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Frequently Asked Questions

KILN DRIED vs. AIR DRIED

Kiln drying, as an standard industry practice, is used to make wood more stable by changing it's dimensional properties and to prevent further moisture loss relative to the application.  Hardwood flooring in the U.S. is typically dried to a moisture content of 6-8%. Wood used in applications such as cabinetry, furniture and trim could be dried even lower.  Elements to consider when using kiln dried wood outside is the moisture content of the wood and if the wood susceptible to moisture gain.  Kiln dried pressure treated Pine decking is gaining popularity as a much stable alternative to wet pressure treated decking that can bow and warp with natural moisture loss.

All air dried/green lumber will shrink with moisture loss and tropical hardwoods are no exception. The dimensional change can be drastic relative to the wood's moisture content, climate and time of year when installing.  Furthermore, 5/4 (1") decking will shrink more than 1x (3/4") decking due to it's mass.  Acclimating wood on a jobsite is not effective to mitigate further moisture loss as many dynamics are involved such as how it's stacked, temperature, air flow, and relative humidity.  After installation, extremely dense hardwoods such as Ipe WILL NOT GAIN any significant amount of moisture to cause expansion or changes in dimension.  In other words, dense hardwoods such as Ipe will lose what moisture already exists in the wood, but will not gain moisture and expand!

When using products that are installed with pre-determined gaps, it is important that the moisture content is at or near the level it will ultimately settle.  When using pre-grooved decking with hidden fastening, the pre-determined gap is roughly 1/8". Air dried/green pre-grooved decking will shrink and cause the 1/8" gap to widen thus revealing more of the hidden clip.  Kiln dried pre-grooved decking, in the case of IpeDeckingSource's, is dried to a moisture content of roughly 13% or to a pre-stable point of where the wood could ultimately settle.  Moisture gain is non-existent.  In other words, Ipe will never gain moisture, but will lose moisture already existing inside and will thus shrink.  When using Tongue and Groove porch flooring, there are no intended gaps as this type of product is meant to be installed tight together and ultimately should stay tight.  Air dried/green T&G porch flooring will shrink after installation and cause small gaps between every plank.  IpeDeckingSource's kiln dried T&G porch flooring is dried to a moisture content of 12% and will not shrink when installed under a roof application.  Areas such as outside edges and corners that receive prolonged sun exposure could become susceptible to slight shrinking as further moisture loss below the 12% could occur.

Does the Kreg jig or Camo Fastening system work with Ipe Decking?

These systems, provided that Stainless Steel screws are used, will work with Ipe however, the initial gap of both systems is excessive and will produce extremely wide side-to-side gaps after shrinking.  Based on information derived from the Kreg jig website, the minimum gap produced from the jig is 1/4" and 3/16" for the Camo Fastening system.  We require a 1/16" gap on our air dried (green) Ipe Decking to expect further shrinking.

Is Cumaru better than Ipe Decking?

Both Cumaru and Ipe are highly dense South American hardwood species and share similar properties for durability and longevity. Cumaru is a specie with 2 distinct varieties; red and yellow.  Most mills will not separate the varieties in a shipment and this can cause an unattractive variation in color for most projects as the contrast is bold.  Ipe consists of more varieties (21) and the range of color can go from light blonde to nearly black with often green and orange colors included.  However, Ipe Decking Source only procures Ipe from specific regions where fewer varieties exist.  This is how we control the wide band of color and this method ensures a darker and more uniform color.  Ipe is often shipped from the mill as an air dried (green) lumber, but remains very stable with natural moisture loss with no grain raise and slight surface checking.  Cumaru is often shipped kiln dried (+/-15%) as this is compulsory for stability.  However, Cumaru can be unstable with further moisture loss resulting in movement and heavy grain raise including severe surface checking that is irreparable.  Cumaru's grain raise is more than uncomfortable on bare feet and sanding will not prevent perpetual grain raise.

Is Massaranduba a good decking product?

Massaranduba (Brazilian Redwood) is a highly dense South American specie that is slightly harder than Ipe on the Janka hardness scale.  It possesses a beautiful deep red color and is often imported for interior flooring.  Brazilian Redwood decking is extremely unstable in both air dried and kiln dried lumber.  It moves extensively after installation and we don't carry or recommend it as a suitable long term decking product.  Massaranduba is also marketed as Abaco decking.

 

Ipe Decking Installation & Maintenance Guide

INTRODUCTION

Ipe is a very unique decking product with unique installation methods not commonly used for other types of decking such as composites and softwoods. Below are tips/best practices for ensuring proper installation.  These tips/guidelines are to be used in conjunction with lumber purchased from IpeDeckingSource.com.

