Clearly we’ve already made our minds up, but my last post was viewed by someone who searched for ‘ipe decks worth extra cost’, so I thought I’d write an update now the deck is basically done, with just the edging and oiling to finish today. We got the basic deck done yesterday, and I have to day it looks great, with superb deep reddy browns, especially when wet :-
It will go darker when we oil it, but that will stop it weathering to grey over time which would seem a pity.
In terms of whether it’s worth it, the extra cost of the decking wasn’t huge – in fact it was comparable with cedar which we were originally looking at. Roughly double what ordinary pine decking would cost though. On top of that you need to allow for the time it takes. I’ve seen plenty of ‘do a deck in a weekend’ DIY blurbs. Not with hardwood I’d venture. It took us 3 days to get the frame in, and in a simpler case we could have done that in two. But, it’s taken over 3 days to get the deck on since every one of the ~600 screws has to be pilot drilled (which takes ages compared with drilling pine), countersunk, and the edges of the countersinks filed! If we did it again I’d probably have used the hidden fastenings that would have been slightly quicker, but even then we’d have had to made heavy use of a buscuit jointer, so it would still take a lot longer than simply running in screws.
So, above the direct cost of the Ipe, there is a lot of extra effort – maybe quadrupling or more the time taken to lay the planks (I think I could have got softwood planking down in half a day, but it depends how fast you work). But, I’m glad we did it, and for us it was worth it. We have a softwood deck as well, and it doesn’t look nearly as nice. As an aside, it costs us a fortune to treat the softwood deck each year (like £100) – the Ipe should take one coat of oil that costs about £25, so that will eat into the difference in cost pretty fast.