Ipe wood, also known as Brazilian Walnut, is an exotic hardwood notoriously known for its durability and strength. In this article, we will broadly explore the basics surrounding Ipe wood including its history, properties, alternate names, applications and uses, grading, color and color variations, drying methods, and installation.
Ipe lumber can be purchased from J Gibson McIlvain Lumber Company. Visit their website mcilvain.com for more information.
Ipe wood is native to Central and South America, primarily Brazil, and was originally used by the natives of the Amazon rainforest. The natives used it to construct boats because of its strong, durable properties. It was later discovered by colonial settlers and exported to Europe where it was used for high-end furniture and construction. Nowadays, it is one of the most sought out woods for outdoor decking and furniture due to its weather and insect resistance.
Ipe wood is an incredibly dense and durable hardwood, making it resistant to rot, decay, insects, and weather. It also has a high fire rating, making it a great choice for outdoor construction. It’s high fire resistance leads to people commonly calling it “fireproof wood.” It is a very heavy wood, weighing up to 54 pounds per cubic foot, and can be difficult to work with due to its hardness. It is a very stable wood, which makes it great for building outdoor decks and crafting durable furniture that will not be prone to warping or splitting.
Ipe wood is also known by the following names:
- Brazilian Walnut
- Pau Lope
Applications and Uses
Ipe wood is primarily used for outdoor applications such as decking, furniture, docks, boardwalks, and siding. It is also used for indoor applications such as flooring, cabinetry, and furniture.
Ipe wood is graded according to the U.S. Wood Decking Grading System by the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA). It is graded into four categories: select, common, better, and best. The higher the grade, the fewer knots and flaws which the piece of wood has.
Color and Color Variations
Ipe wood has a wide range of color variations. It ranges from a reddish-brown to a deep, dark brown with black stripes. It can also have a yellowish hue.
Ipe wood can be kiln dried or air dried. Kiln drying is the faster method, but drying the wood too rapidly can cause the wood to warp or crack. Air drying is a slower method, but it helps to preserve the wood’s natural shape and color.
Installation of Ipe Decking
Ipe decking should be installed with stainless steel fasteners and screws to ensure a strong and secure connection. Pre-drilling is recommended to avoid splitting the wood. Ipe decking boards come in a variety of sizes, such as 1 x 4, 1 x 6, 5/4 x 4, 5/4 x 6, 2 x 6, and 2 x 8.
Pros and Cons
- Rot and insect resistant
- High fire rating
- Wide range of color variations
- Easy to install
- Heavy and difficult to work with
- Can warp or crack if not dried properly
Ipe wood is a durable and strong hardwood that is perfect for outdoor and indoor applications. It is rot, insect, and weather resistant, and has a high fire rating. It is available in a wide range of color variations and can be kiln or air dried. Ipe wood is an expensive wood, but its durability and strength make it a worthwhile investment for those desiring a more permanent structure.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is 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, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
Contact a sales representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling toll free (800) 638-9100.