JOB SITE STORAGE

Ipe decking can be stacked outdoors, but should be kept directly off solid surfaces at least 4" and should be covered to avoid pre-mature fading.  Air dried decking should be allowed to acclimate prior to installation to minimize extensive shrinking after installed.  Air dried Ipe decking will ultimately lose moisture, but will not gain moisture and expand. Average acclimation period depends on the moisture content of the wood and climate/temperature, but a rule of thumb is 2-3 weeks.  For best results, decking can be placed across framing members for maximum acclimation.

Kiln dried items such as IpeDeckingSource Tongue & Groove porch flooring and Pre-grooved decking do not require acclimation.

SAFETY

As with any construction project, proper safety equipment and protective clothing should be worn.  Ipe decking is heavier and more dense than most other woods. Do not try to lift similar quantities of Ipe decking compared to traditional softwoods.  Most domestic and imported hardwood dust is carcinogenic and can cause breathing problems.  Dust masks are recommended when cutting or sanding hardwoods.

TOOLS

Carbide tipped saw blades with fewer teeth (16 teeth on 7-1/4" blades) stay cooler, reduce friction when cutting, and stay sharper longer.  When using a miter box saw, we recommend 10" or 12" saws with roughly 24 teeth on 10" blades and 32 teeth on 12" blades.  Click here for more information.

Drilling Ipe can be a challenge with improper drill bits.  High speed Steel tends to fatigue quickly which causes breaking and tend to dull faster.  Titanium Nitride coated drill bits initially perform well, but as the coating wears so does performance.  Cobalt alloy drill bits are the most effective and longest lasting when drilling into Ipe.  When drilling, periodically lift the bit out of the hole to remove shavings.

Board benders such as the BoWrench are highly effective in straightening crooked boards.  These types of tools are typically self locking and can speed up production as another person is not needed to hold a board while another fastens.

END SEALING

Often a subject of debate among some contractors, end sealing with a Paraffin wax based product or equal is imperative to minimize end checking.  Checking (tiny cracks) occurs in all wood species upon moisture loss.  Most every hardwood decking mill waxes lumber ends prior to shipping.  For best results, wax fresh cut ends immediately after cutting.  A small folded rag lightly dipped into the wax product and dabbed on the cut end will work the best. Avoid waxing the surface of the deck board as this will cause staining.  Excess wax on the surface can be scraped off with a putty knife and then lightly sanded only in this area.  When ripping boards, wax is not required on the straight grain, but only cross cut ends.  Oil based U.V. inhibitor products are not effective in preventing moisture loss at the ends.

FACE SCREW FASTENING

Stainless Steel fasteners are imperative when fastening Ipe.  It's high level of Tannic Acid will cause a dark brown to black reaction stain when fastening with Zinc coated fasteners such as galvanized screws.  Coatings, found on most other types of non-Stainless fasteners, can separate from their Carbon Steel body when driven into a dense material such as Ipe.  Once the coating is removed, bare Carbon Steel is left in direct contact with Ipe and will also cause staining.  As a general rule, Ipe will outlast most any decking product currently on the market.  It is in the best interest of the project to use fasteners that can maintain a similar life cycle.

Face screwing is the most economical and efficient means of installing Ipe decking.  Pre-drilling is necessary to avoid wood splitting and screw breakage.  Screws such as TRIMTITE™ can be installed with relative ease and offer a very inconspicuous look due to it's 3/16" head diameter.  Larger head diameter screws such as Decktite™ will require the use of a countersink that will pre-drill the pilot hole and counter-bore for the head.  For more information: TrimTite.com or DeckTite.com DeckTite.com

UNDER-MOUNT BRACKET FASTENING


Under-mount bracket systems that require screwing from underneath are not recommended. These systems do not directly anchor deck boards to the joist.  Instead, an L shaped bracket is fastened to the joist and the deck boards are held in place by screwing under the horizontal portion of the bracket.  Any movement/shrinking in the typical wet pressure treated joist and Ipe can cause failure.  This system could be more effective with well seasoned framing lumber.

NAILING

Hand nailing into Ipe is virtually impossible and shooting nails with pneumatic nail guns are not recommended.  This will cause the wood to split either after impact or when the wood loses moisture after complete acclimation.  Avoid the following method that is circulating between some online message boards:  Gluing Ipe to the joists with marine grade adhesive and shooting with finish nails is not recommended and will fail.

