Ipe decking questions
Hopefully some of you Ipe deck experts out there can help answer some questions about Ipe decking. I live in Seattle(rainy place) and near the saltwater and am seriously contemplating an Ipe deck. Its about 600 square feet, with 400 of it about 8 feet off the ground and 200 about 2 1/2 feet off the ground. I want to use 1x6 ipe decking over 16" centered pressure treated joists.
1. What is the best source to purchase Ipe? OK to buy over the internet and have it shipped or should I buy local? Is there a reliable name brand? I have seen Ironwood brand Ipe and RealIpe, any thoughts?
2. I was hoping to use the Deckmaster hidden fastening system that screws into the deck boards angled from below? Does anyone have any experience with this? Would prefer not to face screw the boards in place. Do I have to worry about increased cupping using this method?
3. How long should I let the wood acclimate outside before install?
4. Is it OK to use two 1x6 fascia trim boards butted together to cover the 10" treated rim joist? Can I butt them tight or do they need an expansion gap?
5. Any problem with creating multiple 10 footlong picture frames with 2 rows of 1x4 that frame the 1x6 deck boards? I am trying to eliminate end to end butt splices on long runs of decking. Also if I picture frame the sections I won't really need to attach a trim cap to the ends of the boards.
6. Can I get away with no surface sealing? Was just thinking of letting the boards weather naturally.
7. I need to wrap 6x6 deck posts with some type of material, Ipe 5/4 x 8 is pricey so wondered if there is something else that you would recommend that would complement the Ipe decking that I could wrap the posts with that isn't so expensive. I was even thinking of having white posts and white metal/glass see thru railings. Maybe a composite like white Azek or Timbertek to wrap the posts? Cedar? Other?
Any advice would be appreciated.