Interior Ipe Flooring
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Interior Ipe FlooringPosted by Adam Burke at July 13. 2005
Does anyone know much about Ipe as flooring? I know I've seen it done, but it's not done much so I'm wondering if it's because of certain issues. We installed Bankirai decking on our current porch and it was so hard we kept breaking drill bits and screws, and it took much longer to install than cedar. It was worth it though because it's beautiful! I've heard ipe is similarly difficult to work with.
Re: Interior Ipe FlooringPosted by Karen Pittman at July 13. 2005
I just installed about 400 sf of ipe deck. I used #8 star-drive GRK trim-head screws and pre-drilled 1/8 holes through the ipe only. I broke one screw for every 20 successfully sunk. Driver bits were only good for 40 or 50 screws, then broke from fatigue. Things got a little better when I started pulling recalcitrant screws and coating them with parafin -- that way I could coax them into sinking.
After I got it all in, I sealed it with Penofin, and it is just unbelievably beautiful.
I still need to make a pass with the parafin and get a few more screws to lower their heads.
I have seen ipe as interior flooring; it may have been tg'ed and laid as a floating floor, because no fasteners were visible. There were also no cracks, so who knows how they did it. It had been given a fairly smooth-sanded finish, and so was a really really beautiful floor.
Re: Interior Ipe FlooringPosted by Jueri Svjagintsev at July 13. 2005
Ipe makes a great floor. Very hard, finishes well. You need of course kiln dried stock as opposed to your standard decking stock. We pre-drilled holes for the nails but Artisan Flooring outside of Austin has specially modified pneumatic flooring nailers, I forgot what the mods were though. Ours was TG'd, not floating.
Page one of their online portfolio looks like Ipe to me.
About Ipe for furniture, I have given up using standard joinery with it, things like mortises are a pain because it is so hard, I view it as if it were steel and so use things like pins and pegs or we laminate to make a joint by addition rather than subtraction. In fact, a lumber yard full of milled Ipe looks a lot like a steel yard. This sort of workaround is not totally necessary, but I kind of like the parameters and it depends on your tooling or how much you enjoy sharpening. It does cut well under saws, but those are carbide.
If you like the idea of using something more local, then check out Oregon Myrtle flooring. It has a similar hardness and color (maybe not quite as warm colored) as ipé. If you find yourself in Seattle, you can see it in the Environmental Home Center:
Re: Interior Ipe FlooringPosted by Adam Burke at July 13. 2005
That myrtle is gorgeous! I remeber seeing myrtle wood stores and carvings on the Oregon Coast as a kid. The price might be a little too rich for me, but being local certainly has appeal...
Thanks for the input folks!
Does anyone have any comments on the environmental side of Ipe? I know much of it is plantation grown, but that doesn't necessarily make it sustainable.
You can get FSC-certified Ipé for decking... not so sure about finding it in a TG flooring material.
Ipé is considered more environmentally sound than say mahogany or teak, since it grows in clusters instead of larger individual trees deeper in the forest. So it is easier to harvest.
That said, you'd have to ask yourself why you really need a tropical hardwood for an interior application where weather-resistance is no issue. If you are big on the sustainable factor then I think it's also important to consider the impact of bringing it to you from such a great distance. But maybe there is some green payoff for durability, since it has a longer usable lifespan?
Re: Interior Ipe FlooringPosted by Adam Burke at July 15. 2005
Hmmm yes, you make some good points. The hardness is a real appeal, as is the color and grain variation. I still might just keep the oak floors that are in the house, whcih would be the most green idea, I'm just not sure I want to go to the work of restoring them and doing all the patching that's needed, especially when I really don't like oak. There's always bamboo, it's hard and sustainable.
Re: Interior Ipe FlooringPosted by jbArch at August 14. 2005
I just ran across this site selling Ipé flooring:
I don't know anything about this place as a source for flooring, but at least it is good to know that the material is out there and available.
I found another portion of the same site very useful for comparing species of wood:
Re: Interior Ipe FlooringPosted by Chris G. at August 22. 2005
Ipe does not take a varnish finish too well, due in part to the high oil/silica content. I have installed and finished it in interior applications but would not really recommend it for high traffic areas. Brazilian Cherry is another hard/dark colored wood suitable for interior use and can be purchased for a very reasonable price.
Re: Interior Ipe FlooringPosted by mjfree at August 29. 2005
I can attest to the hardness. I just finished screwing down my Ipe deck boards last weekend, and the wood made my counter-bore bit smoke like I was trying to drill stainless steel. The specific weight of this material is excellent - solid as a rock. Im having a hardwood floor company come plane the whole exterior deck to one flat surface...cant wait.
green alternativePosted by Jamie Reilly at August 31. 2005
check out the end grain flooring from oregon lumber (www.oregonlumber.com) and kaswell (www.kaswell.com/woodblock.htm) alot of it's reclaimed scrap from lumber yards and it wears like no tomorrow. I also really like the way it looks.