Ipe Wood Railings

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Ipe Wood Railing Systems

Ipe Square CatNothing compliments the outdoors better than wood. Tie your surroundings together with an Ipe railing system! Ipe is the name given the lumber of the Brazilian hardwood tree commonly known as Brazilian Walnut, or Ironwood, of the species Handroanthus spp.  This tree is very dense, hence the nickname Ironwood. Given the Janka hardness test (which is used to make sure wood materials are appropriately strong enough for flooring) it took 3,600 pounds to indent Ipe, compared to other hardwoods, which indented under 580 or 690 pounds. Not only is this wood amazingly strong, it’s also highly resistant to shrinking, splintering, twisting, cupping, checking, rot, insects, and even fire. As a result, working with this wood requires power tools, but in the end it’s well worth the effort, for the durability and longevity granted in return. The incredible strength of this wood makes it harder to work with and install. You’ll need carbide-tipped saw blades and stainless steel screws. Your posts will also have to be pre-drilled for fastening cable end assemblies. While this may make for more installation effort, it also means less work down the road, as your Ipe railing will last for decades with comparatively less maintenance than other wood types.

Ipe comes from seven species of trees that grow in rainforests. They flower in 5 colors, Red, Pink, Purple, Yellow, and White, each having it’s own impact on wood tones, and grain. The most commonly used wood tone is pink, which when stained displays a deep, rich red color. If left to age naturally, like most wood, they lose the majority of their color, fading to a soft silver.

Although this Brazilian hardwood naturally grows in small stands of trees in Brazil, making it less common than other trees which grow in stands of abundance,  in recent years it has been grown and harvested on commercial farms in South America and parts of Central America to ensure sustainability. The Ipe we stock is purchased from these sustainable farms, leaving nature… Natural!

Take a look at completed systems using this lovely wood option in our Ipe photo gallery!

You can mix and match posts and top rail materials to suit nearly any design ideas.  If you’re having trouble coming up with unique ideas, visit our other photo galleries to see what others have done.

Looking for other options?

If metal would work better for your project, consider our other options

What’s Next?

Check out our How To Page to help answer these questions:

  • What height do you want for your top rail: 36”, 42”, or a custom height?
  • Will you be mounting this using the deck or fascia method?
  • How many posts do you need for your project?
  • Are there any other products or services you’ll need?
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