Ipe (pronounced “ee-pay”) is a large hardwood tree typically found in Central and South American countries. It’s also called ironwood walnut or hardwood. Lauded for its many amazing characteristics, ipe is extremely durable, powerful and has a natural resistance to moist or wet conditions, insects as well as rust. It’s these properties which make it the choice for residential and commercial uses like siding and decking. In actuality, a number of other boardwalks along the East Coast of the USA, and the Atlantic City boardwalk are made from ipe wood.
Hardness and the hardness of ipe is amazing, especially when compared to other wood types that are popular. The Janka test steps wood hardness and it’s ascertained that ipe is over 350% harder than teak wood, with some comparing its potency to that of steel. Density and this strength makes it one of the most heavy woods available, about 40% more heavy than teak. With the same fire rating as steel and concrete, ipe wood resists flames better and for more than most woods and its density means that it does not float in water.
Siding and ipe wood decking are popular because of the low maintenance and durable surface of ipe. Since the wood finish is smooth with no splinters, as flooring or decking, ipe is ideal. Natural ipe is eco friendly and does not require using any toxic chemicals. Its lifespan is about 25 years — the category – though some say it might be up to 100 years if maintained properly.
Buildings with ipe wood siding are guaranteed to maintain their strength even in the harshest environmental conditions, especially in coastal areas because the natural oils found in ipe make it resistant to mildew and decay. Many upscale residential and commercial projects utilize ipe wood since it’s a more superior and superior choice in addition to being maintenance-free.
Being a wood, ipe uses advanced manufacturing techniques in comparison to other woods and has procedures of installation. Holes should be pre-drilled to add screws to ipe. Needless to say, ipe’s hardness makes it unsuitable for any detailing. Paint doesn’t adhere well to ipe because of the high oil and tannin content, but the tight grains in ipe give it a rather consistent, dark coloring which normally wouldn’t require any finish aside from Ipe Oil to maintain its rich, beautiful colour.
It is a material that’s reasonably priced with. Cheaper than walnut, clear grade western cedar is most likely closest in cost to ipe, but ipe wins in each facet as you won’t be replacing or fixing your ipe wood siding or deck every 10 years as you would with other softer woods which will crack over time. As ipe is It’s a worthy investment.