Information about Ipe Wood Flooring

Published: 30th April 2010
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Ipe wood has had a long history in the world of industries since it has been used since centuries for heavy truck bedding and railway ties. The reason for its popularity is because of its hardness and durability which makes Ipe wood flooring a very good choice for hardwood floors. Even those homes which experience heavy traffic on a daily basis can use ipe since it would hardly develop any scratches.

Appearance and Properties

Ipe wood grows in some parts of Lesser Antilles, Brazil and all across tropical America. The heartwood is black to olive brown in color although it might have darker or lighter striping throughout. The wood has a low luster and a very oily appearance. The grain tends to be quite irregular or straight. Ipe is known to be among the most stable woods to be found today. It is known for its durability, density, weight, strength and extreme hardness.

Durability and Strength

Ipe wood is known to be probably the hardest wood available in the market. It stands on 3648 on the Janka hardness scale which is quite high. It is 126% harder than the wenge, 91% hard than even merbau which is considered to be quite hard. Because of its hardness, ipe is a little difficult to work with so it would be necessary to pre-drill before nailing. The wood is used not just for flooring but also for quite a lot of other functions in industries due to its shock resistance properties.

Finish

Ipe wood can be quite difficult to finish and because of its chemical properties, drying, absorption of stains, coats and adhesion can be a little difficult. For this reason it is always better to purchase finished ipe wood and not try to finish it at home. Because of its high density, most finishes do not penetrate the wood.

In order to finish ipe wood floors, it would have to be sanded first. Like all other types of hardwood floors, even ipe wooden floorings would have to be coated with polyurethane. However, sanding is the main problem. Ipe belongs to the family of Lapacho and it is known to create dermatitis and respiratory allergic reactions. For this reason it is necessary to protect yourself from its dust when you are sanding it. It is best to just purchase pre-finished wood so that you would not have to take any risks at all.

Another thing that you would have to keep in mind is that ipe wood is not to be used in dry climates. The wood is a little difficult to dry and when it is installed in homes that have low humidity then it would probably crack. The wood is suitable for areas that have low humidity levels in some seasons.

Even though ipe has a few of its disadvantages, the advantages weigh out more. There are not many varieties of woods in the market which are as hard and durable as ipe and therefore it is perfect for houses with large families


About Author


Liamk Gardner works for Cambridgeshire Floors one of the largest flooring suppliers in Cambridgeshire supplying wooden Flooring in Peterborough and the surrounding areas. If you want some more information on Walnut Flooring in Peterborough go to their website.

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