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Ipe Deck Maintenance

by The Handyguys

in Decks, Video Podcasts

In this episode of The Handyguys podcast The Handyguys discuss Ipe Deck Maintenance, how to clean it and keep it looking awesome.

Ipe Deck Maintenance

Brian’s Ipe deck looked great when it was complete. Eighteen months later is was looking a bit dirty. The wood was still in perfect condition, no checking, no splits or splinters, it was just a bit dingy. After a bit of maintenance it looked great again.

After Cleaning & oil

To keep the deck looking new it will take some annual maintenance.

The Handyguys recommend the following maintenance procedure for all decks:

  1. Hose off any spills, mud, etc as needed.
  2. Don’t allow any items that rust to sit on the deck (propane tanks, metal furniture, etc).
  3. Sweep off any leaves

As needed thoroughly clean and re-oil the Ipe deck. This may be once a year or every other year depending on how much sun you get. over time the re-oil step will not be needed as often.

Ipe deck cleaning solution:

  • One Gallon warm water
  • 1 cup TSP
  • One Quart bleach (if you do not have mold or algae you can reduce the amount of bleach)

Use a scrub brush on a long handle and thoroughly wash the deck with the cleaning solution. Rinse thoroughly and let dry completely.

Deck After Cleaning

After cleaning the deck you can sand any problem areas.


When the ipe deck is dry (at least a day) then re-oil it.  Use either Ipe Oil or Penofin Hardwood Oil Penofin Ipe Oil

Thanks for watching or listening. Make sure you subscribe so you do not miss any of our upcoming shows.

{ 129 comments… read them below or add one }

Doug Muhle February 22, 2013 at 11:01 am

Congrats to going to an audio format as now! Maybe I can get some of my other crew members to listen to you now.
As for the post, I always suggest that people apply a pressure washer to their deck once every 6 months to clean it and remove any possible mud or dirt, that might of accumulated on the deck.


The Handyguys February 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Pressure washers are handy but can also cause damage. You need to be really careful with them. Most normal dirt can be hosed off without a pressure washer.


mseyadm February 25, 2013 at 5:49 am

It is easy to handle and best way for cleaning….


Graham Poole March 4, 2013 at 11:44 am

That’s great, may have to employ this on my decking. Suspect it will give the garden a new lease of life for BBQ season!


Brian April 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I had read that you do NOT want oil based products, but the water based ones on the decking since it: 1. resists multiple applications, 2. does a poor job of keeping the UV from the wood, 3. will be sticky after application, 4. will need to be reapplied after 3-6 months.


Joel May 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

This is a really great post, especially since I myself am about to renovate my deck. Unfortunately, I live in an area prone to raining especially in the spring. I’m a one man reno team and I can’t do the whole deck quickly enough where I won’t risk rain interference. do you recommend a tarp or shelter solution like ? Your input is appreciated.


The Handyguys May 6, 2013 at 9:51 am

No, I dont think I could ever justify the cost of a structure for just refinishing a deck. Any sanding stripping or prep can be interrupted by rain and most finishes can be rained on within a day. You should be able to find a window of time for most any deck. Get some help if you need to do it faster.


Joe May 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Should the same cleaning process be done on a newly installed Ipe deck?
Also any thoughts on Andreson Clark stain on Ipe?


The Handyguys May 20, 2013 at 11:45 am

No need to do the bleach.tsp cleaning on the new ipe deck. if there is mud and crud just wash it off with a hose or pressure washer (only if really needed). My initial impressions of the Anderson Clark is that its good, the color is more red than the Ipe oil. I loved the Ipe Oil look on the new deck but it didn’t last as long as I hopped. I have just resigned myself to washing and re-stain every spring. Anderson Clark will be what I use for the next year or two.


Ian June 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I have several large landings (just above ground) of IPE decking both at my home and beach house and the above instructions were easy enough for both my son and I to rejuvenate the appearance of the both homes decking. They look new as the day they were installed. Thanks Handyguys… your excellent instructions have earned another regular follower.


