In the past buying outdoor furniture was something that most people could expect to do several times over their lifespan. Ipe wood is changing that expectation because furniture made from this tropical hardwood can last as long as 100 years.
What is it about this wood that makes it so durable? The answer lies in the cell structure of the plant. These cells so densely formed inside the tree make this species completely unpalatable to insects so infestation and attack are never a problem. This cell density also gives excellent fire protection to the living tree and any projects constructed using lumber made from it. Ipe lumber is incredibly fire resistant, and tests performed by the National Fire Protection Association show that this wood has a rating of 0; this is the same rating that is given to concrete or steel. Another favorable characteristic of the wood is its resistance to splintering. When used in decking around pools and hot tubs, this provides yet another safety factor that is often overlooked until decking is already down and a bare foot has picked up a splinter or two.
This incredible wood imparts another wonderful safety feature as well. The wood is naturally slip resistance, again due to the dense cell structure found in the wood. As decking, Ipe exceeds the Americans with Disabilities act requirements for Static coefficient of friction in a wet environment. Incredibly hard, slip resistant and resistant to insect infestation it is no wonder that both Atlantic City and Las Vegas have used the tropical hardwood for major boardwalk replacement projects.
When first considering what type of wood to use in outdoor furniture or decking, it may seem like a good idea to go with lumbar that is familiar and often utilized for such projects. Some these woods can include redwood, cedar or pressure treated pine. It is easy to see the lure of using one these woods, as at first glance they do appear to be a good bargain. It is only up deeper reflection that one can see that these woods while definitely inexpensive in the short term turn out to be such poor bargains over the long haul. With pressure treated pine, one of the most common timbers used, one may have to replace part of all of an outdoor project three times, possibly more. Once this cost is factored in, then the choice to use Ipe wood becomes apparent rather quickly. Not only is Ipe more cost efficient in the long term, the heaviness and durability of the wood means that installing a deck made of this tropical hardwood can truly be a fix it and forget it project.
With so many things seen as disposable in this day and age, it is refreshing to find a product that can be expected to pass the test of time. On that point and so many others, this hardwood lives up to its reputation. If other home furnishings could promise what this wood product does, both interior and exterior projects would be a walk in the park.