Hardwood Timber for Decks, Patios & Porches

Posted February 5th, 2010 by ipemadeira
 

 

 

Why is timber the choice for many people when they consider decks, patios and porches? Timber has been a much needed resource for our ancestors for thousands of years. Trees provided wood to make fire for heat making winters bearable and for foods that would otherwise be hard to eat. Timber also was used for building homes. This natural resource is biodegradable, recyclable, energy efficient, durable, salvageable and beautiful. Timber uses less energy to process than steel, concrete, plastic and aluminum.

What timber is most recommended for durability and longevity? The tropical hardwood Ipe from South America is known for its’ strength, durability, beauty and resistance to insects, rot and mold/fungus. This hardwood has a Janka rating of over 3600. Ipe wood is 8 x’s harder than the California redwood 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 applications due to its strength and natural beauty.

Ipe has a life expectancy of 40 plus years with no maintenance and is highly recommended for marinas, docks and piers. Slip resistant and dense, this hardwood is used in commercial applications such as the Boardwalk in Miami and numerous hotels and restaurants for good reason. This timber has just recently become popular as previously it was hard to cut and get to. Now with new technology and better transportation methods it has become economically available and with new government regulations and private organizations such as FSC, it is being responsibly harvested. This makes a big difference especially just in the last 10 years.

When you take in to consideration the longevity, aesthetics, durability and strength of the various deck boards on the market, you will agree that Ipe has the best qualities for the money. You get a long lasting, low maintenance, absolutely stunning and environmentally friendly deck. FSC certified deck boards are now available and with the Lacey Act in affect you can rest assured that the Ipe being supplied to the US is coming from responsibly harvested forests. Timber is and has always been the material of choice for decks, patios and porches for many reasons. The natural beauty of timber and the feel of wood under your feet are just two reasons for the popularity. You can have your cake and eat it too with an Ipe hardwood deck.

Decks Built to Last

Posted December 18th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

 

 

Decking is one of the most popular home improvements in the U.S. Many homes will at some point have a deck and this will increase the value of the home at time of sales. This type of home improvement adds living space and value. Many of us like to have a getaway. Somewhere to relax, take the edge off and maybe cool down. The outdoors is a great place to do just that and there are many ways to utilize a deck. Outdoor kitchens are growing popular, gardening exotic and otherwise, fire pits with seating, even around the pool area for sunbathing. Anyone investing in a deck will want one built to last and this requires an extensive examination of what deck boards to use.

Let’s look at what is involved. Once a design and space has been allotted you will want to examine types of materials available which will include availability, pricing, longevity, timeframe, strength, aesthetics, durability and maintenance. You also want to buy from a reputable distributor preferably an established company. If you are not installing yourself than you will need to find a reputable and insured installer. Check with your local county on required permits and any restrictions.

The many products available for decking can be broken down to basically three. Pressure treated pine decking, composite or PVC decking and exotic hardwood decking. If you have begun researching, you have come up with an extensive amount of information base for all the above. Let’s take a look at them individually.

Pressure treated deck boards will be the least expensive with easiest install. This wood is chemically treated for longevity and resistance to insects and mold. The longevity of this wood will greatly depend on the location as it will weather better in temperate weather. Splitting, splintering and deterioration can begin in as early as 2 years but with proper sealing can be 5-10 years. Regular sealing and cleaning is required.

Composite deck boards will be mid to high priced depending on company, color and size. This deck board can not be used for frame support. Heavily marketed, this product has become one of the fastest growing deck materials in the U.S. The many different companies that manufacture this product will have different colors and composition mixes. Problems associated can range from very hot surface to touch in hot climates, mold and fungus growth, flaking and deterioration in under one year time, staining and warping, warranty does not cover labor. It is difficult to gauge the actual lifetime as the products are relatively new in the market and some have been redesigned several times due to failure. The main selling points for this product, is no maintenance and consistency in color. Companies are now stating you must keep surfaces clean and some require sealing. There are now sealers specifically for composite decks. One company warranty that I found specifically stated you should clean and dry deck with clean cloth.

