Suppose you are one of many people living in Florida who have been told that it is not feasible to construct a deck with Ipe. You have also likely heard the excuses that it is because Florida is a place where moisture and heat are too much of a problem. So you might be scratching your head and wondering, “What kind of wood should I use for my deck in Florida?”
The best wood for a deck in Florida is Ipe decking; there are alternatives, but Ipe is a premium hardwood made up of various species, so the appearance may vary from one kind to another. However, Ipe is resistant to the elements, insects, and even fire.
Most retailers will insist that you need to opt for composite or pressure-treated decking; however, a little-known fact is that these types of lumber will make them the most profit and may not benefit you in the long run. There are all sorts of bits of information out there, but thankfully you have come to the right place to find the answer you are looking for.
What Is Ipe Wood, And Should You Use It For Your Florida Deck?
Ipe, which is pronounced as EE-pay, is a globally recognized wood renowned for its superiority over other woods. It has a dense and tight grain, and it is resistant to mold and rot caused by the elements and even insect attacks and fire. It is also one of the hardest woods there are, which means that it is highly durable and boasts longevity.
The wood is a rich brown with hints of red and amber within it. Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, it is also slip-resistant due to its fine texture and interlocking grain. It is considered one of the best quality natural wood decking materials on the market and is primarily produced in Brazil. This natural choice which can be used for home or commercial use, is a must for your decking.
What Sort Of Cost Is Involved In Using Ipe For A Florida Deck?
First, we need to consider the initial fees of installing the decking. Although you may initially believe otherwise, Ipe sits at a competitive price against other alternatives you may consider. And it will also last far longer than these alternatives; we shall get further into that in a minute.
The initial cost of installing Ipe decking will likely come in at roughly the exact cost of mid-grade composites, but it will be cheaper than high-end composites. The initial price of pressure-treated lumber (which many will try to sell) is more affordable than Ipe. However, we shall see how often it needs to be replaced in terms of how often you need to redo an Ipe deck.
The Life Span Of Ipe Compared To Other Woods For Florida Decking?
Pressure-treated lumber is a cheaper alternative; however, it will only last between 5 and 7 years before the boards begin to deteriorate and rot begins to set in, even with proper care. Composite decks are generally unappealing to the eye and are usually rendered unusable within 8 years. This also goes for plastic “wood”, and on the other hand, Ipe will last up to 40 years in most cases.
As you can see, it is a no-brainer in terms of which option to go for out of those you can pick for your Florida deck. Ipe can outlast all of its rivals and handle even the most extreme of weather conditions. It is dense and hardy, and its natural resistance to water will aid its combating rot and decay. It is the type of decking that screams longevity.
Ipe’s Resistance And Why It Is Important For Florida Decks
Firstly, we can think of where the trees are grown that are used to produce this wood, and that is in the very wet regions of Brazil. So from the start, the wood already has remarkable resistance against external environmental elements. It is transferred to the decking material that can withstand heavy rains, direct sunlight, and extreme temperatures.
Another problem that those with a wooden decking in their homes often face is insects and them infesting the wood. Thankfully Ipe and various other tropical hardwoods have a natural resistance against boring insects. This gives it an advantage in the fight against wood-boring insects and will mean that you get peace of mind with the general maintenance of the wood.
Another thing to consider for many southwestern states in the United States is the issue of fire, and it is a factor that comes into play when deciding on construction materials. This is true for commercial projects but is also considered for urban building. It may not be that you live in a space where fire is a considerable concern, but if you drop hot coals on your deck, you won’t need to stress.
How The Hardness Makes It A Good Choice For Florida Decks
Ipe is one of the hardest woods in the world, even more so than oak. The wood has even been compared to the likes of concrete. This only re-enforces the idea that it will have a long lifespan and that it is a great, stable option to go for, which, even without treating, has naturally built-in weatherproof properties.
Another difference between Ipe and some other types of decking wood is that it is not prone to have raised grains, which can be harsh on one’s feet when walking on it. Additionally, unlike composite and plastic decking, Ipe does not get affected by drooping between the joints, and like others, it does expand and contract, but not nearly as much.
This minimalism of movement within the wood is one of the critical components of its incredibly long lifespan. It enables it to stand out from the crowd and be noted for its formidable material. So, in short, the toughness and density certainly aid in making it an excellent choice for Florida decking.
The Perks Of Replacing Ipe Boards For Florida Decks
One thing we often overlook when thinking about what kind of material we will use for our home renovations and add-ons is the replacement of them or a part thereof due to unforeseen circumstances. One such time is when you find yourself in the quandary of needing to replace a board or two or six in your deck.
If you have a composite deck, what you will find is that the wood all fades consistently, and if you replace one or more boards, they will stick out from the others like a sore thumb. This is not the case with Ipe decking, though, because the coloration is already slightly different between boards, and in a short matter of time, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the new and old.
If you are looking to build anew or refurbish an old deck, then there are various options you can go with; however, we would highly recommend opting for Ipe decking, especially if you live in Florida. The wood is hardy, robust, and not susceptible to the elements and will last you far longer than some other alternatives out there. Also, the initial cost will pay for itself in time.