IPE deck design question

zver11November 7, 2010

I have multiple decks on the house I wish to resurface with IPE.

All are currently diagonal board layout.

Two are narrow long decks that hug the side of the house and only stick out just under 7 feet. Rafters currently run outward perpendicular to the house wall. Is there anything wrong with redoing the pressure treated rafters to be parallel to the house wall so that I can lay the IPE boards going perpendicular to the house? This would allow me to use up a lot of short IPE boards. The cost of incremental PT wood is minimal.

The whole deck job needs over 2500 linear feet of 1"x6" and the main deck would stay diagonal boards. It is well enough separated from the narrow decks that I do not see an aesthetic issue.

The question is one of structural integrity. Deck segments in question are bolted to the house wall and each has at least one side with a house wall which should eliminate any twist stress issues.

Separate issue is delivery of 2500 feet of IPE boards. I have no heavy equipment. Do any of the internet dealers ship using a service with a mini forklift truck that could move the bundles close to the installation location(up a long narrow driveway)?

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Might be worth noting that Ipe wood is much harder to cut, and usually needs holes predrilled to attach with screws, so short diagonal boards will require quite a bit more labor to install. Plus, for short depth decks that run the length of the house, a decking layout design using short boards rather than boards running parallel to the house will entail more labor to place PT blocking between existing joists, but structurally it isn't any weaker, but will have more exposed deck board ends and require more labor to cut. It would be cheaper to buy your lumber sizes as close to the sizes you need to minimize waste.

As to delivery methods on-site, you'll probably get better information if you ask the dealers you are thinking of buying the lumber from.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 7:24PM
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I don't know anything to answer your question, just wanted to offer a suggestion...when we put up our deck this summer, I had a great deal of help over at the decks forum (in the home section). I'd never heard of IPE before, but they talk about it a lot! There are deck builders on there by trade, and just a lot of good information there to possibly help you out! It was a great help to me! And I will visit again!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 8:44AM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

by changing the direction of your joists so that they are perpendicular to the house and the Ipe boards are running parallel will provide you with an eye pleasing look and probably a lot less labor in regards to sealing all the end cuts.

I don't really understand your question in regards to the structural integrity of the deck. It appears that you have a ledger board attached to the house which in most cases is a very strong and stable endboard.
IPE doesn't twist nor shrink like soft wood does. As long as you have the proper joist spacing for the thickness of the wood that you are using and the installation is properly down with stainless steel hex head screws that have been pre-drilled, you'll not have any problems.
Below is a IPE deck that was recently installed and as you can see we had some very complicated joist layout.

Images copyrighted
From Smith Project From Smith Project From Smith Project

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 2:18PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Presumably if left to weather, the material would weather to grey, but it appears to have been oiled? What is the recommended maintenance if one wishes to maintain the lovely dark tones of the wood? (Asking in anticipation of adding a deck to a small house in Hawaii -- we are undecided on material.)

Beautifully detailed work, congratulations on a finely accomplished design.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 8:59PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

If you want to the deck in a dark rich tone then a water based sealer is the way to go in my opinion.
Just let the finish fade off and there is no need to do any labor intensive stripping.
Frequency of application depends on your climate / exposure .
Up on a Ipe deck in Lake Tahoe they do it almost yearly.
On a deck in Marin it is done every two or three years.

ipe in Marin - 3rd year without sealer
From Fizzy water boxes

a section of the tahoe deck.
From Squaw Valley Lake Tahoe California

images copyrighted

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 12:52PM
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