Ipe is an amazing species of tropical hardwood that is known for its exceptional qualities. This makes it a popular choice for outdoor decking, siding, and other exterior construction projects. However, like any other material, Ipe wood has its own set of problems that homeowners and builders should be aware of before deciding to use it. In this article, we will discuss the biggest problems with Ipe wood and what can be done to mitigate them.
One of the biggest problems with Ipe wood is its high cost. Ipe wood is often more expensive than other types of wood, such as cedar or redwood. This can make it difficult for some homeowners and builders to afford, especially for larger projects. However, it is important to consider the long-term cost of a project, not just the initial cost. Ipe wood may be more expensive up front, but it will last much longer than other types of wood, which means you will not have to replace it as often.
Another problem with Ipe wood is its density. The wood is extremely dense, which makes it difficult to work with. This means that it can be harder to cut, drill, and fasten than other types of wood. Additionally, the density of the wood makes it heavy, which can make it more difficult to handle and transport. Homeowners and builders should be prepared for the added challenges that come with working with Ipe wood.
Ipe wood is also known for its tendency to “check” or crack over time. This is due to the wood’s natural expansion and contraction caused by changes in moisture levels. The checks or cracks may appear unsightly, but they do not affect the structural integrity of the wood.
Another problem with Ipe wood is that it can be difficult to find. Ipe wood is not as readily available as other types of wood, and it may be difficult to find a supplier that carries it. Additionally, because Ipe wood is a tropical hardwood, it may be more susceptible to import restrictions and trade regulations. Homeowners and builders should be prepared to do some extra research to find a supplier that carries Ipe wood.
Lastly, Ipe wood is not as eco-friendly as some other types of wood. The wood is harvested from tropical rainforests, which can have a negative impact on the environment. Additionally, Ipe wood is often transported long distances to reach its destination, which can have a negative impact on the environment as well. Homeowners and builders who are concerned about the environment may want to consider other types of wood that are more eco-friendly. While this is of concern, its lifespan often makes up for this as it requires no new construction for many years to come.
In conclusion, Ipe wood is an exceptional choice for outdoor decking, siding, and other exterior construction projects. However, it does come with its own set of problems that homeowners and builders should be aware of before deciding to use it. The high cost, density, tendency to check, difficulty to find, and environmental impact are some of the biggest problems associated with Ipe wood. However, if you are willing to invest in a high-quality and long-lasting product, Ipe wood is an excellent choice for your next decking project.