Ipe Wood and Its Uses

The fire rating for this species is the same as steel and concrete. The co-efficiency of friction exceeds above and beyond that required by the Americans with Disabilities Act requirement for slip resistance in a wet area. Ipe also requires no pesticides as it is naturally resistant to insects, mold and fungus. This hardwood is strictly regulated by IBAMA and now also available with FSC™ certification, this encourages responsible harvesting and forest management with strict penalties for forestry abuse. Besides the strength and natural characteristics that make Ipe a super wood is its physical look. It is a warm rich and heavy wood with an olive brown to red tones that left untreated will patina to a beautiful silver-ish grey. This hardwood’s natural habitat has extreme weather conditions that range from blistering hot Amazon weather to the endless rainy season with torrid floods. This must contribute to the characteristics of this “ironwood”.

Ipe Wood and Its Uses


Ipe wood, also know as Ironwood and Brazilian Walnut is a hardwood native to South and Central America as well as the Caribbean. This species of wood is the best choice for outdoor applications but is also used anywhere durability and strength is necessary. It is commonly seen on decks, boardwalks, furniture, piers, and docks.



Ipe’s botanical name is Tabebuia Serratifolia.


The most common use found for Ipe is decking and for good reason. Decking is exposed to the weather year round. There is no protection from the elements. Decking is not usually maintained on a regular basis thus may be untreated and/or cleaned for months. Parties and groups gather there in large numbers for entertaining. This creates the need for a strong material. Decking that will not need replacing in 5-10 years, who want to reinstall a deck? When researching the market for the right deck and the pro’s and con’s, the superior material has always been Ipe. The lifespan of Ipe will vary from 50 years up to 100 years with sealer. Commercial projects that require decking like the boardwalk in Atlantic City will chose Ipe with good reason. Imagine the volume of traffic that will walk the boardwalk, the elements that the deck is exposed to and the aesthetic value of natural wood in its environment. Many piers and docks are made with Ipe because of its density and durability. Who wants to replace something when they don’t have to?


Ipe is also commonly used in outdoor and indoor furniture. It is used for outdoor furniture because of its durability and beauty. The rich brown tones complement any design. Most furniture when left to the weather will last maybe a year where Ipe furniture can last for years without ever being replaced. Tables, chairs, loungers and planters are popular items but there are other ideas such as pergolas, screens, fences and siding are now being used. It just makes sense. Who wants to dispose of furniture on a yearly basis and have to shop for more furniture not to mention having to deliver furniture every time the old stuff falls apart. Not only is it bad for the environment but it makes bad business sense to not invest into good long lasting furniture now. Who needs the headache?


Thus when you are out shopping for decking or furniture remember Ipe the super wood.


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