Jane August 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Just watched your podcast on ipe deck maintenance and have found it helpful. I have an ipe deck that was built by my husband and almost completed in early fall 2011. It is a 2 level deck with stairs and 4 benches and is approx 700 sq feet- in other words huge. Dave was a woodworker and this was his dream deck to build. Difficult wood as you mentioned but he was thrilled with it. Dave’s plan was to give the deck one treatment and then decide if we should let it naturally gray. Sadly Dave passed away before the deck was completed. Last summer I hired a contractor to finish the railings, etc. However I never did treat the deck. This summer I have decided to clean and treat the deck. The ipe wasn’t just gray but dingy with algae, mold (?). I have purchased Messeners cleaner, brightener and UV Wood finish. I have started this huge project myself and am still cleaning the ipe in sections. I am a bit nervous about the cleaner and brightener and have only used some of the cleaner in a small area. The warnings on the label scared me since I have 2 dogs and lots of plants surrounding the deck. Anyway I have been scrubbing away on hands and knees with various brushes and the ipe is getting clean. My question to you is – how do you know when the ipe is properly cleaned? The ipe looks great when wet and lots of crud comes off the ipe when I scrub like a fiend. But when dry, the ipe still can look a bit hazy in spots or brown with gray areas. I have read not to apply the finish unless the ipe is properly cleaned . As you can see I am confused and dont want to ruin this deck that my husband was so proud of. I can see that you used bleach ,etc to clean your ipe but other sites dont recommend bleach. Also have you any thoughts on Messeners UV Finish? (An ipe dealer here in Canada recommended it). I am sorry that my question is so long and would appreciate any advice or further tips that you can give me. Thank you so much!


The Handyguys August 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Jane – Make your own cleaner/brightener. Buy some TSP at the hardware store and follow the instructions for deck cleaning on the box. Its just the TSP soap, some bleach and water. That will clean up any alge, mold, etc it will also help you get off any dirt or crud. I havent had an issue and its MUCH cheaper than commercial cleaners. You can reduce the ammt of bleach if you dont have much alge.

I found it best to use a stiff bristled broom to scrub it in. Let the cleaning solution do its thing. Then hose it off. You could also use a pressure washer after scrubbing with the cleaner.

How do you know its clean? It will look clean, you wont see alge or dirt.

What you are likely seeing is wood that has started to grey out. The only way to make it look like the day it was installed is to sand it.

I would just go ahead and finish cleaning and then apply Ipe Oil or a similar product, I just used one from Armstrong Clark that has a bit of red mahogany color in it. I previously used Ipe Oil


Jane September 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm

I just wanted to say thank you for your help regarding my ipe deck. It has taken a few weeks for the weather to cooperate and get the deck cleaned. Today I finished applying the Messmer’s UV Plus oil finish and the deck looks good. Your help and advice gave me the encouragement to get this job done. Thank you.


Jay Sroufe September 30, 2013 at 10:20 am

We have tongue and groove ipe on our screened porch. Last years application of Penofin never dried thoroughly it’s still a little sticky. I want to clean and re oil but I’m not sure if your soap recipe will work for that. Any suggestions. Also I don’t know what TSP is. Thanks for your reply I will keep you updated. Jay


The Handyguys September 30, 2013 at 10:29 am

The TSP solution may clean it. Its cheap and wont do any damage. TSP is Tri Sodium Phospahte you can get it in the paint section of the hardware store. There is deck cleaner instructions on the box.


Andrew L Blank May 29, 2014 at 11:54 pm

I had Ipe decks put on my house on the beach on Long Island in New York about 18 months ago. They were never stained and they have turned grey. The house is right on the ocean. The house is on three level house with decks one or two decks on every level. There are probably over 1000 square feet of decking.

Do you advise treating the wood to maintain it and if so what should I do to it?

If I do want to stain it, is it too late and if not, what would be needed?

Thank you so much for your help.


