, the nick can be fixed.


Before applying any solution, test things out in an area of the ipe furniture or other wood furniture where any mistakes will not be seen. You do not want the cure to be worse than the disease. Beyond shoe polish, for dark wood, crack open a walnut and rub the meat along the grain of the wood. Does the stuff have a cherry finish? Grab some q-tips and a little bottle of iodine. For those who have pieces with a lighter stain, either purchase some neutral shoe wax or mix iodine and denatured alcohol in a small glass dish and dab it on the offending area.


Most issues that involve water marks or stains can be repaired by merely using common household products. Three of the top items to fix watermarks are toothpaste, mayonnaise or vegetable oil. Wipe-down the area, then wax it.

Let’s say the watermark is on the finish and hasn’t sunk into the wood itself. Cover the spot with a clean cloth and iron it. Apply the iron a little at a time, check, reapply.

Do you have a white stain? Try this: Mix some salad oil and cigarette ashes together and brush the surface with that concoction. Booze stains or milk rings can be rubbed-out with a damp cloth and some diluted ammonia. Just don’t get too heavy-handled. Be gentle.

An Incomplete Master List

There are so many of grandma’s home remedies you can try for other newly added imperfections:

  • Nail polish issues? Use wax and apply it with a fine steel wool. Wipe it down and polish it up.
  • Cigarette burns require creating a goo that consists of linseed oil and well-ground pumice powder. With a soft cloth, go with the grain and gingerly wipe the burnt spot.
  • If someone deposited their gum on your furniture, first smack them upside the head then wrap an ice cube in a cloth. Take out an expired credit card, gently scraping off the gum. Moisten a piece of extra-fine steel wool with mineral spirits and lightly brush the area.
  • Got a heat mark? Use a soft cloth and some camphor oil, rubbing into the grain.

Getting Your Ipe (or Any Wood) Furniture Ready for Winter

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Looking at the title, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why would I need to get some of the hardest wood on the planet ready for winter? Hasn’t the stuff already been puffed-up by Mother Nature?”

Well, yeah. Ipe is known as Ironwood, but even Sheamus with the WWE needs a little TLC now and then. So, how’s about we run-down what you should do for your ipe before it has to fight the weather equivalent of CM Punk again.

Not Just for Ipe

You’re the lucky one with the champion of wood. But if you have another grade, these steps will likewise be helpful for all of your outdoor wood furniture. You paid dearly to extend your living room into the backyard. Treat it with respect. Not just when winter comes blowing in. Make this part of the regular routine:

• Every 3-to-4 months, oil-up the furniture. You need not get fancy with the protectorate. Linseed oil is fine.
• Clean up your act. You want to hose down your furniture to get rid of the junk that’s fallen upon it. Now, clutch your faithful bucket, filling it with an appropriate wood cleanser and the right amount of water. A sponge gets the majority. But for a stubborn clump of dirt or the like, a brush will remove crap that can break-down the integrity of chairs and tables. A couple of times a year will do.
• We talk about the wood a lot, but what about the hardware? Flip the chairs and tables over and scrutinize the bolts, nails, screws and everything that keeps the wood in place. Tighten or replace anything that’s worn.
• When you notice that the outdoor furniture is beginning to show its age, put on your restoration gloves and sand it down. After the pores on the grain have been teased, you can apply some stain or paint followed by a finisher. Think of this as adding a fresh raincoat to the surface.
• Have you purchased any waterproof covers for your outdoor wood furniture? Whatsamattayou? Since you plunged deep into your pockets for the creature comforts, wrap them when you’re not using them. Can’t find covers that will fit? Get a couple of thick plastic tarps, securing them with bungee cord. It’s not only the rain; you need to cover your outdoor furniture from the sun.
• For those who didn’t take our advice and cover their treasure, after a rain you really need to dry-off the furniture. Ipe can handle it, but softer woods can’t. And even ipe can hit the skids if it’s constantly assaulted. Just ask Sheamus.
• Don’t set your outdoor furniture on the grass. Unless you live in the Mohave chances are the sod is wet at least once a day with dew. Water can throw your wood to the canvas faster than Jerry Lawler could give a pair of pile drivers to Andy Kaufman.