Posts Tagged ‘decking’

What is Ipe?

Wednesday, 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: