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.