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Anybody used IPE decking?

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  • billh
    replied
    After putting up with PT and cedar decking I built 2 Trex decks. No regrets, stuff looks like it is brand new after 3 or 4 years.

    I want to clear up what in my opinion is misleading info. You don't have to beef up the deck support structure because Trex is heavy compared to wood. The issue is the fact that Trex and others have little structural strength which was mentioned above. For 5/4 decking they specify joists 16" OC as a maximum. I did mine 12" OC which really doesn't affect the cost much at all. This is so it doesn't sag when you walk between the joists.

    Another handy use for Trex, to take advantage of its flexibiltiy, is to use it for edging a curved garden. Makes a nice curve and won't rot.

    billh

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  • OttawaP
    replied
    I've built quite a few Trex decks. Great colours and combinations and textures available including railings. We've done two tones combo a fair bit and wood grained borders pieces with smooth decking. It is stupidly heavy and dense, upgrade of joist spacing/sizing is required. We do charge a premium to install it on top of the actual cost difference but none of my clients who has put it in has ever regretted it.

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  • Woodwreck
    replied
    Ken's comments are highly enlightening

    Weatherbest in comparison is heavy but perhaps only 2/3's - you should be able to find specs. It bends, but not to the degree of 3 people to carry for weight or sag in the good illustration Ken provided (do need 2).

    And, no it doesn't pose any problem to bare feet in hot weather. And it probably costs almost twice as much as cedar or redwood - I forget the specific figures.

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  • Ken in Regina
    replied
    My wife and I decided to go with Trex a couple of years ago when we replaced the decks because we wanted something that would be maintenance-free. It turned out well but there are a couple of things to know.

    The first is that any of the composite materials are more expensive than almost any type of wood.

    The second thing is that the Trex really gets hot on a sunny day. I mean really hot. You have to wear shoes when you walk on it. We never had that problem on the hottest days with the old cedar deck.

    Working with it on a hot day is ... interesting. It softens up and trying to haul a 12ft or 16ft board around is a three person job. If one person tries to pick up the board both ends are dragging on the ground ... even with it up on your shoulder . If two people get on the ends the middle drags on the ground.

    I would seriously consider using Ipe if I had it to do again. I understand Ipe is hard enough that it can be a bear on blades.

    ...ken...

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  • Tim in Milton
    replied
    I have decks at home in Ipe - highly recommended although as others have said it blunts tools fast and the dust is not great.

    That said, it looks fab, only needs pressure washing once a year to clean, needs no treatment and has the same fire retardant rating as concrete. It is mighty heavy - it sinks in water.

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  • Woodwreck
    replied
    Characteristics of IPE are interesting....

    "Ipe wood products contains no added harmful chemicals so it can be used near water without potential contamination, although its dust can cause a number of respiratory and contact dermatitis allergic reactions in humans."

    For more information see: http://www.woodsthebest.com/ipe_decking/ipe-wood.htm
    Last edited by Woodwreck; 04-04-2008, 04:24 AM.

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  • AtSam
    replied
    I have turned some on a lathe and I can say it made me very sick. I had trouble breathing for weeks. Might have been something else but I believe it was the wood dust.

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  • Hawkestone Peter
    replied
    Wear a mask when milling. I've been told the dust is extremely nasty long term.

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  • Woodwreck
    replied
    Alternatives to IP - engineered stuff

    I know yo stated you were not interested in the engineered stuff, or whatever it is properly called - e.g. plastic grocery bags recycled. The point is there is little similarity between products - some have been recalled, some have had moisture problems (lack of clearance from ground). I used Weatherbest (WB) because it looked to me like the closest to real wood's appearance.

    See http://www.weatherbest.com/.

    As to price, I am at the other side of the continent (some would say at the other end of the world out here in California) and any price info I can provide is irrelevant. The stuff is priced high because there is no maintenance and several years later looks as it did the day it was installed.

    I discovered that WB has two grain sides - straight grain on one side, grain with knots etc on other, fairly realistic. We have IPE installed out here also but the price is pretty hard to justify in my opinion unless you have a commercial application with public foot traffic as one installed example. Last, for rails and banisters, I built own out of redwood or cedar - cost of the manuf. fittings is excessive and their appearance v. routed wood varies all over the place and I felt were a poor match. Feel free to DM or email me if you wish.

    Steve

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  • Rajiv_in_KW
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Guthrie, Toronto View Post
    Thanks Steve and Mark. Anyone know the comparative cost of Trex like stuff and good cedar?
    I am just doing pricing since I am planning to build a deck this summer. from local HH, comparison pricing I got for simple 16'x12' deck were as follows ( from memory .. so don't take figures too literally )

    PT - 1300/-
    Cedar - 1900/-
    Trex/Eon - 3500-/ - 4000/-

    Haven't researched Ipe yet.

    --Rajiv

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  • Rajiv_in_KW
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Guthrie, Toronto View Post
    Thanks Steve and Mark. Anyone know the comparative cost of Trex like stuff and good cedar?
    I am just doing pricing since I am planning to build a deck this summer. from local HH, comparison pricing I got for simple 16'x12' deck were as follows ( from memory .. so don't take figures too literally )

    PT - 1300/-
    Cedar - 1900/-
    Trex/Eon - 3500-/ - 4000/-

    Haven't researched Ipe yet.

    --Rajiv

    Leave a comment:


  • Mark in Burlington
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Guthrie, Toronto View Post
    Thanks Steve and Mark. Anyone know the comparative cost of Trex like stuff and good cedar?
    Bill, Another think to consider is how much "fancy stuff" and you are going to do. Any solid wood is going to be easier to work with and give you more options. The problem with cedar is the amount of sap wood you get these days. Are you going to finish/stain your deck? Trex has the advantage in cleaning, no maintence and like Ipe outlast the understructure. The Trex like stuff does expand and contract and some brands get a little flexable spungy under hot sun and need more under support.
    The price is all about the same between the different materials, if you shop around you can get a beter price on any of the three decking materials so decide based on what works for you.
    Cheers, Mark

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  • Bill Guthrie, Toronto
    replied
    Thanks Steve and Mark. Anyone know the comparative cost of Trex like stuff and good cedar?

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  • Woodwreck
    replied
    Mark says it all... note particularly his comments about the beam caps,using

    either the rolls of formed poly with drip lip on either side, or aluminum beam caps because it will outlive the structure and as he points out, the stuff is heavier than heck; check the span loading.

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  • Mark in Burlington
    replied
    Bill, It is great stuff if you are use to working with hardwoods. Good sharp carbide blades are required and predrilling for screws. IPE is heavier so you need to beef up the supporting structure. Because the desking lasts so log you will also need to improve the potential life span of structure, use a rubber membrane material on the top edge of the supporting beams under the ipe to prevent rot down the road.
    I have picked up most of my Ipe material from Oliver Lumber in Toronto.
    Good Luck, Mark

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