Ipe: A Dense, Weather-Resistant Hardwood Option for Your Dock

Ipe boardwalk at Walt Disney World

Ipe boardwalk at Walt Disney World

This article features one of our clients, the J. Gibson McIlvain company. Visit them online at www.mcilvain.com or call them toll free at (800) 638-9100.

As the fall days end, it is time to close up your favorite summer spot, be it your favorite fishing shack or lake house. As you close up your summer spot, you may want to take a look around at structures that are in need of replacement. The fall can be a great time to replace structures such as a deck or boating dock because the price of Ipe short boards may be lower and the availability/quality may be better.

Because Ipe is a top choice for decking, many also use it to replace a boating dock due to its incredible density. In fact, Ipe is one of the densest hardwoods available, ranging about three times harder than Cedar. Ipe has Class A fire ratings similar to concrete or steel, meaning it will withstand a fire much longer than a typical softwood. While Ipe is very resistant to moisture effects such as mold or swelling, many choose it because of its further resistance to wood eating/damaging insects.

Fresh Ipe decking

Fresh Ipe decking

Although Ipe is known for its density, hardness, and weather resistant features, the great thing about Ipe is that it is a beautiful wood that will produce a stunning dock. Ipe can range in colors from reddish-brown to a yellow/olive brown to even a dark brown/black. Typically Ipe has a fine to medium texture.

Another great feature of Ipe is that while it will weather to a steel patina color, the wood will not splinter, swell, or crack. After a few years, the children will still be able to walk barefoot down the dock without fear of getting painful splinters. Furthermore, you can rest easy that your dock will not have large cracks that will require maintenance or even replacement. Since Ipe isn’t super oily, it will not be a slippery wood, meaning less chances of a fall off the dock or children slipping on the dock while running.

Deck made with Ipe

Deck made with Ipe

While some may be tempted to save money and maintenance time by building a dock made of composite wood, it is important to consider where your dock will be sitting every day: around water. When composite wood lies in water every day, problems such as mold, decay, peeling, or swelling are bound to appear. Because your dock is sure to take a daily beating as the kids run and jump off of it or you drag fishing gear down it, trust that a quality Ipe product will be able to withstand the daily pressures of human use and weather. Many contractors believe a quality built Ipe dock can last upwards of 25 years or even longer if properly maintained. In fact, Ipe was used for the famous New York Coney Island boardwalk, and currently, much of the wood being replaced has been repurposed for other uses.

As for the price, the more linear feet you buy of Ipe, the better the price will be. Because docks can be built from short 4-5’ Ipe boards, these products are usually a by-product of a primary product from the sawmill. These short Ipe boards are usually between $0.50 and $1.50 cheaper per linear foot. If you are considering replacing that old dock before winter comes, J. Gibson McIlvain frequently has many pieces of 5/4×6 or 1×6 dock boards in 4-5′ lengths. Known for its quality and responsible harvesting practices, J.Gbson McIlvain takes great care in sourcing, grading, and supplying the perfect hardwood for your dock project.

Ipe in the J Gibson McIlvain lumberyard

Ipe in the J Gibson McIlvain lumberyard

J. Gibson McIlvain Company

Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.

As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums. Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.

Leave a Comment

*

three × 1 =