Ironwood Decking

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Ironwood decking gets its name from its legendary hardness. This decking is derived from the Ironwood tree, also known by the names Ipe or Pau Lope. This tree's natural habitat is in the South American rainforests, but it is shipped all over the world at great expense due to very high demand. The wood is expensive to ship because it's so heavy, which is actually one of the factors in its value.

Ironwood's heaviness contributes to its durability and iron-like qualities. Oak wood, also famed for its hardness, is only about a third as hard as Ironwood. Ironwood also possesses a unique oily quality, which helps make it water resistant as well as unlikely to crack, warp or splinter. In essence, it's the unusual combination of extreme hardness with suppleness that makes this wood so special and so valuable.

More Qualities of Ironwood Decking
Another valuable quality of Ironwood decking that cannot be overestimated is its fire resistance. One of the major drawbacks of wood decking is the risk of fire. However, Ironwood is among the most fire resistant woods in the world, with a Class A fireproof rating from the US Forest Products Lab and a Uniform Building Code rating of Class 1.

Other qualities of Ironwood decking include its natural mold resistance and its undesirability to wood-boring insects that chew up wood decks. Ironwood also naturally resists drying defects such as surface checking. Ironwood decking needn't be treated with any sealant or stain in order to retain its durability. However, many people choose to do so in order to preserve the natural russet tone of the wood.


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