CLIP/BISCUIT FASTENING

Often made of plastic, plastic composite, or metal, concealed clip fastening systems are intended to obscure the fastener by installing between the deck board without any surface breach.
PLASTIC CLIPS
Plastic and plastic composite clips are effective in securing decking initially, but there are no long term studies or testing to ensure integrity after installation.  Although these clips are somewhat obscured between the board and often halfway to the joist, they are still subject to U.V. exposure when the sun is directly above.  Regardless of U.V. stabilizers, the detrimental effects of U.V. exposure to thin profile plastic can include brittleness resulting in fractures/cracks in the plastic.  Furthermore, most manufacturer warranties will only cover replacement clips and not the labor to dis-assemble or re-install.
ALUMINUM CLIPS
Most Aluminum clip manufacturers include Stainless Steel screws which can result in galvanic reaction where in this case, the Aluminum clip will become the sacrificial metal.  This occurs when two different metals or alloys are regularly connected by moisture as each will develop corrosion potential. If the conditions for galvanic corrosion are present, the more noble metal will become the cathode and the more active metal will become the anode. A measurable current may flow between the anode and the cathode. If this occurs, the anode's rate of corrosion in the service environment will be increased while the cathode's corrosion rate will decrease. The increased corrosion of the anode is called "galvanic corrosion".  Often coated in black oxide, this coating offers only minimal corrosion resistance and is often used to coat interior drywall screws.
TIGERCLAW CLIPS
Tigerclaw clips by Fastenmaster are produced from Type 304 Stainless Steel with a black oxide coating.  Due to unethical business practices, we do not recommend Tigerclaw fasteners.  The use of Tigerclaw with Ipe Decking Source's decking will nullify any service, warranty, or guarantee of our lumber products.  Any claims thereof can be made directly with Fastenmaster.

USING IPE PLUGS

Plugging is a means of concealing fastener heads by deeply countersinking the screw to accommodate a wooden dowel or tapered plug, most often from the same wood specie being fastened.  This method requires an EXCESSIVE amount of labor to install and often results in the plugs being more conspicuous than exposed screws heads.  Wood species such as Ipe have a wide variation of color.  It is often difficult to find wooden plugs that will directly match the color and grain characteristics of the board being fastened/plugged.

ipe plugsipe with epoxy putty 

Ipe shown with 3/8" diameter plugsIpe w/epoxy putty over 3/16" TrimTite screw head

GAPPING

Air dried (non-kiln dried) Ipe supplied by IpeDeckingSource requires minimal gapping of 1/16" side-to-side and no gaps end-to-end on butt joints.  Expect shrinking relative to the wood's moisture content, climate and U.V. exposure.  Kiln dried products such as IpeDeckingSource T&G Porch Flooring and Pre-grooved decking products require no gapping.

SANDING

DO NOT sand the entire surface of your Ipe deck if you plan on applying an oil based U.V. inhibitor.  Sanding will permanently remove the nap from the surface eliminating any penetration from the oil. Sanding is irreversible.  If using a water based U.V. inhibitor (film form), sanding will not affect the adhesion aspects of water based sealers.

SOLID SURFACE INSTALLATIONS OVER SLEEPERS

Ipe, like all wood species, require ventilation and proper drainage underneath to avoid cupping and extensive movement.  Ipe should never be attached directly to a solid surface such as concrete, existing decking, or rubberized membranes over plywood.  Instead, a sleeper frame system that acts as a buffer between the solid surface and the Ipe decking should be used.  Sleepers are generally constructed from 2x4 or larger pressure treated dimensional lumber that is placed on edge to allow air flow and drainage.  The solid surface underneath should be constructed with a pitch to allow for proper water drainage.  Any standing water underneath an Ipe deck could cause the decking to cup.  Larger side-to-side gaps are also recommended to increase ventilation.

CLEANING

Rewoodenate is a proven, non-harsh cleaner/restorer that is highly effective in renewing Ipe and other hardwoods such as Teak.  A light scrub with a medium to stiff bristle deck brush is highly recommended to remove ground-in dirt.  Pressure washing works well to strip old sealer residue and a high PSI will not harm or burr Ipe's resilient surface.

OILING/SEALING

Oiling, often referred to as sealing, your Ipe deck is not required.  Ipe, like all other wood species, will weather to a silver/gray patina with prolong exposure to the Sun's U.V. rays.  A U.V. inhibitor that is designed for hardwood decks can be applied to slow the fading process.

WHAT IS THE BEST SEALER OR STAIN FOR IPE DECKING?

