Deck Boards What to Look For

Posted February 2nd, 2010 by ipemadeira
 

 

 

Most of us at some point in our lives will invest in a deck or outdoor area. There are so many different types of deck boards available that it can become overwhelming. This is an important part of the purchasing  process for several reasons. The boards you select will determine how long the deck will last, whether you will have to treat the deck for insects, mold or fungus, if it will need to be built away from direct sun exposure, the aesthetics and strength of the deck. Let’s examine the different materials and what to look for.

The most common deck board is the pressure treated wood boards. This is also the least expensive but the lifespan for this material is only 5-10 years depending upon the environment. Pressure treated lumber also emit some nasty outgases of chemicals to living creatures and its surroundings. The likelihood of replacement in 10 years is high so in the long run the cost factor does go up as labor and materials will have to be replaced, creating more work and materials at a future date.

A growing industry is the composite decking and PVC decking industry. The composite decking industry is a fairly new industry and is a mix of plastic and wood dust or wood particles and a type of glue. The problem with this is the durability and strength deteriorates over time and is not great to begin with. That is the reason the joists can not be made of composite. The increase in lawsuits and bankruptcy of different composite companies is a telltale sign of problems to come. PVC decking has similar problems coupled with the fact that it is made from PVC. Polyvinyl chloride commonly referred to as PVC is a manufactured plastic with toxic byproducts. Dioxin (potent carcinogen), ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride are made in the production of PVC and causes health problems. Neurological damage, birth defects, impaired child development, endocrine disruption, endometriosis, immune system damage, reproductive damage and cancer are some of those problems. There is a lot of good information out there on the hazards to you and your environment.

Tropical wood decking is also a growing industry and one that is sustainable. This industry has gotten a lot of bad rap in the last few years for forest destruction but in reality can be an asset to forests as it creates a demand for trees. If you research the actual cause of forest depletion than you will find that cattle grazing and agricultural cash cropping are 90% of the cause. These uses destroy the soil for future tree growth where trees being logged can be replaced and if managed properly can help surrounding trees to grow faster with access to sunlight and room for growth. This recent stir of accountability has increased associations such as FSC, Green Peace and Smartwood to form and grow as well as government agencies to take a stance such as IBAMA in Brazil and our own govt. to utilize processes such as the Lacey Act regulating where the lumber comes from and verifying it is from a managed forest not illegally harvested. Now if you look at species such as Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood and Garapa than you will realize you can have the best of both worlds. These species are absolutely beautiful and the density of these deck boards is very high. They are naturally repellant to insects, mold, fungus and rot. No insect repellant sprays are needed and no replacements in your lifetime. This is a no brainer and the alternatives we create are not better nor are they as eco-friendly as supporting your well managed forests.

 

 

 

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 & FSC the Perfect Match

Posted September 10th, 2009 by ipemadeira

The Forest Stewardship Council was founded in 1993 due to concerns over global deforestation.FSC is a certification system that provides internationally recognized standard-setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services to companies, organizations, and communities interested in responsible forestry. How FSC does this is by putting value behind the product. Marketing the improved social and environmental standards in those select forests through certification, labeling and international recognition, FSC is able to promote responsible forest practices and give consumers something to be pride to purchase. FSC is recognized as the most credible organization in forest management.
The requirements for certification with this prestigious organization is stringent. Your organization must be committed financially as well as make the required changes to affected areas and apply processes to comply with the FSC requirements. Some of those involve setting aside warehouse space and thoroughly labeling the areas that the FSC certified lumber will be housed in, especially if non FSC material will be in close proximity. The paperwork involved in buying and selling FSC lumber must also be accounted for separately as annual audits are performed. The initial audit consists of being well organized in all requirements or be re-audited at your expense.
Ipe is one of the many species that you can purchase with the prestigious FSC certification. Ipe decking and Ipe hardwood flooring are commonly used for many commercial and residential applications, coveted for its strength and natural beauty. This hardwood is originally from South America, Central America and parts of the Caribbean. The janka hardness for this super wood is 3680 compared with the California Redwood at 420. This gives you an idea of the density and strength Ipe has. Naturally resistant to insects, mold, fungus and decay, Ipe has a life expectancy of 40 plus years with no treatment. If you had a UV Inhibitor you can add 60 plus additional years to that estimate. Fire rating for this species is a class A same as concrete and steel. This hardwood is a truly renewable resource.
Ipe with the FSC certification is as good as it gets. You have the strongest wood available with a stamp for responsible forest management and LEEDs points are available for interior designers as well as architects. Advantage Trim & Lumber is an established distributor of this decking and can custom mill to your specifications. Discriminating clients and commercial projects that require a green product will fall in love with this hardwood. What is spent on this wood will more than make up for itself in time with cost of removing and replacing inferior products. Who wants to waste the time and energy doing that?