Exotic hardwood deck boards will be priced mid to high depending on the species and size. This group of hardwoods can include ipe, tigerwood, garapa, and cumaru to name a few. The positive aspects of this group are naturally resistant to insects, mold, mildew and rot, strength of ipe is over 3600 on janka rating 5x’s strength of California redwood, completely biodegradable and renewable, and lifespan can be up to 40 years without sealer (specifically Ipe decking). FSC certified material is now available for LEED points and for discriminating clients who want a paper trail to the responsibly harvested forest their wood came from. Purchasing from a reputable importer is paramount. This also insures responsible forest purchases.

Build a Green Deck Use Ipe

Posted December 18th, 2009 by ipemadeira

 

What does “build green” mean? It is different for many people. There is no specific standardized term but I feel it embodies several different things. For one, is the product renewable? Does it come from a biodegradable or recyclable source? How much energy is needed to make the product and transport it to its final destination? What happens to it once it is worn out or broken? After reviewing those specific questions I have come to the conclusion that if you’re looking for a sustainable wood product for your home, the tropical hardwood Ipe is the best material for your outdoor decking and indoor flooring needs.

First this hardwood is renewable. There are many managed forests available and the number of forests obtaining the prestigious FSC certification is growing rapidly. The USGBC uses only FSC certified wood for their LEED program due to the stringent requirements to become certified as a forest and as a manufacturer and distributor. The Lacey Act is put in place by the Department of Interior, Commerce & Agriculture to ensure that only legal wood and confirmed suppliers are allowed entrance into the US. Logging may not sound desirable but compared to drilling oil or mixing toxic byproducts for man made decking, it is a much more attractive source. Forests are no longer allowed to clear cut their trees and have stricter rules for maintaining constant flow of fruit bearing trees.

Second, Ipe is a totally biodegradable product. It can be recycled and used for other sources or broken down completely back to the earth. This species of wood requires no treatments or chemicals as it is naturally rot, mold, fungus and insect resistant. Other artificial products are not so environmentally friendly. Both PVC decking and composite decks will eventually be transported to a landfill where it will contribute to the problem of ever-growing landfills. Many composite decks boast that they are made of recycled plastics but what they don’t tell you is that the decking will have ¼ the lifespan if that of Ipe. This coupled with the fact that most composite decks cannot be recycled because the wood fibers and plastics cannot be separated.

Third, the amount of energy needed to make the product and transport it is substantially less for natural wood than any man made product. If you consider the fact that wood does not require fossil fuel extraction and consumption then it’s easy to see why the difference is substantial. Fossil fuels, as we all know, have only increased in production and environmental costs over time. Contaminants in the air, water and land due to fossil fuel consumption will only increase with demand.

It seems we are always looking for new and alternative resources for improving what nature has provided for but it always comes down to the fact that we can’t improve on it. Natural wood flooring has been and will always be the best material for its purpose. There is no duplicating it and it is truly as green as it gets. If we all participate in buying from suppliers who use responsible forests than we contribute to a sustainable environment and reduce the use of fossil fuels that we have become so dependent on.

 

Ipe the Proven Leader in Decking

Posted September 24th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

 

 

 

 

 

Many people have never heard of ipe decking let alone have any idea why they would want to look at it. This hardwood is very recently being used more by residential users as commercial applications have been utilized for years. Little was known as milling was difficult and transport expensive. Now with technological advancement in equipment and more transportation venues the costs are competitive with the composite industry and sometimes less. Decking is an investment and does increase the value of your home. For that reason alone you want to find out why Ipe is the proven leader for all your outdoor decking needs. Now let find out a little more about what it is.

