Ipe finishes

wildebloemJanuary 8, 2010

We installed an ipe balcony/deck a few months ago. Some of you helped with information that was wonderful. Thank you again.

We were told by the local supplier that Penofin was the only recommended finished and we used it.

The first 5' or so of the balcony are exposed but built into the house and completely protected from rain (patio doors are set those 5' into the wall). The second part, 8' in all, is partly under a generous overhang, partly completely exposed. The Penofin worked beautifully on both protected parts, but the exposed part is aging with alarming speed, even though the house is not yet in use - there is no wear, in other words, this is all due to exposure. How often should we apply Penofin? At this rate of wear, it will need to be redone at least 2-3 times annually to look good. Is that normal?

We are building a second deck and stairs for the front of the house. We are using ipe again but would like to know if there are other finishes that work well. We are in western Oregon, in a humid climate. One reason I would like to use something else: I have asthma and the Penofin odor makes it impossible for me to be around the area where it is used - and when we applied the first coat, the odor stuck around for a month or so.

One additional question: we would like to install the front deck and steps now, but it would be difficult to finish the wood in the exposed areas. Is it possible to finish the wood before installation in an open carport? In other words, will the boards dry sufficiently to allow installation or should we just wait until drier weather (which could well be June or so)?

Thank you for any help and suggestions.

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We used a product named "Flood" to seal the clear cedar siding on the house. It is a non-stain type, just a clear seal. Is that product suitable for ipe as well?

Incidentally, I saw a posting about ipe versus clear cedar for decking. We initially thought to go with clear cedar, but the cost is not much lower than ipe and, more importantly, ipe lasts far longer.

The poster also mentioned bamboo. We love bamboo - in fact, we grow timber bamboo on our property. But I would not consider bamboo for a deck - although bamboo when first it became more popular was touted as super hard, we have seen surface wear damage that is far worse than we have seen on woods. I am sure there are grades of bamboo, but still, I would not consider it for outdoor unless I had opportunity to see the product used for some time in my area.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 5:36PM
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Clear or natural finish has no uv protection.

I have been a fan of twp 116 finish for years. Latley I have tested out the twp water base finish with very good results the rustic oak water base color wont darken up the ipe as much as 116 and last as long if not longer than the 100 series, it has no odor at all. The only down side is the fast dry time.

Pre finish is usually a bad idea. J.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 6:56PM
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Never heard of TWP but will definitely check it out - thank you. It sounds great.

Why do you feel prefinish is a bad idea? We have no experience with ipe other than the deck we just finished. We were told prefinishing is ideal because all sides of the board can be treated, protecting the entire board, which seemed to make sense - which is why we are considering doing it that way.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 9:50PM
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Pre finish all four sides on an outside project is a mith that will not go away like bark side up or down.

Ipe needs no protection puting finish on is cosmetic

The sun breaks down the finish on the top,water gets thru and is traped in the wood so it works in reverse. You have waisted time and money for a sub standared install.

During install the finish on top is going to get scrached up requiring more finish you have waisted time and money for a sub standared install.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 8:24AM
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I realized ipe is tough, but I did not realize it does not need protection. So the only protection it needs then is UV against discoloration? Very promising. How often is that finish generally applied?

I noticed in another post that it was recommended to leave ipe unfinished for a few months to release its oils, then finish it. Is that a standard way to install and finish?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 11:00AM
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Another mith. Put the finish on any outside wood project as quickley as the weather allows.

To keep color ipe needs finish or it will go silver/gray the same as most all comm projects do.

TWP is a build coat finish done corectley a 3/5 year finish can be had. J.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 12:16PM
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Hey John,

Do you recommend the water base twp or the woodrich brand. I am not happy with the Messeners. My attempts at getting the oil base have not worked


    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 11:09PM
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Man I got to say the twp water base gets my attention its holding up really well on the ipe test blocks out back. I am using it now on my latest project the only down side is the quick set up time, that is fast.

I talked to the twp Folks,they are aware of that drawback so far misting might help is what I got. Already used it on the 2x2 ipe rail detail shop built and I love it have to wait for puting it on the deck will let you know.

Woodrich is basicly twp 100 series slightley modified and it works well too used it on my very own outside stairway just to see, will still stick to the 116 no need to change unless this water stuff works better.

One thing I havent had to pay for the WB yet the first gal was free if there is a big jump in $ I will keep it in the tool box. J.
> messeners is junk

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 11:42PM
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I (unfortunately) agree on the Messeners. I would think I might have to strip it but it seems to have washed away... in a couple of months. It looked fantastic for a month. I emailed the company and no response-
Guess I will try the twp based on your comments and go fast..


    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 11:17PM
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If the finish is faded that much it would be a good idea if you dont strip it off to use an oxalic brightner before new finish is put on. J.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 2:52PM
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I'll be interested to see how the water based TWP holds up to the winter's freeze/thaw cycles. The first finish I put on my Ipe deck was Cabot's water based SPF finish. It held up well on the vertical surfaces, but peeled badly after one winter on the horizontal surfaces. Water based finishes don't typically penetrate, but stay on the surface as a thin film.
Who manufactures TWP? Do they have info on the makeup of the water based product?


    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 4:45PM
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You got to figure Marty concret is water base.

It aient the motion its the meet. Cabots is junk its always had peeling/lifting/recoat problems no matter what the cary agent is. Several water base products dident make it like Lacquer( although that was a mixture of a lot of things) several have always made it like latex paint. Dude after its set up there is no water left in it weather cycles have nothing to do with it ghesssssss I dont know where you get this water base finishes dont typically penetrate stuff. What are you thinking it takes petro in the product to burn its way in??
How maney times have I heard this>>> the finish sets up on top and wont penetrate ipe There is a twp corp 20 miles from my beloved Butler Manor so its easy for me to talk to them you might just google up twp and see what you find or just call the El Reno ok office. JonMon

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 8:43PM
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