Deciding on Ipe Deck Design

Evaluating the outdoor environment of your home is essential when choosing decking material. There are many different options, but making the right choice will come down to how the material looks, how easy it is to maintain, its price, and how well it stands up to the particular weather conditions of your area.


Ipe Decking

Pronounced e-pay and known by a variety of names, ipe decking is the toughest, longest lasting material available. Originating in Central and South America, this wood is tightly grained and dense, allowing it to tolerate a number of weathering conditions.

Homeowners can feel good about ipe decking; it’s harvested by sustainable-yield methods, making it both natural and eco-friendly.


It features a rich dark or light olive brown color with red and amber hues throughout, providing character and beauty while also being low maintenance and durable.


Benefits of Ipe for Decks and Outdoor Spaces

Ipe is world renowned as a superior decking material, and its benefits prove why. Aside from elegance and endurance, it offers a number of advantages that outweigh its hardwood and vinyl competitors:

  • Insect and rot resistance. The natural oils in ipe hardwood give it the highest insect resistance score and keep it rot, mold, and fungus free.
  • Movement resistant. Compared to its wood and synthetic counterparts, it takes a high amount of pressure to bend or stretch ipe wood, protecting it against warping through changes in temperature.
  • Doesn’t retain heat. Ipe has a low heat retention, which allows it to stay cool even on hot Austin days.
  • Made for heavy use. The unique makeup of ipe allows it to feel and sturdy and endure heavy amounts of traffic.
  • Long lasting and low maintenance. Although the average life of ipe is around 30 years, it isn’t uncommon for ipe decks to function for 40 years or more. The maintenance on ipe is low; it may have to be swept or cleaned from time to time. It’s recommended to seal the decking initially and clean it with an oil-based cleaner to retain the original sheen.
  • Resists scratches and slivers. Ipe decking is perfect if you have children or pets, as it stands up beautifully to everyday wear and tear. Ipe deck owners rarely have to worry about injury to the wood, but should your decking get penetrated in any way, you can sand the area back to its original condition.
  • Fire resistance. Ipe wood has the same fire rating as concrete and steel and boasts the highest classification for Flame Spread from the National Fire Protection Agency.


Ipe proves that decking can be gorgeous in design and color while showing off a tough-as-nails character. Homeowners looking to put in decking should consider the benefits of ipe. While it may require a higher investment up front, it retains its beauty with little maintenance and lasts up to ten years longer, making its return on investment higher than wood or synthetic decking.

Austin Outdoor Design enjoys the beauty and sustainability of ipe decking. We have used it in several projects and would be happy to consult with you on any of your decking needs.

Posted on November 18, 2015