Ipe is an exotic hardwood originating mainly from South America but also from Central America and Caribbean. This decking is so dense that no chemicals are needed to repel insects and it also is mold and fungus resistant. The janka hardness is over 3600 compared to California redwood at 420, 8 times the strength. Ipe has the same fire rating as concrete and steel for flame spread. Naturally slip resistant, this deck has a life span of over 40 years without UV inhibitor. With UV inhibitor, the life span of Ipe is over 100 years so no need to replace in your lifetime and your kids can enjoy it through their adult years as well.

There are questions in reference to the environment and concerns over the future of the forests. There are companies such as Advantage Trim & Lumber that only purchase from reputable companies that practice responsible forestry. FSC certified lumber is also available for the more discriminating clients, architects and designers. This allows you to have a paper trail from the actual forest where it was cut to the final destination from where you purchased. Responsible forestry includes cutting down only older trees that no longer bear fruit and replacing with two or more young trees that have the space and time to grow. Selective areas are chosen and land is retained for forestry rather than burnt down for agricultural cash cropping or cattle grazing. This is what will help us save our future forests and prevent the land being used for other sources.

Now let’s take a quick look at the competitive products. Pressured treated decking has been the most popular and least expensive but in the long run has to be replaced in as little as 5-10 years depending on how often it is sealed and the out gassing of chemicals is a detriment to your health and environment. Composite decking has a terrible history of warping, molding, staining, flaking, and de-laminating. Warranties have not been honored in the past and now are being written with verbiage to exclude labor to reinstall. Lawsuits are mounting and new products are yet to be tested.

I hope this has answered your basic questions about why Ipe is a proven deck leader. This product was chosen on such commercial applications as Miami boardwalk and Atlantic City Boardwalk for good reason. Do it once and do it right the first time as the saying goes. No one wants to pay to rip out and re-install a deck but rather enjoy their time with family and friends on their new outdoor oasis.

 

The Hardwood Wrench Deck Straightening Tool Delivers

Posted August 10th, 2009 by ipemadeira

The Hardwood Wrench™ for Your Decking Installation

Are you in the market for a new deck? Looking to install one this summer? Maybe you install decks for a living. If you have ever installed wood decks such as Ipe decking you will want to hear about a new tool out on the market the Hardwood Wrench™. This amazing tool is a self locking deck board straightening assistant while you are installing your deck. Now you don’t need someone to hold the board in place while you install.

This easy one man operation cam locks in place and straightens the deck board. It is easily reversible with no extra tools needed. The quality of this tool is top notch. It adjusts to various sized joist thicknesses. The Hardwood Wrench™ is made of high quality anodized aircraft grade aluminum with hardwood handle for longevity and strength. It is also rather light for the construction but heavy duty enough for your toughest application. Another great feature is that it is made in the USA.

So stop wasting time and labor, get yourself this product. It is new on the market but has a website and is already in high demand. This heavy duty tool is constructed for the professional to be used multiply times. If decking is your specialty than you can not afford to be without it. Anything that speeds up installation, gives you more precision and simplifies is worth looking into.

The Ipe Clip Hidden Deck Fasteners

Posted August 10th, 2009 by ipemadeira

The hidden deck fasteners have become the hottest thing to hit the decking market. This product gives a seamless and custom look to any deck. The Ipe Clip brand fastener is the one I recommend for several reasons. They offer several models in 3 colors for wood and composite decking and a quick and easy installation process plus they have 3 times the strength of competing fasteners. This product is made in the USA and has many dealers through out the US and internationally.

The standard is recommended for air-dried wood and composite made with fiberglass-reinforced materials that is up up to three times the strength of the other fasteners. This model as well as the others is available in brown, black and grey to match any of your decking needs. The fasteners work great with decking grooved with a biscuit jointer since the size allows for plenty of tolerance within the cut. The installation steps are quite simplistic. Secure the first deck board to the joist with a 90 degree vertical screw, can install an Ipe Plug if this is an Ipe deck. Place an Ipe Clip fastener into the board groove above the joist, than run a screw at 45 degrees (for hardwoods) or 90 degrees for composite decking. Slide the next deck board over the exposed half of the previously installed fastener. That is it and the process is the same for all models.

