IPE wood deck tiles can last up to 75 years on your patio, but not without a bit of regular maintenance. While it may seem like a strenuous process at first, learning how to clean and maintain an IPE deck is fun, easy, and cost-effective. As a bonus, once you finish the job, you will gain that sense of pride that every dedicated homeowner should have.
If this is your first time caring for IPE decking, you have come to the right place. This short guide on the best way to preserve IPE flooring should help you learn everything there is to know about IPE deck maintenance.
IPE Decking in a Nutshell
Before you get out the cleaning materials, you should make sure that the hardwood floor you have is made of real IPE wood. Some new homeowners may confuse it with similarly looking composite wood. However, once you clean an IPE deck, you will never mistake it for other material again.
Here are some of the IPE wood characteristics:
- It is a hardwood indigenous to Central and South America
- It is one of the hardest woods in the world
- It makes for long-lasting, sturdy flooring material
- It is ideal for both indoor and outdoor projects.
- It has a rich brown color with red and amber hues.
- It has a very dense, interlocking grain.
- It is slip-resistant.
- It is naturally resistant to insect attack, mold, rot, fire, and decay.
- It may last as many as 75 years with periodic and annual cleaning.
IPE Deck Monthly Cleaning
IPE wood is popular among homeowners everywhere mainly because it is easy to preserve. You do not even have to clean your IPE deck every day. Because it is naturally resistant to extreme weather conditions, it can take heavy rain and snow without the risk of mold, rot, and mildew.
Once a week, you should sweep the IPE decking with a broom. Prevent any debris from piling up as it may leave scrapes and markings in the long run.
You should perform a general inspection on your IPE decking once a month. Here’s how to do it:
- Remove the garden furniture from the deck.
- Look for leaves or rubble blocking the drainage and ventilation, and remove any pollen or algae that may have gathered on the surface.
- Use the vacuum to eliminate the dust and dirt from the deck tiles.
- Next, rinse the hardwood with your garden hose.
- If any dirt stains remain at this point, you can mix a quarter of bleach into a gallon of lukewarm water and mop the wood boards before rinsing them again.
- Allow the decking to dry entirely before putting back the furniture.
This maintenance of the IPE deck should not take more than one hour of your time every month to keep the garden deck looking impeccable at all times.
IPE Deck Annual Maintenance
While a routine check should help the IPE deck keep its natural characteristics, you should also perform an annual cleaning that will ensure the hardwood’s lifelong durability.
Here is a list of the materials you need for IPE deck annual maintenance:
- A pre-sealer solution
- An oil-based sealer for natural hardwood, like walnut oil or teak oil.
- An orbital sander and grit disks
- A vacuum
- Protection gloves
- A natural bristle brush
- A lint-free cloth
- A dry rag
Before cleaning the IPE deck, make sure that the weather will not cause you any unpleasant surprises. Choose a sunny day in late spring or early autumn when the air is dry and the chances of rain are minimal.
Cleaning IPE deck every year should follow these steps:
- If the hardwood needs sanding, pass the orbital sander across all the boards while moving with the natural grain.
- After sanding, use the vacuum to remove dust and debris.
- Use the garden hose to rinse the boards clean.
- Let the IPE decking dry completely before applying the pre-sealer.
- Test the sealer in one small area of the deck before applying it on all the boards. This way, you ensure that the solution doesn’t change the wood’s natural color.
- Use the brush and the cloth to apply the sealer in long, overlapping strokes across each board.
- Use the dry rag to remove any excess oil.
- Let the IPE deck dry for at least 24 hours before stepping on it again.
How to Maintain IPE Deck – Refinishing
Once every decade or so, you might want to refinish your IPE deck. This DIY project is time-consuming but necessary and highly rewarding.
To refinish IPE decking, you will have to remove the previous sealer with a wood stripper. Restore the natural dark-brown color by removing the silver patina with a low-level pressure washer, which has preferably less than 12,000 psi.
After washing the deck, you can apply the sealer and follow the rest of the steps from the annual cleaning process.
How to Clean IPE Deck – Final Considerations
Knowing how to clean IPE decking is essential to keeping your hardwood in optimal condition. After a few years of monthly and annual maintenance, you will get the hang of it, and the entire process will feel easy and gratifying.
Keep in mind that IPE wood is highly resistant to water, insects, and rot. Nevertheless, excessive sunshine can make it lose its natural color and develop a grey hue. You may consider installing a canopy to provide shade for the decking in the scorching summer months.
There you have it! Now, you should know everything you need to do to clean the IPE deck and help it maintain its natural luster. Make sure that you have all the necessary tools and solutions before starting the annual cleaning.
If it is your first time cleaning or refinishing an IPE deck, and you don’t feel confident with your skills, you might want to employ the help of a professional or someone with more experience in IPE decking maintenance. Contact us today at Tropical Forest Products the highest leading imported lumber quality for all your outdoor projects.