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IPE Decking and Stairs

Ipe (ee-pay) - Ironwood

IPE (ee-pay) lumber comes with natural durability, superior performance, incredible beauty. It is an extremely dense tropical hardwood with excellent durability and performance characteristics. Ipe is the finest quality decking material available, with a distinct patina and fine grain. This fantastic and durable South American hardwood is rated by the US Forest Products Lab for a 25 year life. It is naturally resistant to fire, having a NFPA Class A rating and a UBC Class 1 rating (the same as steel and concrete). This wood resists insects, rot and mildew, and it can be used in ground contact without preservatives or additional treatments. 

Testing by the US Navy in a 1962 Panama Canal study showed Ipe to be one of the top performers in resistance to decay, termites, and borers. It is perfect for exterior residential and commercial applications such as boatdocks, decking, boardwalks, outdoor furniture, pool decking, foot bridges, etc. It can be sealed to maintain its natural color and beauty, or allowed to weather to a beautiful silver gray color.

Scientific Name: Tabebuia spp.

IPE Products In Application

This very dense wood requires no sealers or treatments for durability, ever. Because it is one of the earth’s most dense woods, Ipe remains smooth and splinter free. It tends not to absorb water, twist, splinter, or bow like softer woods. This means that if you use Ipe for your deck, you will be able to walk on it barefoot for a long time. Finishing is optional required for this incredible iron-wood. 

If you need more than flooring or decking and don’t see what you are looking for don’t hesitate to email us and request more information. We offer customized quotes and competitive options.


Rich, dark, and durable flooring that will last years. Recomended for high traffic areas this wood takes an incredible amount of abuse, conserving it's looks and integrity.


Rot resistant decking materials that you won't have to replace for the life of your mortgage. An investment that pays itself on decreased mainteinance costs and increased enjoyment of your decks.

Available Grades

Note: all pictures are meant for a general grade description.  
If you want to see a more defined grade image, please let us know.  We can email you pictures and grade rules.

  • Clear – Among the top quality grades available, BCL only procures clears gardes of Ipe lumber. Please note that the color of this sample may vary according to your monitor’s settings.
  • Better – Ocasssionally we are able to secure shipments of lower grade Ipe, please inquire about our current inventory status.

Raw Lumber Product Chart

Surfaced One Side and Two Edges (S1S2E)
Surfaced For Sides (S4S)
Rough Cut
Paneling & Patterns
Tongue and groove
Double Flush

Characteristics Of Ipe

Density (oven-dry): 66 pcf
Specific Gravity (oven dry): 0.85
Durability: Most durable species, resistant to rot, termites decay and fungi. Natural Durability Class: 1
Finishing: Does not take finishes well, treatment unnecessary.
Flame spread rating:
10 min.: 0
30 min.: 5
Smoke development values (10 min.): 3
Fuel contribution: (10 min.): 0
NFPA Class: A
UBC Class: 1
Smoke developed classification: 98
K value (12% mc):
R value: in. of thickness
Stability: Very stable, shrinkage green to oven dry tangential: 8,0% – radial: 6,6%
Workability: Difficult to work with hand tools, blunting effect on cutting edges, hard to nail.

Cutting and Drilling

Premium carbide tipped saw blades and high quality drills are recommended for smooth cuts due to the hardness of Ipe. Pre-drill a pilot hole and countersink when using screws as fasteners.

End Sealing

Ends should be sealed immediately after cutting using a clear aqueous wax end sealer to reduce checking.


Coated or galvanized steel fasteners may be used, but they tend to have a shorter life span and may cause staining of the wood. 

Stainless steel screws are considered the best and they will also eliminate potential chemical reactions or staining at the fastener location. Pre-drilling is highly recommended due to extreme hardness.


Ipe may be sealed upon installation to reduce the potential of checking. Penetrating oil based finishes are used with Ipe by most installers. Excessive application of oil based sealers may create a sticky surface and will not enhance or extend their performance. To maintain and keep the rich natural walnut-like color of Ipe, use a pigmented, penetrating oil sealer with UV inhibitors. Reapply as needed, or, if you wish the natural weathering to a silver gray, apply a penetrating oil based sealer during installation and do not reseal…ever.

Handling and Storage

Ipe should be stored out of direct sunlight and allowed to stabilize and acclimate to the installation environment humidity levels before installation. It is best to allow for groundside ventilation in the design, as proper air circulation is necessary for long term stability of Ipe. When installing, allow 1/16” gap between the deck boards for circulation of air. When Ipe is fully seasoned, shrinkage of approximately 1/16” on 4” wide boards to 1/8” on 6” wide boards may be expected.

Other Common Names for IPE: Amapa , Cortez , Guayacan , Guayacan polvillo , Flor Amarillo , Greenhart , Madera negra , Tahuari , Ipe , Lapacho negro , Pao Lope.


Scientific Name: Hymenaea courbaril

Heartwood is salmon red to orange brown when fresh, becoming russet to reddish brown when seasoned; often marked with dark streaks. Sapwood is usually wide; white, gray, or pinkish. Texture is medium to rather coarse; grain mostly interlocked; golden luster; without distinctive odor or taste. Janka side hardness at 12% moisture content 2,350 to 3,290 lb. 

Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 230 in.-lb (5/8-in. specimen). The wood is rated as slightly difficult to air-dry; it seasons at a fast to moderate rate with only slight checking and warp. Kiln schedule T3-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T3-C1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 4.5%; tangential 8.5%; volumetric 12.7% – values are low for a wood of this density.

Features of Jatoba

Density (oven-dry): 57 lb/ft3
Specific Gravity (oven dry): 0.71 lbs/cu.ft.
Durability: Very durable species
Finishing: Paints and stains well.
Flame spread rating: N/A
Smoke developed classification: N/A
Stiffness: 2422 per 1000/psi
Bending strength : 21020 psi(Dry)
Stability: Very stable and not subject to dimensional changes once dried.
Workability: Difficult to saw and plane, easy to finish and glue.

Moderately difficult to saw and machine largely because of its high density, but except in planing it can be machined to a smooth surface.

The wood is somewhat difficult to plane because of the interlocked grain. It is easy to glue and finish satisfactorily; steam-bending properties comparable to white oak. Laboratory evaluations rate the wood very resistant to brown-rot and white-rot fungi; actual field exposure trials also rate the wood as very durable. Heartwood is also rated very resistant to dry-wood termites; little resistance to marine borers. Heartwood is not treatable using open-tank or pressure-vacuum systems. Sapwood, however, is responsive

The tree’s best development is on ridges or slopes and high riverbanks. Jatoba trees may grow to a height of 130 ft with trunk diameters of 5 to 6 ft; usually less than 100 ft high with diameters of 2 to 4 ft. Boles are well formed, often clear for 40 to 80 ft, and basally swollen or buttressed in large trees.

Other common names: Cuapinol, Guapinol (Mexico), Guapinol (Central America), Locust, Kawanari (Guyana), Rode lokus (Surinam), Algarrobo (Spanish America), Jatahy, Jatoba (Brazil). Distribution Southern Mexico, throughout Central America and the West Indies to northern Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru.

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