If you are an Ipe wood worker then you probably already know that Ipe wood has the highest levels of strength and resistance to all kinds of conditions compared to all other types of woods. Not only do they resist cracking damage, insects, moisture, acidic solvents, acids, hydrocarbons, carbonized oils, and more, but they can also resist liquids. That is right, they will not split when they get wet.
Of course Ipe wood, especially the white pine Ipe, is one of the hardest types of wood, but in order to achieve a higher strength and resistance to moisture it must be treated differently than other types of wood. It can withstand water for a much longer period of time than most other types of woods, so it is typically anodized. Anodizing gives it a deep and even finish. It will also give it a much better resistance to rust, corrosion, mildew, all of which contribute to decay and chip damage.
An I’m split on one side of the board will usually split on the other side of the board as well. This makes an Ipe split a very expensive, if not impossible, repair option. However, an Ipe split can be repaired, as long as it is done properly.
The first step in repairing an Ipe split is to locate the location of the split and find out what caused it. Often, an Ipe split can be traced back to either bad grade of Ipe or improper installation of plywood or Ipe timbers. In most cases, a grade of Ipe with a standard moisture content level can be handled quite easily, if the Ipe was properly prepared.
The second step in Ipe repair is to determine the type of plywood that is at fault. Make sure you purchase plywood that is treated to resist corrosion. Afterthe plywood has been dried, clean it with a non-corrosive, oil-based wood cleaner. Finally, sand the plywood down and apply two coats of marine epoxy primer.
The third step in Ipe repair is to use both a high-temp spray gun and high-temp sealer. If the Ipe was actually repaired from corrosion, the sealing compound should be able to withstand the high temperature and water pressure created by the spray gun. With any luck, the high-temp spray will coat the plywood and provide adequate protection.
Finally, if the Ipe is still not cracked, you can consider calling in the professionals. Ipe wood decking repair is quite often a large job that require some sort of specialized knowledge, as well as tools such as a high-temp sealer and professional grade tools for removal of the plywood. So, if you do decide to call the pros, make sure that you get detailed instructions, and you should be good to go.
Just because an Ipe split can be repaired does not mean that the expense is worth it. Ipe is an expensive material, and if you do not have experience you may want to wait for the professionals to complete the job.