What is Ipe?
Ipe is a Brazilian hardwood and is known by other names such as Ironwood and Brazilian Walnut. It grows primarily in South-Central America and is typically reddish-brown in color. Ipe is an excellent material for building projects because it resists insect damage such as termites, fungal growth and water damage. It is also resistant to warping, splintering, scratching and fire damage. It does not require sealers and will naturally weather to a greyish color. You can preserve the original reddish color by treating it annually.
"It is important to note that you should never varnish Ipe- it will not grab the wood. The wood is too dense for it to absorb."
The qualities of Ipe that make it virtually impervious to insect damage and rot also make it a challenging material to work with. Because it isan incredibly dense hardwood, it is more difficult to cut than typical building materials. You should look for a craftsman that is experienced in using Ipe in order to produce a quality final product.
Although Ipe is one of the most sought after hardwoods, other similar hardwoods are available. These are similar to ipe in their density and durability but have aesthetic qualities that vary from Ipe. Tigerwood (also known as Zebrawood) and Cumaru are popular choices that we have available. Contact us for a consultation to view samples and discuss which wood is right for you!
Due to its density, Ipe is a challenging material to work with. Contractors building with this material should have experience in working with Ipe and references to back it up.
Austin Ipe has the tools and experience in working with this material. We can provide you with references that verify our quality craftsmanship.