Wood decks create a traditional look and feel and wood is a common decking material, but wood comes with unique problems and concerns that can create more work long after the deck is installed. Many different species of wood can be used to construct a deck, but ipe deck tiles are often used to create wood decks because of their hardness, durability, and beauty.
Ipe pavers can be used as rooftop deck material, often as interlocking wood tiles. They have their advantages, but ipe wood decking tiles also have significant disadvantages. It’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages when deciding if ipe wood pavers are the right choice for your project.
Ipe Deck Tile Advantages
Stronger Than Other Types of Wood
Ipe is one of the strongest woods and falls in the top 10 hardest woods in the world. It is also incredibly dense which makes it durable and long-lasting as a deck flooring material. Its hardness and strength also reduces contraction and expansion that occurs due to weather changes and exposure to moisture.
Wood has a natural beauty that is difficult to replicate with other materials. Natural variations in color and grain create a beautiful deck with natural warmth and charm.
Ipe’s hardness is a natural deterrent for insects as they can’t easily bore into the wood fibers. Its natural density also makes it rot and fire resistant.
Ipe wood decking tiles can last up to 50 years with less maintenance than other forms of wood decking, like pressure-treated wood. If a board needs to be replaced, the natural variations in ipe wood decking colors will make the replacement board less noticeable, to further extend the life of the deck.
Ipe Deck Tile Disadvantages
Can Require Special Tools
Wood decking can warp, so to fix it, special tools are often needed. A BoWrench or other wood straightening tool can help restore ipe wood decking to working order and help with installation. Because of its hardness, special tools may also be needed when securing the decking with screws. Pre-drilling and countersinking is also necessary to screw into ipe.
Board Color Varies
Natural variations in color can create a beautifully natural deck surface, so if you’re seeking continuity across the deck, these variations won't create the look you need.
Boards Should Be Acclimated to New Climates
When installing ipe wood deck tiles that come from another climate (i.e. you live in Montana and the boards are shipped from Georgia), you should leave the boards outside at the jobsite for 10-14 days to become acclimated to the new climate before installation. This can increase the time it takes to complete the project and should be accounted for, especially if it is part of a larger project.
Requires Oil Treatment to Maintain Color
While ipe doesn’t require as much maintenance as standard wood or pressure-treated boards, it should be oiled to maintain its natural wood color. Using a UV oil will protect it from sun damage. Without oil, the finish will weather into a grey color. This can be desirable depending on the look of your home and the needs of your deck, but for those that don’t want to do continued maintenance, ipe may not be the best choice.
Cupping Is a Concern
Ipe, like all wood, is prone to cupping if moisture evaporates at different rates on different parts of the boards. When moisture evaporates at different rates, some areas of the boards contract while others expand or don’t contract at the same rate.
Precautions can be taken to lessen this risk — proper ventilation, proper moisture drainage, etc — but there is no guarantee that ipe wood decking won’t cup and create an uneven walking surface and poor aesthetic.
A Better Alternative to Ipe Wood Deck Tiles
To achieve a beautiful deck without the problems associated with ipe pavers, choose composite pavers. Composite pavers from Aspire are made from up to 95% post-consumer recycled rubber and plastics to create a durable and long-lasting deck paver without depleting natural resources. Diverting material from landfills to create composite deck tiles is a sustainable way to help the environment while also creating a functional and beautiful outdoor space. Composite pavers are also recyclable at the end of their life, and scraps from construction are also recyclable.
Aspire Pavers are lightweight and easy to install with our interlocking paver system and easy to use installation grids. Our pavers don’t require special tools to cut or secure them, unlike ipe pavers that require predrilling and countersinking. Composite pavers can be cut to size with a standard jigsaw or miter saw and if they need to be secured to the installation grid, standard adhesives can be used.
Unlike ipe pavers, composite pavers don’t require any maintenance over the course of their life and are fade, stain, and crack resistant. They come with a 20-year limited warranty and a lifetime no crack guarantee in residential applications, so that you can install your deck and enjoy it rather than worry about ongoing maintenance.
Contact the experts at Aspire today to explore our durable and long-lasting composite paver options.