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Ipe Technical Information
Latin species name: Tabebuia Spp. (Lapacho group)
General information about Ipe Decking
Ipe is a hardwood that is most commonly harvested in Brazil. Other names of Ipe (pronounced ee-pay) include – Brazilian Walnut, Ironwood, Pau Lope and Diamond Wood. Ipe decking is the finest, natural decking product that is commonly used for decks, docks, siding, railings and pergolas.
Deckstoronto imports its Ipe from the largest suppliers in Brazil that are heavily monitored by the Brazilian government. We travel to Brazil on regular basis to make sure that the logs that are milled for our Toronto clients are from environmentally managed forests. When architects require FSC Ipe – we can supply FSC Ipe as well. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is a global organization that has very strict requirements on how the lumber is harvested and processed. For every Ipe tree that is cut down, several other trees are other planted or are given a chance to grow. Our suppliers have 30 year forest concessions which means that by the time they finish harvesting Ipe trees from the concession given to them by the government of Brazil, newly planted Ipe trees are already 30 years old. Ipe wood is never harvested by clear cutting the Amazon forest. The only time a forest in Amazon is clear cut (or burned) is when land is needed for pasture of animals. We only work with the major suppliers who cannot afford any illegal practices to disturb their business and create a negative company image. When you are buying your Ipe decking material from Deckstoronto – you are buying the highest grade of Ipe and you are investing into the Amazon forest and the local communities in Brazil.
About the Wood, Tree and Timber
Ipe trees are very tall, reaching up to 150 feet in height and 6 feet in diameter. More commonly though, the trees that are harvested are 100 ft hight and are 3 ft. to 5 ft in diameter. The color of the wood is brown, but there is a variation in color. Heartwood is very dark (some deck boards are almost black) and some are light brown and even reddish in color. We only supply the highest grade of Ipe – boards that are completely clear of knots.
Wood Bending Strength, Hardness Density
Ipe Decking is extremely hard, it has a rating of 3680 lbs on the Janka scale, which makes it harder any other decking material in the world. Compare Ipe’s hardness with that of cedar which is only 350 lbs or that of teak which is 1000 lbs. The bending strength of Ipe decking is 22560 psi which is why they call it “Ironwood”. You can install your joists at 24” o.c. and still feel like you are walking on steel or concrete. The density of an ipe decking board varies depending on which part of the tree it came from, it ranges from 900 kg/cubic meter to over 1000 kg/cubic meter which means that some Ipe decking boards will actually sink in water!
The movement outdoors is low. It is best to protect this decking with hardwood oil on all sides prior to installation to prevent it from absorbing moisture. Expansion and contraction due to temperature changes is minimal.