The Handyguys May 30, 2014 at 9:22 am

If you like the grey look then do nothing. The Ipe will out last you and I. Stain for looks only. Personally, I wouldn’t do it at this point. It will be a yearly maintenance chore once you do it. Enjoy the deck.


Jennifer June 2, 2014 at 5:10 pm

We have just moved into this house that is about 10 years old. I just learned that we have this Ipe decking and am now in the middle of cleaning it. I can’t believe the difference in color once cleaned. I have no idea if it has ever been treated. I love the look of the color once cleaned and I’m wondering if it’s too late to start treating it or if I should just leave it to go gray? The deck faces North and doesn’t get a lot of sun exposure. I’m not able to clean through the slats of wood and there is still a lot of algae that you can see. If you don’t recommend staining how often should I clean? and how long before it goes gray again? Thank you.


The Handyguys June 3, 2014 at 9:37 am

Its not too late to start treating it, the color will last longer but it will be a yearly task. Get it as clean as possible, maybe use a pressure washer to help with the algae between the boards.
Use something like ‘Ipe Oil’ or Penofin which will darken and enrich the look. Here are some comparisons.
I have used Ipe Oil and Armstrong. I though the Armstrong imparted too much red color. I may try the Penofin.


Jennifer June 6, 2014 at 9:06 am

Another question…. if we decide to treat it and later on decide not to I’m assuming it would just go back to gray? Would there be a difference in the wood if we treat it and then decide not to do it a few years down the road? I’m just wondering if we should start or not. Also how do you know if you need to sand it or not? 1/2 the deck is covered within a screened porch which the wood looks much better than the exposed part of the deck.


The Handyguys June 6, 2014 at 10:53 am

Yes, it will turn back to gray. You will have uneven areas for a while, more sun the faster it will gray. Cleaning with bleach/tsp (recipe on the tsp box) will even things out. Sanding will also even it out.


Jennifer June 9, 2014 at 12:03 am

Sorry for all of the questions. So what if I cleaned the deck with a metal wire brush? Will that ruin the wood? I also think im not going to treat the wood and let it go gray again. I just want to make sure it will be ok because of the brush I used.

Ilene June 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Hi – what a helpful site!
We just discovered that our conservatory greenhouse floor is ipay. The greenhouse was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy and a new one was built in its footprint. The floor will have little exposure to the elements, though sometimes rain comes in from the top vents. Otherwise, it’s like a casual sunroom with some gardening accessories around. I expect we will have some meals in it; and read and relax a bit in the cooler weather. In the warmer weather we’ll probably just use it to house gardening equipment.
From your advice on this column, it sounds like we should just clean it and let it be. Besides cleaning with your suggested TSP solution, any other advice? Is sanding the floor necessary for a casual space?


The Handyguys June 24, 2014 at 10:20 am

No need to sand it unless there are rough spots, splinters or scratches you want to remove. If I wanted to have that rich wood furniture look I could clean and sand a bit then oil finish.


Ilene June 24, 2014 at 11:35 am

Thank you! Another question: there are two square holes in the floor where the original greenhouse posts used to be. I was thinking of simply patching with some wood and leaving be – perhaps there will be an indoor/outdoor rug to cover. Any thoughts on that? Appreciate the guidance!


The Handyguys June 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Sure, you could patch it. See if you can find someone putting in an Ipe deck near you and ask for some scraps.


David June 29, 2014 at 10:52 am

I am ready to put down my ipe decking did you oil all four sides first? Planing on using Ipe Oil and Ipe Seal for the fresh cut end grain

How did you remove the factory end grain wax seal that is sometimes on the top finished side if the ipe? I have boards with small wax spots five or six inches from the ends

Is it ok to spot sand out imperfections or do you need to sand the entire board.

Thanks for the great info.


The Handyguys June 30, 2014 at 11:36 am

I did not oil the decking. I did oil my rails. I didn’t oil the decking because I was using plugs that would need sanded. I used the end grain sealer on all cut ends, I applied over any factory applied end grain sealer. You can try sanding out any end grain sealer that is on the surface of the board. You can spot sand.