The Extreme Ipe Clip brand fasteners are recommended for air dried wood and composite wood as well but include a premium grade stainless steel reinforced insert molded inside the fastener for increased holding power. This makes it nearly unbreakable and provides maximum holding strength in extreme hot and cold climates. This model is recommended for stronger hardwoods such as Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood, etc.

The Extreme KD hidden deck fasteners are made out of a pliable material with a hollow leg that compresses as kiln-dried material expands on its width, this model also contains the stainless steel insert. The soft body allows for expansion of the deck boards, while the rigid stainless steel insert maintains maximum holding power to keep the boards held firmly to the joist. This model is suitable for kiln-dried wood and many composite materials. If you are not certain what model to choose from than this is the one for you as it has all the properties available for strength, durability and longevity. The website http://www.ipeclip.com has easy to follow instructions and detailed information as well as contact information for your purchasing needs.

If you are building a new deck, you want it to look nice without screw holes all over the top of the deck plus it won’t snag your feet.

Decking Made Easy with Ipe

Posted July 16th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

ipe_galBIG8

 

 

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 problem is it is treated with chemicals that are harmful for the environment and most importantly for you and your family. 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.

 

 

 

Ipe Flooring vs. Red Oak Flooring

Posted July 16th, 2009 by ipemadeira

Rough measurement of a material’s propensity to burn rapidly and spread flames. Red Oak has a class III rating vs. Ipe at class I, the same as concrete and steel. This is an excellent safety feature for commercial applications.

Ipe Flooring vs. Red Oak Flooring

Red Oak flooring has revolutionized the hardwood flooring industry in the 80’s but with new technology and demands, we have discovered a stronger, more durable and beautiful hardwood that lends a more sophisticated look. Ipe also known as Brazilian Walnut offers all those qualities and when comparing the Janka Hardness and fire rating coupled with the warm natural beauty of the wood you will begin to understand why Ipe flooring is the wood floor for the future.

What is Janka hardness? The Wikipedia definition states: The Janka hardness test measures the hardness of wood. It involves measuring the force required to embed a 11.28 millimeter (0.444 inch) steel ball into wood to half its diameter. This method was chosen so that the result would leave an indention 100 square millimeters in size. It is one of the best measures of the ability of a wood species to withstand denting and wear. Red Oak has a rating of 1290 compared to Ipe at 3640. In essence Ipe flooring is 3x’s stronger than Red Oak.

What is the fire spread rating? Business dictionary states it is:

Red Oak tends toward a medium color and wide variation in grain where Ipe is a tighter grain dark color. Red Oak has a more traditional look where Ipe can fit both traditional and contemporary settings. The physical attributes are quite visible but the behind the scenes properties give you a good idea on the longevity and durability of these woods. Red Oak did serve a great purpose for the 80’s but with the technological advances and more responsible forest harvesting available, Ipe floors are quickly becoming the hottest product for your wood flooring selection.

Got Ipe?

Posted July 16th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

 

 

ipe_deck_8816What comes to mind when you think of building or remodeling your outdoor living space? Most of us would like to build a nice deck with a grill and have some seating area for entertaining, maybe some music and a TV for some football games. Now the next step is the budget and how much you want and can spend in that area. After that is the research. What materials to use and labor to get it done.

Whether you are a DIY person or looking to pay someone else to do it you only want to do it once, especially if you are doing it yourself. With this in mind, most of us will visit a big box store and maybe some specialty stores to get an idea on what to use and costs involved. Some of us will also go online and leaf through some magazines along with quizzing our friends and neighbors about their decks and what their thoughts are. This is the smart thing to do. Gathering information and learn what you need to know to get the most for your time and money.

