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Decking Choices and Differences

If you are reading this article, than you may be looking for a new deck. If this is the case, than you must be bombarded with the different choices that are available for decking material. There are three major competitors; treated lumber, composites and hardwood lumber. They all have their pro?s and con?s. When weighing out the differences you will see why the choice is easy. Ipe decking has superior qualities that make it easy for you.

Treated lumber is probably the cheapest choice. The longevity of the treated woods is about 10-15 years with annual maintenance and may be less in the harshest environments. Splintering and rot are some complaints in as little as 2-3 years. This lumber will be relatively easy to install but will require sealing and regular maintenance.

Composite lumber is somewhat mid of the line and can be very high priced depending on manufacturer and color selection. This material is a combination of plastic composites and wood fibers. This product is heavily marketed as the big corporations are spending their money on pushing that composite decking requires no sealer and will last forever. These are false statements. Composite decking has a history of problems with staining and color fading. The wood fibers that are mixed in the plastic has an environment for mold and fungus growth and some decking products have warped with the heat exposure. De-lamination has been reported in as little as 9 months after installation. Warranty will only cover the materials thus creating more labor with removal and re-installation. As for maintenance, the warranty is not valid with out regular maintenance of the decking. Sealing the deck with a preservative would be the way to insure a resistance to fungus and mold.

Now let?s examine Ipe decking. Ipe wood is 3x?s as hard as oak with a fire rating class A same as concrete and steel and slip resistance rated above the coefficient of friction for commercial applications. The hardwood is so dense it is resistant to mold and fungus. No worries about chemicals, Ipe is also insect and rot resistant. Ipe has been used in several commercial application due to its strength and natural beauty. Those who have environmental concerns about deforestation can rest assured that there are governmental and private organizations that monitor forests specifically for practices and procedures. The forests in Brazil where Ipe is predominantly exported from has government implemented regulations that utilize selective harvesting and responsible forestry practices with severe penalties for forest owners that do not comply. FSC certified forests are now growing at a rapid rate and requires annual audits and compliance for responsible forestry. These types of systems in place will ensure that the forests stay in place rather than get burnt down for cattle gazing and agricultural cash cropping. This also ensures that jobs remain in place for the people that need them with the natural resources that they rely on. The life expectancy of Ipe decking is average 50 years with up to 100 years with maintenance. Pricing for this deck is more than treated lumber but when faced with having to replace and re-install in as little as 10 years, this hardwood is less expensive over time.

The choice is easy when comparing the information and when you look at the difference. Decking should be installed and than enjoyed for the lifetime of the home. Put something in you know will last, has no chemicals and you can enjoy without all the maintenance requirements.

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