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Ipe (ee-pay) - Ironwood

Scientific Name: Tabebuia spp.

detail of western red cedar weathered beam and sealed siding on the backNatural durability, superior performance, incredible beauty. Ipe (ee-pay): is an extremely dense tropical hardwood with excellent durability and performance characteristics. Ipe is the finest quality decking material available, with a distinct patina and fine grain. This fantastic and durable South American hardwood is rated by the US Forest Products Lab for a 25 year life. It is naturally resistant to fire, having a NFPA Class A rating and a UBC Class 1 rating (the same as steel and concrete). This wood resists insects, rot and mildew, and it can be used in ground contact without preservatives or additional treatments. Testing by the US Navy in a 1962 Panama Canal study showed Ipe to be one of the top performers in resistance to decay, termites, and borers. It is perfect for exterior residential and commercial applications such as boatdocks, decking, boardwalks, outdoor furniture, pool decking, foot bridges, etc. It can be sealed to maintain its natural color and beauty, or allowed to weather to a beautiful silver gray color.

This very dense wood requires no sealers or treatments for durability, ever. Because it is one of the earth’s most dense woods, Ipe remains smooth and splinter free. It tends not to absorb water, twist, splinter, or bow like softer woods. This means that if you use Ipe for your deck, you will be able to walk on it barefoot for a long time. Photo: above left: Ipe Boards ready to be installed in a deck. Finishing is optional required for this incredible iron-wood. Other Common Names: Amapa , Cortez , Guayacan , Guayacan polvillo , Flor Amarillo , Greenhart , Madera negra , Tahuari , Ipe , Lapacho negro , Pao Lope.

Ipe Products

Ipe decking picture« Ipe Decking boards, tongue and groove decking : Rot resistant decking materials that you won't have to replace for the life of your mortgage. An investment that pays itself on decreased mainteinance costs and increased enjoyment of your decks.

IPE flooring products picture« Ipe Flooring Rich, dark, and durable flooring that will last years. Recomended for high traffic areas this wood takes an incredible amount of abuse, conserving it's looks and integrity.

Additional Ipe Products:

Interior Paneling, Boards .

Visit any of our picture galleries:

Ipe in application, Ipe raw lumber

Available Grades

Note: all pictures are meant for a general grade description.  If you want to see a more defined grade image, please let us know.  We can email you pictures and grade rules.

Ipe Clear Grade sample
  1. Clear - Among the top quality grades available, BCL only procures clears gardes of Ipe lumber. Please note that the color of this sample may vary according to your monitor's settings.
  2. Better - Ocasssionally we are able to secure shipments of lower grade Ipe, please inquire about our current inventory status.


Ipe may be sealed upon installation to reduce the potential of checking. Penetrating oil based finishes are used with Ipe by most installers. Excessive application of oil based sealers may create a sticky surface and will not enhance or extend their performance. To maintain and keep the rich natural walnut-like color of Ipe, use a pigmented, penetrating oil sealer with UV inhibitors. Reapply as needed, or, if you wish the natural weathering to a silver gray, apply a penetrating oil based sealer during installation and do not reseal...ever.

Handling and Storage

Ipe should be stored out of direct sunlight and allowed to stabilize and acclimate to the installation environment humidity levels before installation. It is best to allow for groundside ventilation in the design, as proper air circulation is necessary for long term stability of Ipe. When installing, allow 1/16” gap between the deck boards for circulation of air. When Ipe is fully seasoned, shrinkage of approximately 1/16” on 4” wide boards to 1/8” on 6” wide boards may be expected.


Scientific Name: Hymenaea courbaril

The potter house projectOther common names: Cuapinol, Guapinol (Mexico), Guapinol (Central America), Locust, Kawanari (Guyana), Rode lokus (Surinam), Algarrobo (Spanish America), Jatahy, Jatoba (Brazil). Distribution Southern Mexico, throughout Central America and the West Indies to northern Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru. The tree's best development is on ridges or slopes and high riverbanks. Jatoba trees may grow to a height of 130 ft with trunk diameters of 5 to 6 ft; usually less than 100 ft high with diameters of 2 to 4 ft. Boles are well formed, often clear for 40 to 80 ft, and basally swollen or buttressed in large trees. Heartwood is salmon red to orange brown when fresh, becoming russet to reddish brown when seasoned; often marked with dark streaks. Sapwood is usually wide; white, gray, or pinkish. Texture is medium to rather coarse; grain mostly interlocked; golden luster; without distinctive odor or taste. Janka side hardness at 12% moisture content 2,350 to 3,290 lb. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 230 in.-lb (5/8-in. specimen). The wood is rated as slightly difficult to air-dry; it seasons at a fast to moderate rate with only slight checking and warp. Kiln schedule T3-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T3-C1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 4.5%; tangential 8.5%; volumetric 12.7%-values are low for a wood of this density. Moderately difficult to saw and machine largely because of its high density, but except in planing it can be machined to a smooth surface. The wood is somewhat difficult to plane because of the interlocked grain. It is easy to glue and finish satisfactorily; steam-bending properties comparable to white oak. Laboratory evaluations rate the wood very resistant to brown-rot and white-rot fungi; actual field exposure trials also rate the wood as very durable. Heartwood is also rated very resistant to dry-wood termites; little resistance to marine borers. Heartwood is not treatable using open-tank or pressure-vacuum systems. Sapwood, however, is responsive