Most of us with some expendable money want something with as little maintenance as possible, long lasting so they don’t have to replace in 7-12 years, beautiful to look at and affordable. If you have kids or plan to spend a good amount of time out may also want to consider if there are any harmful chemicals to treat the deck and mold or fungus complaints along with any recalls for injuries etc.

Now take all the above information and research Ipe, Cumaru and Tigerwood decking. Ipe decking has been increasing in popularity recently due to many consumers researching the qualities of this specie of wood. 8x’s harder than the California Redwood and a life expectancy of 100+ years will surely last for your children’s children to enjoy. No preservatives are added as the density and makeup of the wood is naturally resistant to rot and decay as well as pest infestation. A rich warm beautiful tone with a slip resistance that surpasses the minimum required for wet areas based on Americans with Disability Act requirements for static coefficiency of friction.

For the environmentally conscious please note that the forests in Brazil are now strictly regulated by IBAMA and now a good amount of the forests are also FSC certified forests. This keeps the forests truly renewable through selective harvesting and retaining forest value rather than them being burnt down for cattle grazing or agricultural cash cropping. FSC certified Ipe is available with any reputable lumber company.

Now the growing composite decking market is another option but please research what composite decking is made of? Petroleum? Lignins? (causes fading) Many composite companies throw a large amount of money into marketing that they use recycled materials but the research conducted on those plastics raise questions on the strength of it. The only truly recyclable decking is wood. Please research the mold and fungus issues/complaints that are posted online along with sagging, bending, delaminating and warping common with most plastic products in as little as 7 months. There are many companies with recalls and injury claims. The lifetime of those types of decks are also questionable as many are plastic composites and over time in outdoor environments will react in different ways especially in extreme heat and humidity. Some research on the class action suits and complaints will have you treading lightly.

Many of us don’t want to make the mistakes of others and the investment up front isn’t much more than other competitive decking. So for you out there who are ready to take the plunge and create your outdoor oasis, do your do diligence. You work hard so maximize your dollars.

Ipe the Natural Choice

Posted July 16th, 2009 by ipemadeira

 

 

Ipe-Decking—The-Natural-Choice

Ipe (aka Brazilian walnut, Amapa, Cortez) decking known also as ironwood has gained popularity as consumers have become more educated. Not only is Ipe a natural rich looking product but it is an extremely dense hardwood. It is 3x’s as hard as oak with a Class A fire resistance (same rating as concrete and steel). Ipe wood is resistant to mold and fungus. Don’t worry about pesticides as Ipe is rot and insect resistant as well.

Ipe decks are installed all over the world by the most discriminating consumers not only for its aesthetic value but the maintenance free care. High end homes are specifically looking to install ipe decking because it is the gem of hardwoods in all aspects from the deep rich tones to the tight dense grains to the natural beauty only nature can produce. High end clients are familiar with this knowledge, as it has been tested time and again that we can not reproduce what nature has created nor should we continue to try.

Composite decks have tried to reproduce the look and the quality but it still looks like plastic wood with all the downfalls that come with composite products, molding issues, delamination and staining to name a few. There are other woods that are used for decking but the fact remains that the wood for longevity and strength to use for outdoor applications should be ipe. This conclusion is based on research and time. The fact that ipe decking has been specified in projects such as the South Beach boardwalk in Miami Beach, Las Vegas Resort Hotel and the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco alone lends creditability to its longevity.

The Brazilian hardwood color can vary from a yellowish brown to reddish brown in medium tones to almost black shade and slowly patinas to a silver-ish grey tone unless maintained with ipe deck sealer. Ipe decking comes in different width ranging from ¾”to 1.5″average with length from 6-20′ average. Special order sizes are available along with accessories such as handrail system, post caps and plugs.

When considering the longevity of your decking and replacement costs not to mention the down time involved, many consumers realize the value of Ipe. It is the natural choice.