When homeowners are considering installing decking at their homes they’re often amazed by the wide variety of materials available. Some consider soft woods, which generally are a cheaper option. However, the lifespan of a soft wood is much shorter than a harder wood, and the on-going maintenance will be something that will have to be done every single year.
Some, really wanting to avoid the never ending sanding and varnishing and sealing, opt for plastic decking that resembles wood. This option may be easier to maintain, but it simply isn’t a wooden deck and will become extremely hot underfoot. No matter how carefully the product has been designed, a plastic deck will always look fake. If you want the real thing, hardwood decking is the way to go, and most contractors will tell you that Brazilian hardwood decking should be your first, if not only, choice.
What makes Brazilian hardwood so attractive?
Brazilian hardwood is probably better known as Ipe, and is one of the most durable woods you can find. Certainly, experts say that every other hardwood is inferior to Ipe. It has extraordinary properties such as being fire retardant because it’s so dense and has a durability that lasts up to an incredible fifty years. The wood is very heavy, but once in place it requires minimal maintenance and will look beautiful for an exceptionally long time. Ipe is even resistant to termites and doesn’t heat up very fast, so you’ll always have a cool surface beneath your feet.
Reducing your maintenance
Not having constant maintenance is top of most homeowner’s lists. With its durability, Ipe decks expand and contract less than other decks so the necessity for constantly repairing a deck where warping has taken place is almost completely reduced. Basically, to care for this type of deck, you simply need to seal it after installation, and then to wash it annually with a strong cleanser to remove grime or any mold spores that might have taken hold. Over time, the dark color will weather to an attractive silver gray. Should you wish for the wood to return to its original hue, you can apply an additional coat of sealer and then sit back and enjoy the beauty of your deck.