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.

 

 

 

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.

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 & 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
 

ipe_deck_0713

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Decking Choices and Differences

Posted June 30th, 2009 by ipemadeira
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.