Not necessarily, even when the request only comes with three requirements:
- The deck needs to be stylish
- The deck should be weather resistant and low maintenance, and
- Did we forget to mention a friend had a deck built and recommends having Ipe railings installed, so that’s what we want, too?
At Toronto Decks and Fence Company, we can design and build a deck to any specifications and in any style (including those utilizing one of the hardest most resilient wood species known to man – a variety of Brazilian hardwood known as Ipe and pronounced “ee-pay”) and we have indeed installed decks and railings using IPE wood therefore we insist to explain to our clients that IPE wood is a bit different then others.
For those unfamiliar with Ipe, it’s a type of tree that grows in Central and South America to heights of 150 feet or more with trunks measuring six feet in diameter – and produces wood with a Janka rating of more than 3600. This rating measures the density and hardness of wood, and its ability to withstand damage from Mother Nature and mankind alike. Once cut and milled into lumber, Ipe has been known to last for 25 or more years – without ever being stained or otherwise finished. In fact, it’s been known to ruin power tools because of how resilient it is to being cut, drilled, or hammered.
Here are some other things you should know about Ipe railings that we’ve discovered over the years.
- Protect yourself. Common sense tells you to wear protective clothing – goggles, gloves, steel-toed boots – when working with power tools, but the same is even more critical when working with Ipe. Ipe produces a fine yellow dust that can be toxic, causing damage to the skin or eyes, and even lungs if inhaled. Never work with Ipe railings without having a face mask and power respirator onsite.
- Spend a little extra and go with pre-groove boards. This is something we’ve learned from experience, and it’s good advice to pass along. Using a standard biscuit joiner, for instance, is very tedious – and hard on the hands and back, too.
- Use the right boards. Ipe railings and boards are incredibly tough, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been cut to perfection. It’s always a good idea to sort your lumber before starting, and make sure you have boards that are as straight as possible.
- Prepare yourself to run through saw blades and drill bits as IPE is a hard deck & railing material to cut through.
- Finally, remember that Ipe railings and decking are not indestructible. While milled Ipe can last for decades when exposed to the elements, it never hurts to apply a good quality wax-based sealer to extend its life even more.
If you are still reading this article and would like to explore IPE wood for your deck or railing then Toronto decks and fence is the only deck company in the toronto area that you should call for a free consultation. our extensive experience with IPE wood and deck construction is un paralleled and can be of help to you.