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.

Ipe Suppliers Practice Sustainable Forest Management?

Posted January 12th, 2010 by ipemadeira

 

We like to believe what we hear and read but to see it is a totally different experience. I recently got the opportunity to go to one of our supplier’s forest and watch them in action. The trip was a short 3 hours on a single engine plane across the northwest area of Brazil with a dirt landing, after that we drove in a pickup truck about 1.5 hours into the forest. We arrived at the camp around 2 pm and the humidity was thick but not terrible. We ate lunch at the camp which consisted of some wonderful authentic beans, rice, potatoe salad, baked chicken, green salad and fresh squeezed lemonade.

Our mission? To experience first hand the processes involved in obtaining and manufacturing lumber before it arrived to the port to be shipped off to us. I imagined a truck full of labor ready employees with no real organization chopping down the first available tree in site and moving on to the next. This of course was not the case, as the day’s events had to be planned out in advance so that the crew would know where to go and how to get there as well as what specie and tree to extract. I forget this is a forest with many species of trees at various stages of life. There is no real trail to get to some of these trees and careful planning is essential to the actual extraction. This I would learn as I would also learn that you can’t just take your truck or equipment in and out of any given area as many times as you like. The paths that are created in the forest may only be used 4-5 times and than no further as the soil is than difficult to use for reharvesting. The age of the tree is also taken into consideration and the width of the trunk helps to determine whether or not a tree is ready to be cut. We passed an Ipe tree that was still to small to cut and would not be ready anytime in the next 5 years.

We met the crew at the camp jumped into the truck and headed in the direction of their map. After about 30 minutes we parked at a designated area that was marked and posted with their company information as well as the government permit. The supervisor had a map of the area with the directions to the specific tree we would be extracting. The tag # and the specie along with the surrounding trees for reference. The 3 members of the crew grabbed their machete and chainsaw and we headed into the thick of the forest.

I had to jog to keep up with the crew as they walked in a fast pace toward their destination. There were other landmarks on the way to our tree that were tagged with numbers but at the pace we were going I only got a glimpse. We arrived about 15-20 minutes later and the crew began to cut into the tree with the machete. The rest of the process seemed rather simple though I know it must not have been. We got to see the tree fall which was an experience. They re-tagged the trunk and tagged the log for removal. Once complete we began the track back to the vehicles and the supervisor documented his work.

On the way back we stopped at the cleared location that the logs were gathered at for removal and got to see the different species tagged and ready for cutting. The supervisor mentioned that only specific trees are tagged for removal and the rest are left with the newly harvested trees . The government monitors their extractions as the majority of the land is government owned and there is a fee for the removal of the trees (based on the species) as well as a fee for leasing the land. Radar is used to from the air to keep tabs on the forests and check for illegal cutting. Contrary to what most people think, the forest is not completely cleared for logging. Only specific trees are removed and only after they get a certain size and age, making room for the newly planted trees and allowing sunlight to reach them.

It was gratifying to feel I had learned alot more actually getting to see the people at work and getting to talk with the locals. What is nice is that they take pride in their jobs and in their forests. There weren’t people here looking to rape their land for money but people who were conscious about their jobs and worked hard to make sure they were doing their job right. They take pride in their forests and respect it. Their livelihood is there so they don’t want it cleared, not for cattles or anything else for that matter. Supporting sustainable forests will ensure that their children have jobs in the forests they were raised in.

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.

Decking Made Easy with Ipe

Posted July 16th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

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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 & What to Look For

Posted July 16th, 2009 by ipemadeira

 

 

Ipe and What to Look For

Ipe also known as Brazilian Walnut (botanical name Tabebuia Spp.) is commonly sold as decking, flooring and furniture. It is a beautiful and exotic hardwood with a Janka Hardness of 3600 compared to California Redwood at 420. This gives you an idea of how hard this wood is and why the lifespan of this wood is up to 100 years compared to the relatively short lifespan of its competitors. When looking for Ipe you want to consider several factors: the wood, the supplier and the accessories.

The Ipe wood is very durable and strong as noted above. It is also chemical/additive free. Not only that, Ipe is insect and rot resistant as well as mold and fungus resistant. This super wood is 100% natural and totally biodegradable with no chemical aftermath. When purchasing this wood you want to buy first grade clear material as natural and rustic grade will have some knots and color variation .

The supplier is just as important as the grade of the hardwood. You want to purchase from a reputable supplier that has an established relationship with the mills and can control the quality that gets shipped as Ipe comes from South America, Central America and the Caribbean. You want to be comfortable with the company. Call the sales department, ask questions and request a sample. A reputable supplier inspects the material as well as the mills. If the supplier doesn’t do that there may be a chance you will get something you don’t want. Check out the websites and gather information. This is a big investment and you want to get it right the first time.

