I have two ipe runways that lead to a large ipe deck are that houses a hot tub. The wood is recently installed and looks great. I applied Penofin oil to a test board and it turns it a deep shade of red that I don't like. I enjoy the natural look of the ipe. So, I don't know if you have a product that might work but maybe we can start a conversation and try some samples. Please let me know your thoughts.Hi,
We have a customer in HI who does a similar deck with Rainforest Sealer Fawn (diluted).
To keep it the same tone it is now would require a specialized approach.
The reasoning is:
1. Ipe will always darken with any oils.
2. Oils are always best on ipe.
3. Inorganic Pigment is needed to block UV/IR radiation.
This deck also gets a lot of harsh sun, UV/IR radiation. We use deep toned, inorganic, Earth Oxide pigments to block the effects of that radiation. Without proper pigment ipe will patina in about 6-12 months on this deck.
Typically, people use The Clear 00 System on decks like this. This is when people want the full grain illumination of the ipe and they want it to stay clean and maintained like a hardwood floor. It would look g
reat on this deck and grain would really pop but ipe is a deep red toned wood and that would be highlighted. To avoid this with a stain we mitigate the reds using offsetting tones, such as browner browns (Cappuccino, Espresso, Butter Toffee, Fawn...). Those are all darker tones than you have now. The closest color I can think of that would hold up well would be the Almond.
We have a technology we make a floor finish with. It's also used on Log Home Exteriors. It is extremely durable outside. It holds the lighter tones of wood pretty nicely and if this was an interior floor I'd recommend it. But here's the thing. Ipe will shed a water based finish. And to get closer to the tone you want (dry natural ipe), we need to use a water based coating. If it were my deck and I really wanted the light look, I might try one coat of the Aqualine Satin on it. This would not build a film and would help retain the natural tone of the wood as it is now. Since it's only one coat I wouldn't worry about it peeling or being shed as the ipe oils migrate to the surface. When first applied it would be a bit darker but then lighten as it cures and provide some protection from the elements. After a year I would expect an area coated this way to be less grey and have less splitting than areas that are not coated. I've never done this so I'm not crazy about the idea. But it's the only thing I can think of to get close to what it looks like now.
Ideally, this wood will be limed first so the extractives are addressed and the wood fiber cell is open enough to receive finish. Then sanded 35 grit and coated on all six sides. The board ends soaked well since that is where splitting often starts. Then maintained regularly.
Typical Ipe system:
1. Lime Clean
2. Sand 35 Grit
3. Rainforest Sealer Almond (dilute 1 Qt / Gallon w Pure Citrus Solvent)
4. (Optional) Mountain XT Clear 00 x 2 coats (roll bolstering coat spring & fall in harsh sun)
Stain color is often omitted and the deck done clear IF using the Mountain XT Clear 00 final coats.
I've tried to lay out the basics for the this deck for future reference. Whatever you choose, there should be enough info here to maintain this deck indefinitely.
Hope this helps.