IPE - Checking on boards, not on ends

stevekatMarch 4, 2008

Have a few IPE samples from some suppliers, and decided to purchase a board locally to test. Left a 1 x 6 outside on my existing deck in the sun, for approximately two weeks. It rained a few times, weather has been cool here in Los Angeles. The board lightened a bit, as expected, but I have noticed a lot of mild checking on the full surface of the board. There are hairline cracks throughout the board, along the grain lines. I know this can happen on the ends without sealing after cutting, but is it normal to see this on the face, consistently throughout?

It might ultimately be OK for my application, but I was surprised to see this. If this is common, does the checking get worse, stay mild, or close up with age, and if it is not normal, could there have been a problem with the drying process?

Finally, I am considering IPE, Garapa, and Red Mangaris. My primary goal is little or no maintenance, and resistance to termites and rot. I am OK with lightening in the wood, but do not want to seal, stain nor do anymore than mild cleaning. Can anymore suggest experience with with other than IPE, for durable low/no maintenance hardwoods such as Garapa and Red Mangaris and if there are benefits to either of those two (or others) over IPE.

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Checking occurrs naturally with all woods, if they are not dried under controlled enviroments (kiln dried).

Ipe is generally air dried. Some boards will be drier then others with this method. The wetter ones will check more when put out in the direct sun.

I've not noticed it to get worse with time with ipe. Ipe is so dense, it does not absorb too much moisture.

For the most part, it is not noticeable in ipe because it is so fine, unless you get down on your knees.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 12:04PM
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I don't know about that checking stuff. I didn't see that with my ipe deck. I have slight checking on some end grain, after 6 months.

Did you talk to eastteak.com. the website says they are in Wash. (shipping??). The guys I have dealt with in South Carolina are very helpful, knowledgeable, and provide free scraps for you to check out.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 5:52AM
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Thanks. I called EastTeak and they were very helpful. They suggested kiln dried, and I am not sure that is available locally, if the local yards even know what they have. Shipping, even from Washington State to CA adds materially to cost, but I might go that route anyway to get the right product.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 7:48PM
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I was wondering what wood you ended up getting for your deck. I live in Los Angeles too, and I'm wondering whether I should get IPE or mangaris.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 6:52PM
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I am looking to build a deck (ASAP) in an exotic wood in LA. Does anyone know of a dealer to buy hard wood decking locally? Cumaru would be my first choice but happy with a good deal on IPE or maybe mangaris. Also interested in opinions about any of these woods as decking, prices and vendors locally or experience people have had with shipping wood. THANK YOU

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 2:49PM
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Its not good to lump in mangaris with South American lumber. Totaly differant areas of the world and different trees all toghther.

Cumaru is not nearly as stable as ipe/garapa but has the same life span.

East Teak trucks me S A lumber on a regular, never had bad boards or anything but most execlent service. J.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 5:29PM
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