By: Tim Gilliam
Ipe Deck Refinishing
While our process for refinishing your ipe wood deck is simple, we take the time to understand the unique conditions of your deck. The care your ipe deck needs will depend on the climate where you live, as California has several microclimates to consider, and how often and what you use the deck for.
Before starting the refinishing project, we thoroughly inspect your deck. We’ll look for any boards or hardware needing fixing or replacing. We also consider how long it’s been since the deck was treated and what coating was applied. Once we know the condition of your deck, our team begins the refinishing process. Read below to learn what this process entails.
The first step in any deck refinishing project is cleaning. Cleaning will remove any of the previous coatings on the deck. It also removes surface dirt and eliminates built-up debris. Gray oxidation comes off with a bit of scrubbing as well. We avoid using any harsh strippers or chemicals that may cause damage to your landscaping or end up contaminating our oceans.
The next step in our ipe deck refinishing process is sanding. Our team will do a thorough job of sanding your deck down to its original layer. This will eliminate any coating that cleaning alone doesn’t. Sanding the surface of the ipe wood also opens up the grains and creates a smooth surface. After sanding is complete, we clean it with a wood brightener, which helps eliminate mold and mildew. Your deck will now look fresh and bright.
Finally, we’ll apply a sealant. The sealant we use is specially formulated for ipe and hardwood. Our sealer penetrates the wood to best protect it from the elements. We’ll apply it by hand using brushes to get the coating even. You can count on us to cover every inch of exposed wood so that you don’t have to worry about any part of your deck.
Ipe Deck Refinishing Fact Sheet
|Ipe Deck Refinishing
|What is Ipe?
|Ipe is a hardwood from Brazil that is commonly used for decks and siding in the united States. It is prized for its strength and durability and unique grain and color.
|Are Ipe Decks Durable?
|Ipe decks can last a lifetime. If you choose to keep it in its natural look, only simple care and maintenance is needed.
|How to Clean Ipe Decks?
|The best way to keep your Ipe deck clean is by using a leaf blower to remove surface dirt and debris. You may also mop the wood clean with a mild soap and water.
|The best Ipe sealers are oil based. Oil base sealer gradually dissipate over time and allow for realatively easy maintenance.
|Safe to Pressure Wash Ipe Decks?
|It is entirely safe to pressure wash and Ipe deck. Experience is the key in presuure washing as it can permenently scar the wood without proper pressure, height, and nozzle.
|Are Ipe Deck Oils Safe?
|Ipe deck oils are safe to use and apply. Safety is the key, as oil base ipe deck oils are flammable.
How to Restore Ipe Wood Decks
We stated that we have seen it all when it comes to nightmarish projects, and that is actually an understatement. We have seen brand new decks with 3 or 4 layers of oil and anything that lands on it sticks to it, even a poor old bird in one case! Owning this type of wood deck does not have to be so difficult. We begin each and every Ipe deck refinishing project with a thorough evaluation. We look at how the deck has been maintained through the years. We look for the previous coating that may still be on the surface and check to see how long the deck has been left unprotected. Our deck refinishing technique begins with cleaning to remove surface dirt, gray oxidation, previous coating, and any contaminants that have landed on the surface. Strippers and harsh chemicals are almost never used because we do not want to chance runoff ending up damaging plants or hardscape and god forbid ending up in our oceans. Good old fashion cleaning and sanding usually does the trick and will eliminate even the most stubborn coatings. Once the surface is clean, thorough sanding will be employed. Sanding is absolutely necessary because it removes debris that cleaning does not. It also exposes fresh new and smooth raw timber, while opening the grain. The surface will be cleaned with wood brightener to promote color and eliminate contaminants such as mildew and black mold. The wood will be coated with penetrating sealer specifically formulated to Ipe and hardwoods decks. The sealer is applied the old-fashioned way by hand with a brush. This ensures maximum penetration while achieving a consistent application even between boards.