Ipe for Docks & Piers (Marine Use)

Posted August 6th, 2009 by ipemadeira

 

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of building a dock? Longevity, durability and something that will age nicely are some considerations. Cost is always a factor and once you’ve been in a house for 5-10 years, it goes by quickly. If you have to replace one over that timeframe you will understand the first three options I mentioned and why I mentioned them first. For you environmentally correct out there, ipe wood(tabebuia spp.) has no chemical treatments as the wood is so dense non is required and it will literally sink if put in water. This means safety for our marine life and ultimately us and our children as well. The fact that you won’t have to replace it several times over your lifetime will also account for some green points. FSC™ certified Ipe is readily available for those of us who would like more reassurance that strict guidelines above and beyond government regulations were adhered to and LEED points are available on projects that are adhering to specific materials. Ipe has a life expectancy of well over 40-50 years surpassing 100 years in some instances with sealer application.

Ipe is long known for it’s hardness and strength and is the best choice if you don’t want to worry about replacing your dock or pier but rather enjoy the waterfront you’ve invested in. Nothing is worse than having to replace something that if done the first time properly with the right materials would be saving you a headache now. The durability and strength of the wood will keep it looking new for years to come and you can preserve the color by sealing it. The fact it comes from an area in Brazil where there is a lot of rain and sun helps when you will place it in the same type of environment where it was derived. The warm rich brown, red colors keep it looking rich and beautiful. Many commercial projects have invested in this wood, such as Atlantic City Boardwalk. This is of course because of the research they have done and seen that the investment is well worth the cost.

Ipe Decks No Chemicals Required

Posted July 30th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ipe decking is not for everyone. That being said, it is for most people who are serious about a great product for durability, longevity and the multitude of properties Ipe possesses. It is a gorgeous rich brown tone with natural variations in shading and striking once installed. Nothing beats natural wood in aesthetics. If you are looking to spend the least amount of monies, looking to replace your deck in less than 5 years and don’t mind mold and fungus or chemical out gassing than there are different products to fit your needs. Let’s look at the different options.

Pressure treated wood is the main wood decking material used in the past. One reason is for the cost, two for the availability and three for ease of install. That was acceptable for the last few decades but now with new technology and new sources there are more acceptable materials for the outdoor application. This material is good for a few years but may splinter, crack and breakdown in a few years.

Composite decking is an alternative material that is well marketed. This fairly new material is heavily marketed as green as they use recycled content in the decking board but the only problem is the tests done on them reveal the recycled plastic is more susceptible to warping and breaking down. Thus creating a very unfriendly product as the lifetime of the product is cut way down and will end up being replaced over a short period of time. Some common complaints with this material are warping, staining, breaking down or flaking and mold/fungus growth. This product is man made with very little history of performance but a lot of great marketing.

Let’s review Ipe decking materials. This hardwood also named ironwood for obvious reasons, has a janka hardness over 3600 compared to the California Redwood at 420. Naturally insect resistant, mold/fungus resistant and rot resistant this wood needs no chemical treatment. The only treatment you may need is the UV inhibitor to prolong the life of your deck over 100 years and to enhance and maintain the warm brown tones. Slip resistant and dense, this hardwood is used in commercial applications such as the Boardwalk in Miami for good reason. Ipe decking can be used in any design from contemporary to traditional. You won’t be disappointed with the look of this material it will complement the most custom homes and enhance any project.