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One of the most popular wood choices seen throughout modern architecture is ipe decking. When you browse through popular architecture and home magazines, you are bound to see many wonderful homes. These homes tend to feature the latest in technology, architectural design concepts, as well as, innovative ways to use various construction materials. Also, as Green Building gets increasingly popular, you will also see how home designers and builders are utilizing eco-friendly materials.
There are many advantages to choosing ipe wood in modern architecture. Ipe decking:
1) Has a clean and sophisticated look
2) Provides great versatility in many applications
3) Is the best “all-in-one” wood available
4) Can be aged to a silvery patina
5) Can keep its reddish-brown color with deck oil
When used as a decking application, ipe (pronounced ee-pay) wood is truly the best “all in one” material. This exotic hardwood doesn’t require chemical treatments and naturally repels insects. This characteristic is available because ipe has an extremely tight grain and natural oils. The combination of those factors makes the wood so dense that it won’t float when placed in water. The density of ipe also means that it won’t have the same problems that other lesser grade decking materials are prone to. Ipe is very resistant to mildew, mold, fungus, wood rot and decay.
You can also see designers and architects using ipe wood in various other applications including, siding, flooring, sunrooms, and porches. It’s also not uncommon to see an ipe rainscreen covering a whole building. This versatility provides designers with new and unique ways to use hardwood. Online magazines such as The Contemporist and classic magazines like Home & Design showcase ipe even in fencing, doors, and interior paneling.
Another great reason why modern architects and designers choose ipe is due to the richness of its color. Depending on the application and the designer’s stylistic vision, ipe wood can be allowed to mature seamlessly into a silvery patina. This weathered look makes outdoor areas appear regal and yet still very sharp. Remember, the characteristics of ipe; density, tight grain, and natural oils. This combination keeps ipe from having knots and slivers. So, while the wood ages, it maintains that sharp appeal. Also, if a modern home’s design uses a lot of metals, a silver ipe deck would be a nice and fitting compliment. Allowing ipe to age isn’t the only choice.
The luster of its natural reddish-brown color can be treated with deck oil. This simple ipe decking maintenance can ensure that the warm colors remain for many years to come. Using a deck oil to treat ipe will also boost its lifespan due to the increased protection from ultraviolet rays. Decking oil also offers increased protection from water damage.
Ultimately, it’s because of these characteristics that ipe has earned a reputation as the best wood for the money. Not only is ipe one of the most feature-rich woods, but it has also been recognized as a safe decking choice as well. The National Fire Protection Agency has given this hardwood the same Class A rating that both steel and concrete also have for fire spread!
If you’re going to choose ipe decking for your home, be sure that you’re using a lumber company that practices and promotes sustainable forestry. Ask, “Do you buy wood from managed forests?” Also be sure to ask, “Are you certified by the Forest Stewardship Council?” If the answer to both of these questions is yes, you can rest assured that you’re buying the best wood for your home and that it has been sustainably harvested.