care of your Ipe deck
New York decks live in a harsh environment. Raining one minute, and
sunny the next...heat and humidity,
and UV rays. Then snow, ice, and
freezing cold for months. What makes it worse is that most of this
occurs on one side only...the top of the deck. This causes
movement and degradation of the wood. It will shrink,
expand, want to
warp and cup. Fortunately, you have chosen Ipe for your decking. It
will move, but have very
little degradation. There will be some, but
you should be able to enjoy your deck for many years, with little or
maintenance. The Ipe color will fade to a silvery gray, but remain
finish building your deck, I hand sand it with a random
orbital sander, loaded with 50 grit sandpaper.
I sweep off the dust,
and blow it away with a compressor. Then I apply Penofin (western red
cedar formula). It's
available locally at Dykes lumber on 6th street,
between 2-3rd aves. A gallon is usually enough for multiple
depending on the size of your deck. It's best to apply the
Penofin on a cloudy day, or when your deck is in shade.
doesn't like sunny days. I don't always have the luxury to wait
for an optimal time to apply, so I have to
move a little quicker,
before the Penofin gets tacky.
Penofin because it's easy to apply, and easy to find, and it looks
great. The truth
is, Ipe is extremely dense, and a
penetrating oil, like Penofin, isn't
able to penetrate very deeply, except into the end grain at the ends
of the boards. I make sure to
flood it on the ends, where more
absorption occurs, and where the Ipe is most likely to check (fine
splits or cracks).
When I have
completed your deck project, the deck will look as good as
it ever will, but then the UV rays will cause
it to start fading. By
the following spring, it will have faded to a silvery color, or be well
on the way. The rate of fading
depends on whether your deck is in bare
sun, partial, or full shade.
Some of you
will like the faded color, or come to accept it, as it
requires seasonal maintenance to keep it looking like it did when I
If you want
it to look like beautiful, tropical wood again, you can do
it anytime...even years later.
your deck is the best prep that you can do, before re-applying
Penofin (or the sealer of your choice).
If you don't want to sand, get
a deck wash product at Lowes or HD, or your local paint store...one
that contains oxalic acid. Follow the
You can also use a pressure washer, as Ipe is
hard enough to handle the pressure. Maybe dial down the pressure a bit.
when the deck is dry, apply the Penofin. It's not necessary to coat the
bottom of the boards, as they never
suffer from UV rays, rain, or snow. In the
paint section of Lowes, you can get a paint pad with a handle.
They sell a combo
pack, which is made for applying sealers to decks and
fences. You may also need a paintbrush. You will need a threaded
broomstick to screw onto the handle, so that you spend less time on
finish applying, you wipe it dry with some old t-shirts. Wipe until
you don't see any shiny, oily spots.
the oily rags immediately, because if you were to roll them
up, and store them, they can spontaneously combust, and cause a fire.
What you'll need...
Gallon of Penofin
pad, or roller with handle
to fit on handle
pan with disposable cover
bunch of rags, or old t shirts
another year. Enjoy your
deck, and take care of it.
Any questions...call or email.