OIL BASED vs WATER BASED

Oil Based:

We have carried 3 different popular brands of oil based UV inhibitors for Ipe and hardwood decking and the resulting performance from all three are short lived.  The application will look fantastic after initial install, but rapidly breaks down with UV exposure after the second to third month and 6 months seems to be the maximum life with a decent appearance.  There are many problems surrounding initial prep and application of oil based UV inhibitors on dense hardwoods.  Pre-sanding will further shorten the performance and a heavy application will remain sticky and show footprints and dirt.  Oil based sealers will only accept a 1 coat application.  Multiple coats will not dry and the deck will remain sticky.  Re-application requires the use of strippers and/or acid based chemicals to remove the old residue.  Oil based sealers will tend to display even the lightest surface scratches, stains, and water marks.  It will inherently give the wood an artificial and over stated red appearance that will often hide the beautiful grain/figure in tropical hardwoods.  Based on OUR extensive testing, Penofin was the least effective and left black streaks in the wood which was likely due to an adverse reaction.  IF your paint/deck contractor insists on using an oil based product, ask them to offer a warranty on the deck's appearance to look the same as initial installation 6 months later.

Water Based:

FLOOD CWF HARDWOODS has been our preferred Ipe sealer since 2008.  It has been the best performing and longest lasting product we've ever carried!  This product will accept multiple coats and we recommend at least 2 for even longer performance.  What's proven is that this product looks better in month 6 to 8 than any oil based product that we've carried in the past.  Re-application is a simple pressure wash with a mild deck cleaner.  Flood CWF Hardwoods is a PPG (formerly Akzo-Nobel).  They produce other recognizable brands including: Devoe Paint & Coatings, Dulux, Glidden, Liquid Nails, Ralph Lauren Paint, and Sikkens to name a few.

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WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO APPLY IPE SEALER:

SEALING NEW IPE OR OTHER HARDWOOD DECKING:

STEP 1:

Apply only when sustained temperatures are above 50 degrees F. Do not assume that new wood is clean, even if it's been rained on!  For best results, use Rewoodenate cleaner.  Deck cleaners found in most big box and hardware retailers contain Bleach which may prematurely lighten the wood's color.   Bleach is added to kill mold/mildew which may be useful the next time the deck is sealed.  Some contractors use dish detergent such as Dawn or Ajax which is effective for cleaning, removing the wood's natural oils from the surface for better sealer adhesion, and is less likely to kill plants and grass surrounding your project. (Use caution when mixing certain chemicals such as some dish detergent & bleach as this can produce harmful toxic gases. Identify ingredients and research mixing compatibility)

STEP 2:

After wetting the deck, use a stiff bristle deck brush and perform a light scrub with Rewoodenate or your chosen deck cleaner.  Scrub with the grain (along the length).  Pressure washing is not as effective and not recommended for cleaning new decks as striping can occur in the wood from the high pressure.  After scrubbing, rinse and allow the wood to dry for at least 2 hours.  Allow longer drying time for covered applications.

STEP 3:

Thoroughly mix Flood CWF Hardwoods by stirring stick or shaken at a paint store before applying. The initial coat should be brushed to work-in the sealer for better adhesion.  A 4" brush is recommended and some contractors will duct-tap the brush to a broom stick to eliminate a hands and knees application.  Secondary and third coats can be applied with a pad applicator or roller for efficiency.  These subsequent coats can be applied immediately.  In other words, after 2-3 boards have been coated the entire length, the second coat can be applied by repeating the initial.

TIPS:

***Stir Flood CWF Hardwoods every 20 minutes to avoid settling.***Brush 2-3 boards at a time running the length of the deck to avoid excessive overlap marks.

SEALING EXISTING IPE/HARDWOOD DECKING PREVIOUSLY SEALED WITH OIL BASED:

STEP 1:

Apply only when sustained temperatures are above 50 degrees F.  Do not apply Flood CWF Hardwoods over a previous application of oil based sealer without removing it first.

For maximum results, use Rewoodenate to bring back the wood's natural beauty and color. Rewoodenate does not contain harsh chemicals such as Oxalic Acid found in most deck brighteners.  Oxalic acid is highly corrosive to carbon based metals.  It will also burn and damage the skin.

STEP 2:

After wetting the deck, use a stiff bristle deck brush and scrub with Rewoodenate or your chosen deck cleaner.  Scrub with the grain (along the length).  For previously applied heavy coats of oil based sealer, pressure washing may be necessary to remove old oil residue.  Machines with pressure above 2,000psi are more effective and it's best to test each nozzle for maximum effectiveness without striping the wood surface.  After scrubbing/pressure cleaning, rinse and allow the wood to dry for at least 2 hours.  Allow longer drying time for covered applications.

