Ipe is a South American species and is a very stable and durable timber. It dries extremely well with little checking, twisting, or bow. It is widely known for its strength and natural resistance to decay and it can be used in ground contact without preservatives or additional treatments. Testing by the US Navy in a Panama Canal study from 1962 showed Ipe to be one of the top performers in resistance to decay, termites and borers. Of those hardwoods tested it was one of the very few that is commercially available.
Extensively used in commercial exterior construction such as boardwalks, piers and benches, it has recently become the top choice for residential decks due to its low maintenance, attractive color, and very smooth surface and the fact that it lasts over 25 years! It is a heavy timber, approximately 70 lbs. per cubic foot when dry, sinks in water, and has a fire rating of Class A, (the same as concrete or steel).
Uses include: residential and commercial decking, boardwalks, piers, fencing, park benches, any outdoor structures receiving extreme duty.
One of the more famous commercial applications for Ipe has been the Atlantic City Boardwalk:
After 24 years of use, the planks used show almost no wear! Ironwoods in general remain smooth and splinter free due to their being one of the earth’s most dense woods. They will not absorb water like softer wood do, nor will twist, splinter, or bow. This means that if you use Ipe for your deck, you will be able to walk on it barefoot for a lifetime.
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