Ipe Decks

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Whether you're a private homeowner or a commercial property manager, Ipe decks are one of the best investments you can make. Ipe is quite simply one of the world's toughest woods. Nearly three times harder than oak, the dense and heavy Brazilian Ipe is the workhorse of all long-lasting woods. The fact that it also goes by the name "Ironwood" is a testament to its unique qualities.

Ipe is one of the world's most versatile woods, used in everything from machine tools to industrial flooring to decorative laminates on indoor furniture. This demonstrates the grand irony of Ipe. It is used both for the most utilitarian applications, never meant to be seen by the public (tools and industrial flooring), as well as the most image-conscious ones (decorative veneers). The only inappropriate use for Ipe, it would seem, is boat building--for Ipe is so heavy that it would sink immediately!

Success with Ipe Decks

Many of the world's large cities choose Ipe as the main planking material for the construction of their seaside boardwalks. This is because, with Ipe, water resistance goes hand in hand with hardness. Atlantic City's boardwalk, constructed from Ipe, is living proof of its success. After nearly three decades of constant exposure to the East Coast elements, the boardwalk is completely intact.

Ipe has a slightly oily texture, which not only keeps water from entering and rotting its fibers, but also keeps the wood pliable and smooth to the touch. You can't construct a boardwalk or a home deck out of brittle and splintering planks. Ipe delivers just the opposite: a smooth surface that feels good on your bare feet.

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