How to Maintain an Ipe Wood Deck
It seems like the maintenance of decks is a taboo subject. Many gather snippets of misleading information they read from the internet or from their general contractor. Where else are you supposed to go, right? Teak Master is here to set the record straight. There are two main factors to determine when it’s time for maintenance, microclimate, and its visual appearance. The various microclimates of Southern California each have their own properties that can break down a protective coating. Climates such as Malibu, La Jolla, or Newport Beach will need maintenance more often because of the constant barrage of moisture and salt air. Inland city climates such as Los Angeles, San Diego, or Calabasas receive constant sun and high heat that can also contribute to weathering. Also, despite manufacturer’s claims on the longevity of any particular product, the only official way to determine the frequency of maintenance is by visual inspection. We formulate a maintenance schedule based on these factors coupled with years of experience servicing Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, and San Diego. We begin our service with a thorough cleaning to remove the accumulation of debris on the surface. The wood may be spot sanded to remove stubborn stains and water spots. Wood brightener will be applied to promote a natural tone and help prevent mold and mildew. The same sealer will be applied by brush to replenish and nourish the wood. The vibrancy will be restored and the surface will be protected for roughly, the same period of time.
The best way to protect your Ipe deck is with an application of an oil base penetrating sealer. The naturally dense cell structure and natural oils in the wood can make the application of the protective coating difficult. Our proprietary blend of Ipe sealer has sophisticated solvents that allow oils to penetrate deep into the surface. The protective coatings also have special UV reflectors called trans oxide pigments that prevent the wood from premature graying and oxidizing. We apply the protective coatings with a special marine-grade brush that holds a large amount of sealer. Each and every board is sealed from end to end to achieve a clean and even look. Brushing the sealer allows us to coat between boards as well. The oils are allowed to penetrate and excess is wiped clean with a rag. We never apply coatings with anything except a good ol’ fashioned brush. Our Ipe sealers are a one-coat system, which means multiple layers are not needed as the wood can only accept so much oil. We never apply varnish or water-base coatings to horizontal surfaces because they will blister and peel and are not maintainable. In fact, varnishes and water-based top coatings are unsafe when wet. The oils will magnify and highlight the natural grain and color of the Ipe wood and will dry matte. Sealers are also available in various tints to slightly change the natural appearance of the wood. Over the course of several months, the oils will naturally dissipate due to weathering characteristics in your area. General maintenance of your deck will be in the range of 4 to 8 months or whenever visually necessary.
Protecting Your Ipe Deck
The damaging effects of weather will immediately attack wood that is unprotected. We recommend protecting your new Ipe deck within 2 weeks of it being built. Allowing 2 weeks before application of the protective coating will give the wood time to acclimate and expand and contract with hot and cold. It will also allow some of the natural oils to dissipate so the protective coating can penetrate. We begin our new deck sealing process by lightly sanding to remove mill glaze and open the grain. We will clean with brightener to eliminate contaminants. The wood will be coated with an oil base penetrating sealer specifically formulated for Ipe decking. The sealer is brushed for a clean and even appearance. Never apply multiple coats to any deck to avoid stickiness and a shiny appearance. The sealer magnifies the natural grain and color of the wood and dries matte.
Being a relatively newer wood type used for decking, Ipe has a plethora of fastening systems. Many of these systems are not as well designed as others and problems may arise. We are experienced with all types of fastening systems and can help correct boards that may be loose or fastened incorrectly. We can also replace severely cupped or checked boards.
Ipe Deck FAQ
- What is the best way to protect an ipe deck?
- Why does my ipe deck have water stains?
- Will pool water damage my ipe deck?
- How often should I maintain my ipe deck?
- Why does my ipe deck fade at various rates?
What is the best way to protect an ipe deck?
Why does my ipe deck have water stains?
Does pool water damage an ipe deck?
How often should I maintain my ipe deck?
What causes an ipe wood deck to fade?
I am as passionate about the services our company provides as the day I started as Teak Masters' only employee in 1997. For 2 decades I have been obsessed with continuing to developing state of the art refinishing techniques and application of the finest cutting edge wood coatings modern science can create. I have training certifications and have been hired as a consultant for esteemed companies such as Benjamin Moore, Arborcoat, Messmers, Dewalt, Porter Cable, TWP, Sikkens, Tropitone, and Brown Jordan.