As the east coast boardwalks have been slammed with disaster after disaster this past year from Hurricane Sandy and then a devastating fire in Seaside, NJ, many municipalities and beach councils find themselves with the daunting task of rebuilding. When Hurricane Sandy slammed the coast last October, miles of boardwalks were demolished; in the wake of rebuilding in a difficult economy, many are faced with how and when to rebuild. After a year, many still have not started the rebuilding process.
While some may be turning to wood alternatives such as concrete, beach visitors, for the most part, are rebelling against the harsh alternative. For any beach fan, the feel of a wooden boardwalk under your feet brings back such vivid childhood memories that a slab of grey concrete just can’t conjure up. For boardwalk runners, the pounding sound of hardwood under your feet not only sounds soothing, but is also much easier on the joints than concrete. And finally, for the skateboarders, roller skaters, and bike riders often allowed on the boardwalk in the early morning hours, the rhythmic sound of the wood planks sliding under your wheels is music to a boardwalk fan’s ears.
While some municipalities have chosen to use concrete, visitors and natives of many beach cities are urging for the traditional use of a wooden boardwalk, often constructed of Ipe (view specs). Traditionally used, Ipe is a strong, dense wood able to withstand the elements of the nearby ocean water and also the heavy pressure and weight load that thousands of vacationers put on it every year. These commercial boardwalk projects call for 2X lumber in sizes of 2×4 and 2×6. This size and thickness will prevent bouncing and cracking. Known for not only its durability and density, Ipe is also a beautiful hardwood with a yellowish-olive brown coloring.
Although the country has witnessed the natural elements unleash their fury on our beloved boardwalks, many were surprised when Seaside’s yellow-pine boardwalk was essentially demolished by an electrical fire. As Seaside finishes up the rebuilding of their new Ipe boardwalk, which has a class A or I fire rating, it is sure to be durable and as fire proof as concrete.
As many start the rebuilding process of boardwalks that have been there for years, contractors are considering many options to build stronger, safer, and longer lasting boardwalks, and many are turning to Ipe. While contractors consider the best wood product to use, beach goers, boardwalk store owners, and locals are urging city councils to rebuild using wood, rather than concrete. True to the word “boardwalk,” the wood looks like a traditional beach scene, feels like childhood memories under our feet, and certainly fits in better beside the ocean than a slab of concrete.
In an ideal world, the supply of Ipe would be limitless and only a few boardwalks would be rebuilding at one time. However, given the extensive devastation of Hurricane Sandy and other disasters over the past year, a large amount of cities are being forced to rebuild and do so quickly before the next summer in-season. While the supply will definitely be there from reputable companies such as J. Gibson McIlvain Company, expect longer lead times and allow more than a week’s notice. J. Gibson McIlvain Company is confident that it can supply Ipe to the Atlantic Coast towns charged with the task of rebuilding before another busy in-season begins.
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 representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.
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