Ipe Decking 101: The Complete Guide

Did you know? Ipe decking can last for at least 50 years and is as hard as nails.

Ipe (pronounced as ee-pay) is an exotic wood originating from South America. Also known as Brazilian walnut, ipe is among the strongest natural decking materials.

If you’re planning to have an ipe deck, here are 8 things you must know about this strong wood.

ipe decking
Ipe Decking 101: The Complete guide

7 Facts About Ipe Decking

1. Ipe wood has an exotic appearance.

Ipe is one of the most beautiful decking materials in the world.

This hardwood boasts a dark brown color with amber tones. It looks similar to mahogany.

When cut, ipe produces green wood dust. Ipe’s heartwood color ranges from reddish brown to olive brown.

2. Ipe wood is not installed like most wood.

For starters, ipe wood needs to sit for at least 7 days at the area where it’s going to be installed. This must be done so the ipe wood gets accustomed to the climate.

In addition, installing ipe decking is not a DIY activity. It never should be.

Since ipe is extremely hard, premium carbide blades must be used to cut it. Forstner or wood bits are typically used instead of regular drill bits. Thus, finding an excellent deck builder is a must if you want ipe decking.

3. Ipe decking can last for at least 50 years.

In general, ipe wood can last for at least 50 years. Its longevity varies depending on how the wood is treated.

Ipe lasts for many decades because it is resistant to fire, insects, and rotting. We bet termites hate this wood.

4. Ipe decking treated with oil can maximize its life span.

Speaking of making ipe last longer, ipe decking can last for up to 75 years when treated with oil.

When its wood grains are exposed, ipe becomes moist. This moisture can spread all over the plank and eventually destroy the wood. In particular, oil seals the wood so that its grains won’t be exposed.

5. Ipe is way more dense than most wood.

Ipe has a density of 66 to 75 pounds per cubic foot. Most wood decking materials have densities ranging from 23 to 39 pounds per cubic foot.

For instance, cedar has a density of 23 pounds per cubic foot. Thus, an ipe plank of the same size will be thrice as heavy as its cedar counterpart.

6. Ipe is about five times as hard as most wood.

Ipe is not just dense, it’s extremely hard as well. To give you an easy comparison, ipe is as hard as nails.

Thus, regular nails cannot easily penetrate ipe. Instead, holes are drilled into ipe wood so that steel screws can go in.

7. Ipe decking stays cool under the sun.

Ipe, just like any other wood, becomes warm under the scorching sun. However, unlike other wood, ipe doesn’t stay hot. It dissipates heat way faster than other wood.

Interestingly, ipe can withstand even the coldest cities in the world.


Ipe is beautiful, durable, and long-lasting. However, this decking material must be handled by professionals only.

Want to have an ipe deck built? Contact a deck builder in Deerfield Beach, Florida now!