Ipe is a popular hardwood used for decking because of its many attractive properties. It is naturally resistant to insects and rot, and its hardness makes it very durable. It is also slip-resistant and can last from 40-75 years depending on the environment.
Ipe is a very low maintenance choice for decking, but that does not mean it shouldn’t be maintained. Regular cleaning and inspections should be done to keep it looking its best for years to come.
If you are in the market for a brand new ipe deck, please visit our Ipe Decking and Siding service page to learn more about premium lumber products we have available for you at Lee Roy Jordan Lumber.
Make sure you have all the materials needed before getting started, and check to make sure weather won’t hamper your efforts. You will need a broom and mop, as well as any specific cleaning products you prefer, which are discussed in more detail below.
You may also want a vacuum, putty knife, and cleaning rag for deeper cleaning. You will also want to make sure that a hose and any preferred attachments are handy and ready for use.
You should sweep your ipe wood deck with a broom weekly to remove dirt, dust, leaves and other debris. Buildup can prevent proper draining, which can lead to discoloration.
Spray off any mud or spills to keep the surface clean and dry.
Once a month, a more thorough cleaning and inspection should be done. Remove all furniture, decor, and other items from the deck. Be sure to remove any grilling equipment as well, and look for grease splatters and buildup.
Once the deck is clear, sweep well. Then check seams and corners for debris that may be blocking drainage and circulation. Remove any buildup with a putty knife. Then use a vacuum, such as a shop-vac, to fully remove it from the deck.
Check for rust spots anywhere metal furniture or objects have been sitting. Be sure to remove any items that have begun to rust on the bottom to keep them from harming the deck’s surface.
HERE is a helpful video on how to wash a wood deck.
The deck can be mopped with a bleach solution to remove any remaining dirt. Mix a ⅓ cup of bleach to a gallon of warm water. Be sure to rinse well after mopping. Cleaning with bleach is also a good way to remove pollen or algae that may collect seasonally.
Your ipe deck can also be scrubbed with a brush with the bleach solution, or with a wood cleaner like Murphy’s oil soap. Rinse with clean water to remove any remaining cleaner.
Allow the deck to completely dry before replacing items. Consider changing the arrangement up a few times a year to help the deck wear and fade evenly.
Our Seasonal Deck Maintenance Guide has a wealth of helpful information about seasonal cleaning and upkeep.
Once a year, do a complete inspection of your deck. After removing items and doing a cleaning, look for areas that might need a light sanding. If sanding is required, use an orbital sander with 50 grit sandpaper. Be sure to vacuum well after any sanding.
If you are allowing your decking to fade to its natural silvery color, resealing isn’t required. If you want to keep the wood’s natural reddish amber hue, the deck should be resealed annually or every two years.
Deck looking a bit shabby. Let us teach you How to Restore a Wood Deck.
If you choose to reseal, pick a time when the weather will be clear and dry. After cleaning and sanding, use an oil based sealer like walnut or teak oil made for natural hardwood. Read and follow instructions carefully.
Wipe up any excess oil with a soft cloth and check for drips in between boards. Allow to dry for at least 24 hours and inspect to be sure it is completely dry before replacing items on the deck.
With a little effort, your deck can remain beautiful year to year. Careful cleaning and maintenance can be rewarding and even enjoyable when you see the results of your work.