STEP 3:

Thoroughly mix Flood CWF Hardwoods by hand or shaken at a paint store before applying.  The initial coat should be brushed to work-in the sealer for better adhesion.  A 4" brush is recommended and some contractors will duct-tap the brush to a broom stick to eliminate a hands and knees application.  Secondary and third coats can be applied with a pad applicator or roller for efficiency.  These subsequent coats can be applied immediately.  In other words, after 2-3 boards have been coated the entire length, the second coat can be applied by repeating the initial.

TIPS:

***Stir Flood CWF Hardwoods every 20 minutes to avoid settling.***Brush 2-3 boards at a time running the length of the deck to avoid excessive overlap marks.

SEALING EXISTING IPE/HARDWOOD DECKING PREVIOUSLY SEALED WITH FLOOD CWF:

STEP 1:

Apply only when sustained temperatures are above 50 degrees F.  Do not apply Flood CWF Hardwoods over a previous application without removing it first.

For maximum results, use Rewoodenate to bring back the wood's natural beauty and color. Rewoodenate does not contain harsh chemicals such as Oxalic Acid found in most deck brighteners.  Oxalic acid is highly corrosive to carbon based metals.  It will also burn and damage the skin.

STEP 2:

After wetting the deck, spray Rewoodenate on the entire surface.  Pressure wash the Ipe or other hardwood decking back to bare wood.  Machines with pressure above 2,000psi are more effective and it's best to test each nozzle for maximum effectiveness without striping the wood surface.  If pressure washing is not an option, extensive scrubbing should produce the same results.

STEP 3:

Thoroughly mix Flood CWF Hardwoods by hand or shaken at a paint store before applying.  The initial coat should be brushed to work-in the sealer for better adhesion.  A 4" brush is recommended and some contractors will duct-tap the brush to a broom stick to eliminate a hands and knees application.  Secondary and third coats can be applied with a pad applicator or roller for efficiency.  These subsequent coats can be applied immediately.  In other words, after 2-3 boards have been coated the entire length, the second coat can be applied by repeating the initial.

TIPS:

***Stir Flood CWF Hardwoods every 20 minutes to avoid settling.***Brush 2-3 boards at a time running the length of the deck to avoid excessive overlap marks.

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FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $150

 

Premium Deck Cleaner & Wood Rejuvenator
 


- The easiest & most effective wood cleaner we've ever tested & used.
- Cleaning action is immediate compared to that of any deck brightener (Oxalic Acid).
- Spray & scrub on damp/lightly wet decking instead of pressure washing.

- Resulting effect to bare wood is amazing!

- Coverage will vary based on deck condition.  Coverage is roughly 150-200sf/Spray Bottle.

- Performance will vary based on existing condition relative to old sealer residue & weathering.

   

ITEM CODE DESCRIPTION PRICE PURCHASE
89910-16 Rewoodenate Deck Cleaner
3 Pack 16oz Concentrate - Yields 6 spray bottles of cleaner
$90.00

 

89910-32 Rewoodenate Deck Cleaner
4 Pack 32oz Concentrate - Yields 4 gallons of cleaner.
$168.00

 

 

Flood CWF for Hardwoods - Cedar Tone
 

- Use Cedar Tone for darker woods such as Ipe, Tigerwood, or Red Cumaru.

- Cedar Tone is lightly tinted and will mitigate the yellow tinge after drying that is

often experienced from the Natural version.
- Unique water-borne finish penetrates/bonds to Hardwoods.
- Does not over darken grain compared to Oil based finishes.
- Easier to install and performs 3x longer than Oil based finishes.

- Do not use the non-Hardwoods formula found at most big box

   retailers as the effectiveness is not comparable.

-  Coverage is roughly 250sf/Gallon.

ITEM CODE DESCRIPTION PRICE PURCHASE
89911-2 Flood CWF Hardwoods - Cedar Tone
2 Gallon Pack ($45.00/gal)
$90.00
89911-4 Flood CWF Hardwoods - Cedar Tone
4 Gallon Pack ($45.00/gal)
ships free
$180.00

 

89911-8 Flood CWF Hardwoods - Cedar Tone
8 Gallon Pack ($40.00/gal)
ships free
$320.00

 

The installation guidelines and tips shown above are strictly for the use of customers that have purchased lumber and decking products from IpeDeckingSource.  IpeDeckingSource assumes no liability and disclaims all warranties, whether expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement.  It is the sole responsibility of the user, owner, or installer to test each product relative to it's application and comply with all Federal, State, and local building codes and regulations.
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