New Ipe deck

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Forum topic by mjheck posted 06-08-2017 03:10 AM 722 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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37 posts in 1953 days

06-08-2017 03:10 AM

My brother is planning to rebuild his outdoor deck. It is made of 2×6 cedar now and is shot. I have built Tigerwood and Massaranduba decks at my place and am encouraging him to go with Ipe. His existing framework(which is still good) is on 24” centers and he would be using 5/4×4 Ipe decking. His concern is that he has been told he should do it on 16” centers which would involve a lot more work. My experience with my decks(both 10 +years old is that 24”OC is plenty adequate for these Brazilian hardwoods(full 1” thick). I get no flex anywhere. The framework is 2×6 pressure treated hemlock sitting on 4×8 stringers. Any thoughts out there.

2 replies so far

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Matt Rogers

112 posts in 2773 days

#1 posted 06-08-2017 11:36 AM

You will be fine as long as you use the 5/4. It is quite stiff. If you are using the decking for hidden fasteners that already has a groove cut in both sides, you could make a spline that you slip in to connect the pieces and limit the flex of any individual board when you step on it. Just rip a piece of the decking into those strips.

Everyone seems to hate on Ipe, but I have never had any trouble with it. Yes, you have to pre-drill everything. Yes, you get nasty splinters that get instantly infected. Yes, it is super heavy to pick up. But once it is laid, you never have to touch it. I am actually working my way through a stack of 3/4” decking that used to be someones deck and I bought it for $200. Once through the planer (spiral carbide head) and the surface is just like new and even at 11/16”, it is perfectly fine at 16” spacing. The only difference is that I have some extra screw holes from the previous installation.

I am now just getting to making shower walls for a walk-in shower out of the stuff. I will run it through the shaper to put a shiplap profile on it, plug the existing screw holes with 1/4” ipe plugs, and install it horizontally. I know that I will probably have it scrub it down at least once a year. It is over a membrane waterproofing and will be installed like a rain-screen on vertical battens. I can waterproof the screws in the battens as they penetrate the membrane and then all the ipe screws will only be penetrating the battens and not into the membrane. It will also be like a rain-screen so that the only water getting past will be the occasional drip or two.

-- Matt Rogers, and

View CaptainSkully's profile


1613 posts in 4362 days

#2 posted 06-10-2017 02:10 AM

You’ll be fine as long as you run the decking square to the joists. DO NOT do a herringbone pattern where the decking is 45° to the joists, which elongates the span by 41%.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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