Ever considered replacing or putting in a new dock but didn’t know which type of decking was best to use in the Florida Keys? Check out our video with our friend Randy Whitesides at Neptune Atlantic Boat Lifts to help make your decision a little easier & find out why IPE Wood is your best option!
Here are some facts about IPE Wood:
- IPE Wood is also called Brazilian Walnut. it is a very hard, very dense wood. Harder than Oak, it resembles and performs like Teak.
2. IPE Wood is so hard, that all screw holes should be pre-drilled prior to installation of the Deck screws. While some dock builders use “Blind Clips”, we do not use or recommend them in the Keys.
3. IPE Wood can be left natural, which results in an appealing, soft gray look. The natural look is very similar in color to natural Teak. For maximum beauty, nothing is more beautiful than a IPE Deck that has been oiled with a High quality outdoor hardwood oil. This give a rich, dark finish and highlight the extraordinary grain of IPE Wood.
4. The best feature of IPE Wood is that you can easily switch from natural to oiled finish with no ill effects. IPE Wood can go many years with no maintenance, and with a pressure wash, and fresh oil, be back to its, natural beauty.
5. As with all Docks in the Keys, all components should be of high quality Stainless Steel. Sub-Stringers should never be bolted to pilings with Galvanized hardware. all Stringers, should be installed with Stainless Steel Hangers, nails and Screws. All framing lumber should be Pressure Treated. High quality installations require that stringers are planed plumb and flush before decking.
6. There are three main Choices for decking: Pressure treated Pine/Spruce, Composite (also called plastic Lumber) and IPE Wood.
7. Pressure Treated softwoods are the least desirable as they are prone to splintering, scalloping, twisting, and cupping and have a relatively short life span.
8. Composites are made from a variety of plastic materials. Despite claims to the contrary (read the fine print), these products ALL fade in the Keys Tropics. They are not as strong, and typically require closer Stringer spacing to create a quality Dock. Composites are susceptible to petrochemical staining from Mats, Insect Repellent, Suntan Lotion and Oil products used on boats. Longevity, while much longer than softwoods, is still an unresolved question.
9. IPE Wood is one of the hardest woods available for construction. It’s life is estimated at 20-40 years. It can be left natural, or oiled, and it can go back and forth with little effect. It can also be sanded several times in its life, bringing it back to near new condition. It requires skilled craftsmen to install, and inexperienced IPE woodworkers often have problems obtaining a quality finished product.
While Size, shape, etc. cause variations in costs, a Composite Dock is approximately 20% more than a Pressure Treated Softwood Dock. An IPE Dock is approximately 30% higher.
Pressure washing typically costs $1.00 to $1.25 per Sq. Ft., and Oiling with a top quality Hardwood oil is $1.25-1.50 per Sq. Ft., and is typically required twice a year.