Ipe (Tabebuia spp-Lapacho group) – Discover the unique properties that make Iron Woods Ipe an easy choice for any project. Iron Woods brand Ipe naturally resists wear, rot, splintering, termites, fire, chemicals, marine borers and virtually every other threat imaginable. And it does it beautifully. Iron Woods brand Ipe is the benchmark in residential and commercial wood products. Our residential decking is even covered by a 25-year warranty.

This Brazilian species is one of the most stable of all the durable timbers. It dries extremely well with little checking, twisting, or bow. It is widely recognized for its strength and natural resistance to decay. It can be used in ground contact without preservatives or additional treatments. The timber has been tested by the US Navy in a Panama Canal study from 1962 showing Ipe to be one of the top performers in resistance to decay, termites, and borers. Of those tested, it was one of the very few that is readily commercially available. Widely used in commercial exterior construction such as boardwalks, piers and benches, it has recently become the best choice for residential decks due to its low maintenance, attractive color, and extremely smooth surface that has stood the test of time. It is a heavy timber, approximately 69lbs. per cubic foot when dry, generally sinks in water, and is fire resistant. Ipe has many common and trade names including Brazilian Walnut, Bethabarra, Tajibo, Mataverde, Pau Lope, and other trademark names.

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Strength & Durability

Iron Woods Ipe is indeed tough. Ipe from Timber Holdings USA earns the top durability rating of 25 plus years in commercial applications like the Atlantic City boardwalk. Just think how long they will last for you.

Iron Woods Ipe’s amazing performance can be attributed to its incredible density. Ipe weighs as much as 69 pounds per cubic foot. Compare this to domestic woods like Southern Pine at 35 pounds and Redwood at 28 pounds! Timber Holdings USA Iron Woods® Ipe is five times harder. No other wood comes close to its superior strength.

The difference is in the grade

Our Ipe is available in multiple hardwood grades, including:

  • IRON WOODS PREMIUM SELECT – Inspected and Hand Selected for Special Appearance on 4 sides
  • IRON WOODS FEQ (First One Face and Better) – Our Standard Grade; Hand Inspected and Selected. Better than FAS market grate/market.
  • FAS – aka First and Seconds, Common and Better, Prime, #1 Grade, First Quality, A Grade – Represents the Standard Mill Grade
  • COM/SEL – aka Standard, Select, #2, Second Quality or B Grade

For additional information on this species, its availability and our fabrication services, contact Timber Holdings USA

Suitable Applications

Like all of our Iron Woods products, our Ipe is beautiful. It has a smooth, clean surface with a tight, interwoven grain. Its natural luster ranges from a rich russet to a classic reddish-brown hue. This beauty, combined with its unmatched strength and durability, makes Iron Woods® Ipe a sure bet for your residential or commercial deck or any other project you have in mind from bridges, boardwalks and piers to fencing, benches or pavers.


Iron Woods Ipe is available in a full range of decking profiles and dimensional lumber sizes to meet your design needs with lengths up to 20′. Iron Woods Ipe is also available rough sawn and at custom sizes for architectural millwork.

Trim – 1/2×2, 1/2×3, 1/2×4, 1/2×6, 1/2×8, 1×2, 1×3, 1×4, 1×6, 1×8, 5/4×2, 5/4×3, 5/4×4, 5/4×6, 5/4×8,, 5/4×10, 5/4×12
Decking – 1×4, 1×6, 5/4×4, 5/4×6, 2×4, 2×6, 2×8, 2×10, 2×12
Hand Rail – 2×3, 2×4, 2×6
Ballisters – 2×2
Posts – 3×3, 4×4, 6×6
Timbers – Mill Rough Sawn up to 8″x8″ and 6″x12″x20′
Surfaced up to 7.5″x7.5″ and 5.5″x 11.5″x20′
Bright Sawn up to 7.75”x7.75” and 5.75”x11.75”x20’
Custom Profiled to 6”x11.5”

Residential Deck Installation & Maintenance

Iron Woods Ipe decking is supplied as partially dried or kiln dried lumber. Store the wood out of direct sunlight and allow the wood to acclimate and stabilize to the installation area’s humidity before installing.

Some air-dried boards may show marks from sticker or breather strips. Generally these marks and water marks blend in when the sealer is applied. If still visible, they will dissipate during the next year as the deck fades.

We recommend carbide-tipped saw blades and high-quality drills for smooth cuts.

These spans are designed for Ipe to allow for minimal deflection of the deck surface. For maximum spans and engineering data, you can contact us.

Load Size
Board Size 40psf 60psf 100psf
1×4, 1×6 32″ 28″ 24″
5/4×4, 5/4×6 42″ 38″ 32″
2×4, 2×6, 2×8 62″ 56″ 48″

Allow a 1/8″ gap between deck boards for drainage and airflow. End-to-end butt joints are installed without a gap. Decking may shrink approximately 1/16″ on 4″ wide and 1/8″ on 6″ wide decking. In hot or dry areas you may experience additional shrinkage. End-to-end butt joints should be installed without a gap.

Adequate ventilation of the deck is essential for long-term stability and to minimize cupping. Proper air ventilation allows air to flow in from outside the deck area, under the joists and up through the gaps between the deck boards.

For screws, we recommend the high-quality, stainless steel “self-drilling” type. Though coated screws may also be used, using lower quality fasteners can cause black staining. To install Iron Woods Ipe, you must pre-drill a pilot hole and countersink to avoid splitting, even when using self-drilling screws, and then fasten with high quality stainless steel trim head screws, which are available at Iron Woods dealers.

Seal Iron Woods Ipe immediately after installation to reduce the potential for surface checking. If installing over a prolonged period or during hot weather, sealing after each phase is recommended. Be sure to seal all ends immediately after cutting with Anchorseal clear wax end sealer (available from your Iron Woods dealer) in order to reduce end checking.

To maintain a rich walnut color, use a transparent penetrating oil-based sealer with UV inhibitors in a trans-oxide pigmented “tone” and reapply annually or as needed.

If you prefer a silvery-gray appearance, use a clear oil-based sealer for the first coat and then simply let the wood weather to its natural gray color. If you want to return silver-gray wood to the original color, use a “wood brightener.” Careful power washing and/or sanding can help to remove the grayed wood.

“First Coat” Iron Woods may be available by special order. These orders come prefinished with “First Coat” for those customers desiring to take the guesswork out of their first application of wood sealant.

Download a more in-depth, printer-friendly PDF Best Practices Guide.
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How does Iron Woods Ipe compare to other lumber and decking products?

Ipe CCA-Treated Pine Composite Decking
Type Hardwood Softwood Plastic Wood
Maintenance Low High Low
Decay Resistance High Varies Varies
Termite Resistance High Varies Varies
Strength High Medium Low
Movement in Service Low High High
Fire Rating Class High Varies Low
Weight per cu. ft. 69lbs. 35lbs. 60 – 64lbs.
Bending Strength (in psi) 25,400 9,900 – 14,500 1,423 – 4,500
E-modulus 3,140,000 1,170,000 – 1,510,000 175,000 – 480,000
Shear Strength 2,060 1,370 561 – 1,010
Hardness 3,680 690 940 – 1,390

See how it compares to the rest of our line