Ipe decks are truly gorgeous additions to any commercial or residential outdoor space — and with proper installation and minimal routine maintenance, they’ll remain that way for literally decades. But first, they must make a long and arduous journey from along the Amazon river to your job site. And you’ll have to deal with all the unwanted additions your Ipe boards will have picked up along the way.
Realize the Circumstances of Ipe Decking Lumber
By the time they arrive in our lumber yard, your boards will have already endured plenty of harsh circumstances. But its ordeal is not yet complete. As your lumber awaits your order and shipment, additional dirt and grime will continue to accumulate. Sure, we could clean or even sand your decking lumber before loading it into a truck for shipment to your job site, but that would just mean wasted effort (on our end) and added cost (on yours).
No one knows better than you do what it’s like once the lumber arrives at your job site: it’s typically stacked while awaiting installation, again picking up added mud and stains. Even the installation process will mean added staining. Once your Ipe deck has been installed, you can expect to notice plenty of issues, ranging from water stains to ground-in dirt, mold, salt and mineral deposits — and even raised, rough, or torn grain. It definitely won’t look like a finished product at that point.
Appreciate the Need for Evening Out Ipe Decking Grain
It didn’t make sense to even out the grain before now, since added staining would occur anyway. But the hardness of Ipe means that the grain will be more pronounced than it is on most other lumber species. Hard ridges formed by raised grain as well as rough spots formed by tear out will probably be present. (Tear out occurs when wood is planed in a direction different from the grain, and tear out is the result.) While the predominant direction of a board’s grain will be obvious, it will also be imperfect, so make sure to notice knots and swirls in the grain; a hand held belt sander or orbital sander may work best.
Use Multiple Methods To Improve Ipe Decking Appearance
Of course, sanding will not only help alleviate the raised, rough grain, but it will also help remove the outer surface that has endured staining. After sanding, deck cleaners and brighteners come into play. Basically, a deck cleaning product will scour the boards, removing any ground-in, baked-on stains even more effectively than a pressure washer would. After cleaning, a deck brightener will help remove any graying that has already occurred, further helping the color to even out across the deck. When looking for cleaners and brighteners, make sure to avoid products that contain bleach; instead, opt for those that use citric acid, instead, which is not only gentler to the wood itself but also to surrounding soil and nearby plants.
Learn More About the Lumber Industry
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has become one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods. As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world. Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.