LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) December 13, 2020
In recent years synthetic decking companies have specifically attacked Ipe wood as they try and make their plastic-looking boards look like Ipe and seem like a viable alternative. Some companies have even made products that they put the name “Ipe” on them. These attempts fall very short in the real world. Some real lumber companies have even called their plastic-like boards “fake Ipe” and have gone as far as to issue warnings. These warnings to not get tricked into buying something with the name “Ipe” that has absolutely nothing to do with the species Ipe can not go far enough though. Putting the name on a synthetic piece of material and calling it “Ipe” which is actual species of lumber is deceptive at best. There is a reason that they always compare themselves to Ipe because Ipe is King. Here is why when a potential buyer sees "Ipe VS synthetic boards" or "Ipe VS other hardwood lumber" or "Ipe alternatives" potential buyers should know Ipe still reins.
Real Ipe wood comes from South-America mostly, it is natural, dense, and beautiful. The first thing that is often heard is that Ipe color fades. Is this true? Yes and No. If it is desired to keep it a dark natural color all that is necessary to do is an annual treatment. This treatment prevents the U.V. rays from greying the wood. The thing is though, many of the highest-end houses in the country using the top designers and architects want the grey! So there are lots of options. If a company wants to talk about color let’s talk about if a customer has to replace a board after a few years with synthetic boards the color won’t ever match exactly! Better not spill any sunscreen or grease on it. Customers end up with Frankenstein looking deck colors.
Synthetic materials are known for getting extremely hot. In fact, it’s such an issue that many days in hot weather it can make a deck almost unusable. Dog’s paws can be damaged and forget letting the kids out. These companies are aware this is an issue, so much so that they make boards that don’t keep so much heat. But when they are doing price comparisons against Ipe they almost never put the boards that reduce the heat!
Many synthetic companies have had lawsuits for quality and exaggerated claims. Along with warranties that don’t cover everything. Sure they will warranty the board, but how many warranties the labor for ripping out the bad boards and building the replacement deck? So in other words, sure they will say there is a warranty for their product, but much more goes into a deck than just the material, so read that fine print.
Perhaps the most interesting claim is that their manufactured boards are more environmentally friendly. With Ipe though, it can last up to 75 years, even then it can even be reclaimed and used for other things. Even if not reused, it’s natural wood, so it doesn’t end up in a landfill or in the ocean! That's right Ipe is biodegradable. Where do these plastic-looking boards end up at the end of their life? How many fossil fuels are used in their production? If one of these synthetic companies boards last 10 years they would have to produce up to 7 times, ship 7 times, and use 7 times the fossil fuels to produce, also have 7 times the waste they would if they only had done it one time.
Lets talk about the cost and maintenance. Ipe is comparably priced to many synthetic materials. Having to only do one installation not only saves the customer time but also money. Ripping out a deck and reinstalling it is expensive. There is a reason that these companies try to call their boards Ipe because Ipe is the best. There is a reason they compare themselves to Ipe because Ipe is the best. No Ipe supplier is trying to make their actual Ipe boards look cheap and plastic. That should tell the customer everything they need to know.
Potential buyers should know that synthetic boards are not usually maintenance free. This is a common misconception, read that fine print! Ipe on the other hand requires no maintenance if the client is okay with it turning grey. Even if "maintaining" the color of Ipe or trying to extend the life of the deck, the home-owner only need a once annual coating of U.V. that takes a few hours for full treatment for most decks.
We have also seen synthetic companies show photos of improperly installed Ipe and try to portray it as normal. Showing things like screws at the end of a board causing it to split. Contractors and builders generally know to not put screws too close to the end of any wood, showing this improper installation as a "defect" just shows how desperate they are to try and portray their product as superior! Also not acclimating properly as any exotic wood should be!
In the end, the best thing a potential buyer can do is stand on and feel Ipe decking after 10 years and then do the same for a synthetic board company. The difference is night and day. Perhaps in the future, there will be better products available from synthetic suppliers, but that day seems far off from what is seen on the market today. Having worked on hundreds of Ipe projects, it can easily be said that high-end projects generally prefer real wood to plastic-looking boards. Customers either have the real thing or they don’t, there is no replacement for the look and feel of real wood.