Friday, November 22, 2013

Doesn't Float, Can't Nail It: Perfect!

I was showing beachfront property to a customer recently, when we ran across a beautiful wood deck with rich, deep colors and graining.  The wood it was made from is called ipe wood.

Pronounced ee-pay, and seemingly often spelled epay, ipe wood comes from Brazil.  It is commonly referred to as Brazilian walnut.  I've heard of Brazilian walnut, but usually used in cabinetry or interior wood flooring rather than outdoor decking.

Ipe wood used as outdoor decking
Ipe wood is perfect for coastal construction because it is 3 times harder than cedar.  In fact, it's so dense, nail holes have to be pre-drilled and it sinks in water.  It has natural oils which repel water and wood destroying organisms.

Most manufacturers say ipe wood has a 25 year lifespan, which is incredible for a deck or walkway, but maintained properly, experts say ipe wood can last 75 years.  Of course, a wood such as this will have a cost premium versus locally sourced lumber.  Experts say ipe wood can cost 30% more than cedar or knotty pine.

Ipe wood is harvested in the tropics, so you have to be careful that your wood is coming from a responsible source.  Read more about ipe wood.

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