Ipe – Lapacho
Ipe or Lapacho is the hardest wood used for outdoor terraces and other wood decking applications.
Lapacho, or Paraguayan Ipe, is an incredibly durable wood. Its dense cell structure serves as a natural deterrent to insects, decay and moulds, making it a very popular choice for flooring. More than just durable, Ipe wood is also very pleasing to the eye. It is light to dark olive-brown in colour, with yellowish-grey or grey-brown tones. With a class A fire rating, Ipe falls within the same class as steel. If you are looking for durability, safety and beauty, Ipe is an excellent choice. Ipe grows in Central and South America, reaching a height of up to 50 m and a diameter of up to 170 cm. The wood is a dark olive-brown colour, often with beautiful light or dark streaks. It has a fine grain structure and a high oil content. Even when air-dried, it is heavier than water. It is recommended to wet the wood periodically during long dry periods to prevent it from cracking.
Ipe or Lapacho is a very durable and hard wood. It is resistant to rot and termites and has the same fire rating as concrete and steel. In addition to its exceptional hardness, strength, weight, density and durability, Ipe is also one of the most stable wood species available. However, Ipe requires kiln drying in order to avoid excessive shrinkage after installation. Ipe’s hardness makes it very difficult to work with tools. It is normal for the wood to develop tiny cracks when exposed to the sun. Since these cracks do not affect the quality of the wood, they are not covered under warranty. The best Ipe wood is imported from the Brazilian Amazon.
Ipe is great for flooring, piers, docks, railway ties and model building. It is an excellent choice if you are looking for a hard wood with excellent impact resistance. The wood is at least three times as hard as oak and is highly durable and abrasion-resistant, making it suitable for even the most heavily used areas and outdoor decks. It is also highly resistant to fire and rot. Ipe decking has a life span of over 40 years without maintenance, even when in direct ground contact.
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