The accessories can also be very important. Ipe can be milled for handrail systems, post caps, even plugs for your decking. You want to use a reputable mill and one that is experienced with Ipe as this hardwood requires special machinery for milling. These types of products will create a nice seamless flow from your deck to your front door. Don’t forget the UV Plus finish and Wood& Deck Cleaner for the maintenance of your decking.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Ipe No Replacement Needed

Posted July 16th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

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Ipe No Replacement Needed

Ipe (aka Ironwood and Brazilian Walnut) is a one time purchase. This hardwood whether purchased for flooring, decking or furniture will never need replacing. The classic beauty of Ipe is timeless. Nature has a way of capturing colors and textures unlike anything we can duplicate. This particular species has a warm tone with shades ranging from a yellowish olive to deep brownish red. Tight grained with fine linear movement, Ipe is a strong, dense and heavy hardwood.

Originating from Central and South America as well as the Caribbean,Ipe is prized for its strength and used in commercial applications as well as marine environments. Piers, docks and boardwalks are ideal locations for this hardwood as well as decks and interior flooring. The Ipe species has been become popular just the last 20 years as technology advancements have allowed this dense wood to be milled cost effectively. The strength of Ipe has deterred wood companies in the past from mass production but now this hardwood is being specified in commercial projects where outdoor exposure is a problem and indoors where heavy traffic is an issue. The reason for this is that those companies know that they will be replacing the material in 5-10 years if they don’t select the right material the first time. The other products may be a little less expensive but the labor to remove and re-install the new products will end up costing a lot more and is a headache for both the owner and the people utilizing the environment.

Residential homes also realize the perks in using this superior hardwood. The colors and grain of this wood complements both traditional and contemporary designs. Clients with pets and/or children appreciate the durability needed for their lifestyle. In a society where we want the best of both worlds, Ipe gives us the biggest bang for the buck. We get a natural beautiful hardwood we desire with the longevity and strength we need. We get a wood that is resistant to fungus, mold, insects and rot thus no chemicals are needed. Ipe flooring and decking are available in various widths and lengths and can come with the FSC certification from certified companies. This gives clients the seal of approval that the wood they are purchasing comes from a forest that is responsibly managed.

There are many fine points to the title that no replacement is needed. The main point is that Ipe hardwood is the strongest hardwood for the outdoors and the heavy traffic indoor environment especially is you do not want to replace your deck. The other points just support the reasons you want to use Ipe. The natural resistance to insects and rot will assure you that Ipe is not treated. Mold and fungus are not an issue as Ipe is also resistant to them. The natural beauty and warmth of real wood can not be replicated.

 

 

 

Outdoor Decks & Patios

Posted July 16th, 2009 by ipemadeira

 

 

Outdoor Decks & Patios

In the midst of this economy, many people are opting to stay in their homes. Nesting is taking on a new meaning. Remodeling has increased and families are now staying home for vacations and entertaining. This has helped the economy in terms of outdoor products for clients looking to expand their back and front yards. The coastal areas as well as areas with temperate weather can make the most of their outdoor area for a longer period of time. People are willing to invest back into their home for comfort and entertaining. Green and recycling are becoming the norm. Educated consumers are willing to investing into quality products instead of a quick fix.

Unemployment is at an all time new high of 9.5%. Foreclosures don’t seem to be letting up and the future is uncertain. People are responding with less outings, vacation and spending. Keeping up with the Jones is no longer viewed as a status quo. Keeping your home and job are the reality of life for the majority of people nationwide. Many homeowners who were looking to upgrade to a new home are now re-evaluating their existing lifestyle and current homes. Many are looking to extend their living space and re-create a home to entertain in and enjoy coming home to.

The backyard is an easy addition without having to go into replacing roof and mortar. Some opt for a wraparound or front porch. Many homes that have a porch will include a deckand outdoor kitchen. This creates a totally new entertaining area and cooking environment, opening up more space for more people. Enjoying the outdoor air and ambiance is good for you. Finding a place to relax in a natural environment is the oasis that many people desire and love sharing it with family and friends. The project can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. Whether simply a deck for a couple of chairs or a outdoor kitchen and entertainment area complete with tv, refrigerator, ice machine oven and fireplace, the value of the addition is definitely worth the cost.

There are many options for outdoor decking and patio material. The preferred material for many high quality homes is ipe. Ipe decking has seen increases in sales in the last decade due to it’s many outstanding properties. This super wood is one of the strongest woods available with a janka hardness of 3600 and a fire rating same as concrete and steel. Ipe requires no chemicals as it is naturally resistant to insects, mold, rot and fungus. The longevity of Ipe is minimum 40 years with no treatment to over 100 years with a UV inhibitor oil. There is no other decking material that will perform the way this wood does. Man made decking is still experiencing problems with delaminating, staining, warping and mold/fungus growth.

When investing into your outdoors, go with the proven leader for durability, beauty and longevity. Ipe hardwood decking will last years beyond your life and you won’t have to worry about it. Pay for the product not the marketing behind the product and if your concern is purchasing a green product than look at the FSC certified Ipe decking. This ensures you are purchasing lumber from a responsibly harvested forest with a future.