Ipe Decking

Ipe [ee-pay], also known as Brazilian Walnut or Ironwood is in our opinion the best natural decking material available on the market today.  We started working with Ipe in 2005 and ever since then Ipe (of South American origin) has been our number one selling natural wood product for decks.

Currently, Delta Decks is the largest installer of Ipe decking in Ontario.  Ipe is a very strong and dense wood and working with it is extremely difficult – it cannot be nailed or screwed into and learning to build long lasting decks with this wood and doing it efficiently requires a lot of experience.


Large Ipe installation in Toronto
by the lake Ontario.

Ipe has been used in North America for over 25 years.  Decks made of this wood perform very well in Canadian winters.  Currently in Toronto Ipe is gaining a lot of attention from architects for commercial and residential projects.  Places where you may see Ipe in Toronto include the rooftop terrace of Princess Margaret Hospital, new pharmaceutical buildings at the University of Toronto, a boardwalk by the Ontario Place as well as numerous city benches that were built in the recent years.

Many homeowners choose Ipe over any other natural product, if they are financially able to do so, because Ipe outperforms any other wood product in any category except for cost.


Ipe deck installation inside
a new medical building,
University of Toronto

Ipe decks normally cost 50% more than cedar decks initially, but that cost is then recovered by lower maintenance cost, lower repair costs due to cracking or warping of wood and the longer lifespan.  Most of our clients choose Ipe once they see and feel it.  For those on a more restrained budget, Ipe can be installed on the horizontal surfaces of the deck only, and cedar for railings, skirting and other components that are in a vertical position and are not affected as much by the sun, snow and general wear and tear..

Please see a comparison table below:


In sum, Ipe exceeds all other natural wood products in all categories except for cost.  In comparison to the ultra-low maintenance decking, the only disadvantage of Ipe is the fact that it needs to be oiled every year (much easier than sealing or staining and no sanding!). The advantage of Ipe over ultra-low maintenance products is the fact that it does have a natural and not a plastic look. 

Many, including us at Delta Decks are concerned about the environmental impact of Ipe use for decks.  Research shows that creating pastures for cattle is by far the largest factor in deforestation of the rainforests in South America (exceeds the logging industry by more than a factor of 10!). Importers in North America ensure that mills exporting wood from South America follow all proper sustainable logging practices.


FAQ on Ipe Decking

fIs the deck frame also built out of Ipe?

Deck frame is normally built with pressure treated wood.  Ipe costs about 10 times more than the pressure treated wood and requires more labour, this is the main reason why the framing portion of a deck (normally hidden to the eye) is done with pressure treated wood.

fHow is Ipe attached to the frame of the deck?

We normally use hidden fastening method.  Ipe deck boards come especially pre-grooved for Ipe clip (hidden fastener clip, stainless steel and fiber-glass).  For commercial applications, we normally surface screw the deck boards and then plug them (very time consuming).

fWhat wood profiles are available in Ipe?

Generally same profiles that are available for cedar and pressure treated are available for Ipe also – i.e. 2x4, 2x6, 2x10, 4x4 etc.

fCan one use Ipe for pergolas, privacy screens with lattice and other structures?

Yes!  This is a huge advantage of Ipe over maintenance free products, maintenance free products normally need to be combined with cedar for all overhead applications.

fHow hard is it to oil Ipe?

No prior sanding or washing with special deck washes is required.  The oil is normally applied with a brush, no special tricks or equipment.

fDoes Ipe come in different grades?

Yes, we install only the highest grade of Ipe, completely clear of knots – Pau Lope is the proper name for it.

fIs the Ipe heavy?

Yes, it is much denser than all other products, some pieces are so heavy they sink in water.

fWhy is experience in working with Ipe so important?

There is a lot of tricks that are hard learned lessons and relate to everything from cutting, selecting proper tools, bits to joining the pieces together and figuring out which glue works best and why.

fDo you sell Ipe to the public?

No, we do not sell Ipe to public.  You can visit www.deckstoronto.com and place an order online if you are looking for a place to buy Ipe in Toronto, Ontario.

fDoes Ipe crack, split or warp?

The cracking is very minor and normally occurs in larger profiles – i.e. 4x4 and 2x4.  Splitting and warping is almost zero.

fCan Ipe be installed around chlorine or salt pools?

Yes.  Ipe is extremely dense and does not absorb much of anything.  Furthermore it is not affected by salt or chlorine.

fHow long has Ipe been in use in North America?

Atlantic boardwalk in New York City has been installed over 25 years ago.  Ipe has proven itself to perform extremely well in our climate.

fHow much does an Ipe deck cost?

Ipe deck platforms start at $31/per sq. ft.  An Ipe deck with railings, stairs and skirt normally costs between $50-60 per sq. ft.  This is about 50% higher than cedar and is a little more expensive than the ultra-low maintenance products.

Buy Ipe decking

We have our own Ipe stock and sell material only, please call us at 416 915 2693 for pricing.

Ipe stock