This decking installation guide provides information on installing Ipe and garapa wood. It is a strong, dense, and long-lasting type of wood known as “ironwood”. Special tools, such as premium carbide-tipped saw blades and Brad point or Fostner drill bits, are required for installation. Before starting, get the necessary permits and consult with a local architect or Buy Ipe Direct for help with installation. Ipe wood is suitable for outdoor projects such as decks and outdoor furniture, but can also be used indoors. There are three basic styles of Ipe wood – pre-grooved, standard, and tongue and groove. Acclimating the wood to local conditions is important before installation. Leave the wood in its new environment for at least seven days and check with Buy Ipe Direct if storing for more than 28 days.
It is essential to acclimate Ipe wood for optimal results properly. The following is a list of do’s and don’ts for acclimating Ipe wood:
- Store Ipe wood on blocks of wood, at a minimum of 12 inches from the ground, to ensure proper ventilation.
- Cover the Ipe wood with plywood during the acclimation process.
- Air out the Ipe wood outside in an open, well-ventilated space.
- Separate rows of boards with wooden shims enhance ventilation.
- Do not sit Ipe wood directly on or near the ground or on a block of concrete.
- Do not cover the Ipe lumber with a tarp or plastic, which may trap water and moisture and create stability issues.
- Only store Ipe decking lumber for up to 28 days by double-checking with a Buy Ipe Direct.
- Do not store Ipe wood in an enclosed space.
When installing Ipe wood decking, it is important to consider the following:
- Joist spacing – Make sure to plan adequate space for joists. Refer to the table for maximum joist spacing based on Ipe dimensions.
- Pitch – Ensure the ground and substructure have the proper pitch to prevent flooding during rainstorms. A minimum of ¼ inch pitch per ten feet of decking is recommended for standard Ipe lumber.
- Location – Do not install hardwood decking over concrete, as this may cause cupping and other issues due to moisture retention.
- Gap – Leave a space of 3/32” between boards to allow for expansion and contraction due to heat, cold, or moisture.
- Airflow – Design the deck for good airflow underneath the wood with 18” of unobstructed air under the joists and open sides for cross ventilation. Avoid blocking airflow when using skirting.
- Drainage – Do not allow water to pool under or on the deck. Slope the ground to drain water from the deck and main structure. Refrain from building the deck over concrete slabs or blocks.
- Predrilling – You need to predrill our extremely dense wood to prevent splitting and cracking.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure a proper installation of your Ipe wood deck, protecting both the project and the environment.
Regarding deck styles, there are several options to choose from.
Traditional Outdoor Decks:
Traditional outdoor decks are exposed to the elements, and Ipe wood is an excellent choice for this type of deck. You can personalize your deck by choosing the pitch, gap, and finish that suits your style. When installing Ipe wood, leave a gap of 3/32” for air-dried lumber and 1/4” for KD (kiln-dried).
Covered Exterior and Interior Decks:
Tongue and groove decking provides a more finished look and can only be used when there’s an exterior cover, such as a roof. With Ipe’s durability, this decking can now be used outside. When it comes to fastening the boards, the Camo Hidden Clip and Camo Edge Fastening systems are both excellent options that hide fasteners discreetly. You can also use finish screws or the plug method, which involves inserting a small Ipe wood plug into the screw hole.
Note that tongue and groove decking must have proper ventilation and can only be installed on top of floor joists, not on a subfloor. Ensure the lumber is covered and pitched away from the house for proper drainage. The pitch for tongue and groove is steeper than standard or grooved boards, and a slight v-groove in the corner is present. To install, pre-drill a 45-degree angle hole where the tongue and face meet and drive a trim-head screw through the same hole. The screw will fit into the groove, and the next board will conceal the screw head, giving the deck a smooth interior floor look.
IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE:
Before starting your deck project, contact the relevant building departments to ensure compliance with all codes and ordinances. Obtaining the necessary permits is your responsibility.
Buy Ipe Direct can provide information to assist you in your selections, but you must be familiar with building codes. Buy Ipe Direct will not be held responsible for failing to obtain proper permits or comply with zoning codes and building ordinances.
The information on this site is intended for reference only and is not a guarantee of any kind. All information should be verified by an onsite professional.
We recommend working with a professional for proper deck installation. All information provided on the site is only a general guideline, and Buy Ipe Direct will not be held liable for improper installation due to inaccuracies or any other reason.
Congratulations on making an investment that will bring beauty and longevity to your deck! Buy Ipe Direct is here to help with your project, and grateful for the opportunity to do so. Thank you!