Why is it not finished when delivered?
We often have people ask if Ipe Decking needs any additional finishing when it is delivered to them. The answer is yes, it will need additional finishing or cleaning. Now the reason for this is really because of what the ipe decking wood goes through before it gets to you. Also the amount of finishing depends on what you are looking for in your finished deck. To understand what type of finishing Ipe and other hardwood decking needs we want to go through the life of the decking before it gets to you.
Transportation & Milling
The Ipe Wood is Cut down to the proper board sizes at the Mills in Brazil. We only buy from reputable suppliers that are certified by the IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) which assure that they are legally harvested according to current Brazilian and US regulations. New trees are also replanted after all harvesting. Once the Boards are cut down in inland Brazil they are then shipped by truck to ports in Brazil to be loaded in shipping containers. This trip can be bumpy, and dirty because sections of it can be on dirt roads, and less developed highways.
Shipping & Trucking
Once the Ipe Decking is loaded into a container it is shipped via a container ship to a port near one of our locations where it is unloaded to be trucked to our warehouse locations. As you can image movement and wear on the wood is bound to happen during this process.
Sorting & Storing
Once the Ipe and Hardwood Decking is delivered to our warehouses we sort the decking to check the quality and sort it into the specific sizes we sell and to possible do more milling for railings, porch flooring, or other custom millwork. During this process we do our best to take care of the wood but again it is an opportunity for wood to receive some wear and tear. We then store the decking until it is ordered which can be a few days or many months depending on our stock levels and the demand for the size of ipe. So during that storage time the ipe decking has the ability to gain more dust and grime over time.
When we receive an order for Ipe Decking the first thing we do is sort out all of the boards needed and wrap up to protect them from any further damage or soiling. We then load the order on a truck which delivers it to the final destination. Depending on the equipment available at the final destination it can be unloaded by fork truck or by hand. So now you have you Ipe Decking after that long journey ready to install on your deck. Based on all the places it has been and the number of times it has been loaded, unloaded, and sorted it will need some additional finishing.
How to Properly Finish Ipe Decking?
When the Ipe or Hardwood Decking arrives, the first step is to acclimate it to the environment where it will be installed. For more information on how to stock and acclimate, check out our Ipe Decking Installation Guide. You want to allow a minimum of two weeks to properly acclimate the wood if possible. Failing to properly acclimate the wood before installation could cause the wood to crack, buckle, warp, etc. after installation.
Whenever cutting Ipe and Hardwood Decking ,you need to make sure to end seal each cut to keep the wood from splitting which happens when the end cuts acclimates faster than the rest of the boards.
From above where we described all of the loading, unloading and transport, some of the boards may because scuffed or scratched. Since Ipe is of an extreme hardness this does not permanently damage the wood but this may require sanding before or after installation to give the decking and finished appearance.
Applying a Cleaner
Once you have you boards installed, if you feel they are still soiled or could use some brightening you can apply a cleaner to give them a beautiful new look. This is recommended every few years depending on your decking installation location but can also be a good idea for the initial install.
Oiling is Optional
Finally, once you have you boards cut, end sealed, installed, sanded, and cleaned you can apply a UV Oil to help give the wood the dark finish associated with new ipe and help that dark color to stay longer. Depending on your location and decks exposure you will need to Clean and Oil your deck every 1-2 years.
This is why Ipe Decking is not a finished product, but please keep in mind once you have you Ipe Decking installed it will last 50+ years, so all of the work is worth it especially with the natural beauty of this amazing hardwood decking.
If you have any questions about Ipe and Hardwood Deck finishing, feel free to ask below in the comments or contact us.