Best 4 Step Guide For Cleaning & Treating IPE Lumber
Although it may seem like a tedious task at first, learning to clean and treat Ipe lumber is fun, easy and profitable. Plus, when the job is done, you’ll feel as proud as any dedicated homeowner does.
All decks, regardless of whether they are made of hardwood, treated wood, or composite decking, can hardly avoid, at least in part, possible external effects, such as sun, rain, leaves, dirt, mold or insects.
But when it comes to Ipe wood, such crucial factors as traffic, termites and fungal infestation have no effect on the Brazilian walnut, which is also what Ipe is called.
As for sun exposure, aging seems to be an obvious benefit, which will turn your Ipe lumber into a beautiful gray patina, naturally. In addition, its durability is unbeatable. Ipe lumber is unaffected by the elements, due to its incredible density and practically zero moisture absorption.
This amazing hardwood has many extraordinary properties that makes it the perfect lumber for decks, cladding, pillars and for all other structures needed in construction. Here at Brazilian Lumber, we love Ipe, so we want to share with you what makes it a truly remarkable wood:
- Weather, mold, rot, fire, decay and insect damage resistance
- 3,510 lb Janka hardness score
- Ideal for indoor and outdoor projects
- Can last up to 75 years with regular cleaning and annual maintenance
Ipe lumber has a rich brown color with red and amber undertones. The boards tend to have many color variations, which means patterns can be attractive and may appear less obvious when you need to replace them.
It has a very dense, interlocking grain, which can be straight or wavy. The result is both attractive and slip-resistant.
Since this is high quality lumber, maintenance is an important requirement that, as long as it is good, can extend the life of your wood and keep your deck in great condition for over 70 years. Luckily it’s not difficult, it’s not expensive, but it’s necessary.
Remember that although Ipe wood is incredibly easy to maintain, it doesn’t mean that it is maintenance free. Follow the tips below, and we promise that you will give your Ipe lumber the perfect maintenance treatment.
Best Tips For Cleaning and Treating Ipe Lumber:
Ipe lumber is popular with homeowners everywhere, especially because it is easy to conserve. You don’t need to clean your Ipe deck once a day, just sweeping it once a week is enough to prevent dirt from building up. First, we will give you 4 tips for easy and good cleaning, and afterwards we will detail each step:
- Sweep your Ipe deck once a week with an outdoor broom
- Scrub and wipe your Ipe lumber
- Let the lumber of your deck dry
- Give your lumber a proper maintenance
- Sweep your Ipe lumber: Excessive debris can cause stains or water accumulation, leaving scratches and unsightly marks. Therefore, once a month, you should check for proper drainage and ventilation. For this step, pay attention to these recommendations:
- Start by removing garden furniture from the surface
- Next, examine the cracks for leaves of pine cones gathering between the boards. If dirt builds up, use a scraper or spatula to clean it off. Instead of sweeping again, use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt.
- After vacuuming, take your garden hose and rinse the deck.
If you need to remove pollen or algae from your Ipe lumber, use a mild cleaning solution to make your decks spotless. You can also prepare a household cleaning solution, which will remove these elements without damaging your patio. Mix one quart of bleach in one gallon of warm water, and you will get the right solution.
2. Scrub and wipe your Ipe lumber: Use a brush to apply your preferred cleaning solution to the boards. Then rinse the entire decking again to make sure there is no residue left on the wood.
3. Let the Ipe lumber of your deck dry: Once the cover has been cleaned and pressure washed, allow at least 24 hours before oiling.
4. Give your Ipe lumber proper maintenance: Although cleaning helps the Ipe decking retain its natural properties, you should also perform annual maintenance to ensure the durability of the lumber. The following is a list of the materials you need to properly treat your Ipe wood:
- An oil-based sealer for natural hardwood, like walnut oil
- A 220 medium-grit sandpaper
- A vacuum
- Protection gloves
- A natural bristle brush
After proper cleaning and thorough drying, which is actually how good maintenance begins, it is time to sand and apply the oil base. Why? Because this will help prevent the color from fading, keeping its original tone.
For proper sanding you can use 220 grit sandpaper, then wipe the surface with a damp cloth or sponge, this will improve the texture and allow the lumber to better absorb the oil. As for the material, it is recommended to use garnet to remove scratches and prepare the surface for finishing.
Now it’s time to oil it up. Just remember that if you oil your Ipe lumber regularly, it won’t need to be refinished.
If you choose to keep your Ipe in silver, all you have to do is seal the deck during installation. And don’t worry, the bleaching process doesn’t affect the structure of the lumber.
In addition, vacuuming and rinsing the dust is a must. For better penetration, consider using a pre-sealer to open up the wood. You can find all the products you need here with us.
Apply the sealer with a lint-free cloth or natural bristle brush. Then, use a dry cloth to remove excess oil. Finally, allow the product to dry for 24 hours.
Final Recommendations For Cleaning and Treating Ipe Lumber:
- Before cleaning the Ipe deck, make sure that the weather does not hold any unpleasant surprises. Choose a sunny day, when the air is dry and the chances of rain are minimal.
- Pressure-washing your Ipe is a tricky subject. Some experts say it’s harmful, while others advise that it’s okay. If you choose to pressure wash the deck, make sure the setting is no higher than 1200psi.
- If you oil your Ipe deck to maintain its color and protect it from UV fading, we recommend that you do so once a year.
There you have it! By now, you should know everything there is to know on how to clean Ipe lumber and help it maintain its natural shine. Do not forget to follow a simple cleaning routine and do an annual checkup.