Ipe Deck and Cable Rail Inspiration & Advice

sfmomoxoJuly 7, 2011

Hi, I'm new to this board and am very impressed by the incredible base of knowledge I've seen. We live in a contemporary California home and are replacing the decks this summer. From what I've read, Ipe is the way to go. We're then going with a cable rail system. Here are my questions:

1. FINISHING THE IPE. This one is for John Hyatt and anyone else who has had great results with putting a fabulous finish on their Ipe decks. John, the wet-on-wet approach you've written about, are the coats spaced days apart? Weeks apart? I got that one coat dries first, but please give me a ballpark to what you would consider an ideal situation for a novice in this land. Ideally would you go three coats for a new install?

2. PRODUCT. Is there a low-VOC version of the TWP 116? Or do you recommend the 116 hands down?

3. PRODUCT 2. Our neighbors have steps which they used SIKKENS on a few years ago. They still look like they were stained yesterday. Any thoughts on using SIKKENS? I know they coated all sides of the wood with the product before install. I mentioned this to my contractor and he wasn't so thrilled at the prospect. Any comments on the SIKKENS will help me stop envying those steps!

4. CABLE RAIL. Do any of you GWers have photos of your finished cable rail systems??? My questions are more related to the design. For a contemporary (not starkly modern) home, I'm at a quandry about what kind of posts to use. The contractor assumed Ipe. However, the photos I've seen of cable rail systems, those with wooden posts seem to look a bit more rustic...kind of more in line with a craftsman-type home. I was considering using Ipe on the corners, but black steel (?) for the long expanses. Of course, I would have Ipe for the toprail. Any design insights would be incredibly appreciated.

Many thanks. I so appreciate your help!!!!

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Where are you located?

I've heard horror stories using ipe posts for cable railing. Drilling all the holes can take days. We have always used redwood or cedar posts and rails, with ipe cap.

You won't be able to get the product that John uses in Calif. We use Penofin and it looks great, but not for very long. Were those stairs protected from sun?


Here is a link that might be useful: Deck ideas

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 9:54PM
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We're in the North Bay (SF Bay Area), so I am incredibly disappointed that the much touted TWP is not an option. Do you do a wet-on-wet application of the Penofin? Ideally I'd love the finish to last a couple of years. Any way to keep the ipe looking great for that long??

I've since moved from the ipe posts to a black powder-coated aluminum, by Feeney (Design Rail). I was surprised by how pricey they are (isn't everything?), but I think it will be a clean, contemporary look. I was a little afraid that the wooden posts would render a bit more of a rustic feel than I ideally was hoping for. And, yes, we'll be doing an ipe cap.

My neighbors stairs ARE protected from the sun. However, our deck is pretty much in full sun...alternating with full fog.

So, Penofin... What color do you recommend? And, do you put it on immediately after installation or do you let the deck "weather" a bit? And other prep work after installation before staining??

Many, many thanks!!!!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 3:15PM
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Penofin is definatly not a wet of wet product and unfortunately it will not last more then 6 mos. the first go around.

I don't have any recent experience with the Sikkins product, as I don't see it locally.

I have tried a lot of different well known products and I have yet to find anything that lasts more then 6 mos. on ipe.

Personally, I prefer to let the ipe dry a little bit before we treat it. I've seen no benefit to coating all 4 sides, though I don't think that it can hurt either. It will not make the top surface last any longer.

We usually clean the deck with Olympic Deck cleaner, wait a day and then seal with brushes. Make sure that you rag off any excess sealer before it dries. Do not apply the sealer when the surface of the ipe is hot to the touch. Dispose of wiping rags appropiately. Preferably in a sealed metal container. A pile of oily rags in the sun, will ignite.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 8:17PM
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Genini, twp, makes a water base or acrylic finish system > Storm Shield It can be sold anyplace. This finish is a high proformer and it will work building coats. The one down side is the set up time being real fast.

I tried it one cold december when regular twp could not be used. Pretty Good Stuff none of the prblems other acrylic has.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 12:02PM
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Hi there,
I came upon your post because I am looking to oil my Ipe deck for the first time since we built last fall. I wanted to pass along some photos of our deck to encourage you to go with cable rail and metal posts. We LOVE the way it looks and have the look mimicked on our interior around the steps that go to our lower level.

Hope this helps!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:20PM
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Your deck is gorgeous!!!!! Thanks so much for the photos. What are you going to oil it with??

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 4:56PM
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