This Is What Ipe Looks Like After 12 Years
On Alabama’s Northern shore of the Intracoastal Waterway lies Barber Marina. It is a full-service marina and boatyard on nine acres with 185 wet slips, 400 inside dry storage slips, 20 outside dry storage slips, yacht repair facility, boat and outboard service center, ship store with marine gasoline and diesel, and a new and used boat sales center. Construction of the marina began in 2004 and Ipe was chosen as the lumber that would be used for both interior flooring and exterior decking and trim. We were lucky enough to be able to go back and recapture some images of the Ipe 12 years later in 2018. Just like we had expected, the Ipe had been holding up well and there was no sign of structural damage or of splitting or checking.
The entire deck and railing system were built using Ipe and the exterior columns were also wrapped with it. Inside the building, all of the hardwood floors were constructed out of Ipe including the stairs and railings. As a result of long-term exposure to the sun and other natural elements (rain, saltwater, etc.) the exterior Ipe had faded to a patina gray, which is to be expected when exposed for such a long amount of time. Inside the marina, the Ipe flooring had maintained its original color as a result of proper care as well as lack of exposure.
You can see in the pictures below how prolonged exposure to the sun and other elements will cause Ipe to gray with time. This change in color does not affect the structural integrity of the product whatsoever, it is purely cosmetic. With annual use and the application of Ipe oil, the lumber will retain more of the original color it had when first installed rather than the gray color seen in the image below. Although the appearance of Ipe may change over time, that is nothing to worry about, it is still one of the most durable and reliable hardwoods available and will last for decades regardless of color.