ipe deck maintenance los angeles
If you have never heard of Ipe (pronounced EE-PAY), then you are missing out on one of the highest quality woods used for decking that there is, especially if you keep up with Ipe deck cleaning. Ipe is naturally resistant to decay and rot and is an exotic hardwood that can grow to 120 feet tall in the natural rainforest. It is two or three times harder than oak, and about 8 times harder than redwood. It is very heavy and strong. It ranges from dark to light olive brown with some darker or lighter striping. If you have a beautiful Ipe deck that has aged to a silver patina, you may wonder about Ipe Deck Cleaning.
Regular Ipe Deck Cleaning Can Help Your Deck Look Beautiful
Sweeping away debris and then scrubbing with water can do a lot to get the top layer of dirt and grime removed from your Ipe deck. However, if you want to not only clean off any stains or actually remove the outer layer of the wood that has aged, you may require professional Ipe deck cleaning.
Some people recommend using a pressure washer to remove the top silver layer of wood, but it must be done with extreme care and can be very difficult to do evenly across the deck – it requires a commercial grade machine and plenty of experience. Many professionals suggest not using a pressure washer because it is too easy to damage the wood. Instead, they suggest using products that are designed to be used on Ipe decks and remove the discoloration. While you may see that some online sites suggest you use bleach, professionals do not recommend this as it can actually discolor the wood. A professional deck stripper that has been formulated for Ipe is probably one of the best solutions for Ipe deck cleaning.
Most professionals will often lightly sand the deck in order to remove the silvered topcoat to allow the russet-brown color of the Ipe wood to show through again. If you plan to do this yourself, you need to take great care to apply the same amount of pressure everywhere. It can be difficult to sand between planks and around edges.
Ipe is very difficult to paint or varnish, so it is best to let a professional Ipe Deck Cleaning company handle sealing the wood so that it will retain its natural, youthful color longer before it again ages to a silver patina. Keeping your beautiful, exotic Ipe hardwood deck clean is an important part of allowing it to look beautiful for many years. The hardwood is very durable, but if you let dirt and debris constantly build up on it, you are not helping it retain its beauty.
Why Is Ipe Deck Maintenance Different?
A properly cared for Ipe Deck is one of the most beautiful settings for an outdoor entertainment area. While Ipe is an extremely durable and dense wood, it does need regular maintenance to ensure its longevity. If you have already made the investment in an Ipe deck, you owe it to yourself, and your investment, to take care of it properly.
Ipe is a hardwood, perfectly suited for smooth and durable outdoor deck and railing surfaces. That said, it is a wood that will need regular maintenance, especially in our sunny climate in our Southern California. Our sun will literally bake whatever protectant is on an Ipe deck right out of the wood, leaving it defenseless against the elements. Left untreated, the Ipe wood will gray over time, and may even start to buckle as more water is absorbed into the unprotected wood. Not something you want from your investment!
What You Can, and Should Do for Your Ipe Deck
So what is a homeowner to do? First of all, almost any condition Ipe deck can be restored back to its original look and feel as the wood’s high density allows for this type of new start. Once properly restored to its original beauty, a regular cleaning and re-sealing of the deck surface will keep your Ipe deck looking its best year-round. Maintaining an Ipe deck should be done at least every 12 months as the Ipe boards can only absorb so much sealer during any one application. Also, with each successive re-sealing of your ipe deck, the wood fibers will absorb more and more of the sealer you are using so each successive maintenance process extends the time period between applications.
Because Ipe is such a Two things to be very aware of as you maintain your Ipe Deck:
- You must use a high-end, very thin, oil-based sealer for the protection of your Ipe wood. Only the thinnest of oils will penetrate the Ipe, and then only very slightly. Because of this phenomenon, a thin, penetrating, oil-based sealer is your only option when it comes to choosing a sealer.
- You must wipe off any excess oil on the wood’s surface within 20 minutes of application of your sealer. If excess oil is left on a dense surface such as Ipe, the sun’s rays will char the oil and turn the entire surface black. This is the number one mistake we see when homeowner’s trust someone who is not familiar with treating Ipe. A properly maintained Ipe deck should fade gracefully in between maintenance visits, not get darker in any way. If your deck has darkened, it most likely had an overapplication of oil.
One last note regarding Ipe decks. If you ever hire someone to treat your deck, and they tell you that it will need 24-48 hours to dry, please don’t let them touch your deck. Your Ipe should be dry to the touch within one hour of work completion and ready for use with 12 hours. Any longer and you will end up with a sticky, shiny, ready to go black deck surface, none of which any of us want to see.
If you are looking for a company experienced in treating Ipe decks as well as Teak, Mangaris, Redwood and Cedar, please give us a call at 800-517-9362. Teak & Deck Professionals only focuses on treating outdoor hardwoods and we would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your particular deck.