by Lal Beral
When investing in outdoor furniture, choosing furniture made out of Ipe wood ensures that the purchase is one for a lifetime. This unique tropical hardwood has many characteristics that make it an ideal choice for any product used predominantly in the out of doors. The density of the wood makes it extraordinary and we will cover just a few of the many things that make this a standout.
Ipe, which is pronounced EE-pay, is indigenous to many parts of Central and South America as well as some parts of Asia. The cell structure of the tree is a densely packed arrangement. This dense arrangement of cells makes the tree nearly impervious to insect invasion and this protection remains even after the tree has been processed as lumber. A study done by the United States Naval Research Laboratory has shown that Ipe wood left in the ground untreated has remained without attack by termites for up to 15 years and has received the highest rating possible. The heartwood is very resistant to attack by decay, mold and fungi as well. It last 40 plus years left outside untreated and up to 100 years with a light coating of deck oil applied to the surface. The United States Forest Products Laboratory has given the wood its highest rating as well.
As if those were not reason enough to become a fan of this incredible lumber there are other reasons as well. When used for decking around pools and hot tubs, Ipe wood provides several safety factors. Because the areas naturally stay wet when in use, slippery surfaces become an issue. Many times slip resistant pads are used but often take away from the beauty of the area. Ipe wood comes with its own slip resistance. This decking exceeds the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for Static Coefficient of friction in a wet environment. This is an enormous advantage when it comes to peace of mind about the kids running and playing around the pool. It has does not splinter easily providing another layer of protection because bare feet go hand in hand with swimming.
Choosing Ipe wood over other tropical hardwoods is the environmentally responsible choice as well. Because much of the hardwood imported into the United States comes from managed forests. The use of wood from forests approved by the Forest Stewardship Council encourages sustainable forestry practices that offer the best remedy to exploitive deforestation.
The expense of this tropical hardwood drops dramatically when the lifespan of the wood is considered. This purchase needs to be made only once in a lifetime. Because other woods rot and warp in significantly short periods of time and need to be replaced every few years, it immediately becomes apparent that Ipe outdoor furniture and decking pays for itself several times over just in the first few years of ownership.
From the Atlantic City Boardwalk to hotels on the Las Vegas strip, cities and big business recognize that choosing this exotic wood is a sound financial investment and both places have replaced their boardwalks with this wood.
Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at Everlasting Hardwoods. He writes about Ipe outdoor furniture and other industry specific topics.