Karen July 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Just reading perusing your website and find it very informative.
My question is : Can the cleaning solution you suggest be safely used to clean a dock made of IPE wood? The solution would naturally end up in the lake and we certainly do not want to do anything to harm the lake.
If it shouldn’t be used in this circumstance, what would you suggest?
Thank you for all your information.


The Handyguys July 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

TSP is Phosphate, a common cleaning agent but also used in fertilizer. Phosphates can cause algae growth which can upset a natural balance of nutrients in water. In most cases the phosphate will be diluted and filtered out in the ground and not cause an issue. If the rinse water will flow directly into a sensitive body of water you may want to just try to clean with water only (pressure washer).


Ken July 26, 2014 at 10:53 am

There are some other sites that say that the bleach will damage the IPE and should never be used. I put down IPE because I want a long term good looking deck. Is there any concern with the bleach damaging the IPE or is that a non-issue due to the short period of time it is on the wood, as long as it is rinsed completely?


The Handyguys July 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I would be curious as to the source of the warning against bleach. I have used it without issues.


Vince August 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I am about to have an Ipe deck installed. New boards. I cleaned them with Penofin Stage one cleaner, let dry for a day then sealed with Penofin oil. The wood turned very red in colour to the point where my wife does not want the deck finished. I see lots of pictures where the Ipe is a nice brown colour. Is it the Penofin that turned the wood red? Thanks


The Handyguys August 5, 2014 at 10:49 am

Some Penofin products may have some color. It will fade within a year then you can apply something different.


Debbie August 23, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Hi, Thank you for all of your help. My very large back deck has quite a bit of tree sap. Today, I used a pressure washer and tried scrapping it up; a lot of the big chunks came off, but now there are big patches white smeary sap. I assume my deck needs to be sanded to remove the rest of the sap, would it be better to wait and sand on a colder day so the sap is hard? Thank you for your ideas.


The Handyguys August 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

You could try scrubbing with turpentine (the real stuff) while the sap is soft.


Mike October 13, 2014 at 9:46 pm

What are your thoughts on using Australian timber oil?


The Handyguys October 20, 2014 at 2:50 pm

I like it in general. I haven’t used it on my Ipe deck though. I have used it on mahogany outdoors and it looks good for quite a while.


Mike July 16, 2015 at 5:49 pm

I have used only Cabot Australian Timber oil on my Ipe deck and it works great. I didnt get enough time for two coats of oil after the deck was put in…late in the season and ran out of warm dry weather here in PA. This very late spring I sanded it to even out some rough spots with an orbital sander and 60 grit.

Then I did the Unthinkable…laid down a coat with a roller cut to width of one board. Some say it will go on too thick and be sticky. I waited for 3 nice hot days in a row and laid it down on the first. Took me 4 hours to do it though.

Let me say…the wood is gorgeous and I marvel at it every time I walk by the window. It never looked this good last year after the one coat. I used the natural color Australian Timber oil and the color is a deep brown with a slight red tint which I think comes from the wood. I kept every one off of it for those three days and it’s not even tacky…perfect job, perfect look. Let me know if you want pictures…I can email you a few.


The Handyguys July 20, 2015 at 5:47 pm

Yes, send some pics to I’ll try and add them here.


The Handyguys July 20, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Mike awesome looking deck
Mike's Ipe Deck
Mike's Ipe Deck


Mike July 20, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Thanks guys…we love it!

John April 5, 2015 at 7:12 pm

Sorry if this is a repeat question. Our ipe deck was installed here in Colorado late last fall and the contractor didn’t seal all the end cuts. Here it is spring, and we have a fair amount of checking. My wife is convinced we should seal the ends with the wax sealer. Is it too late for that?


The Handyguys April 8, 2015 at 9:12 am

Sealing may minimize further checking but may be impractical where you have butt joints but exposed ends should be easy to access and seal.


Val Lukeman May 2, 2015 at 10:10 am

Ipe deck installed last fall. This week we washed the deck. Next day applied Ipe Oil (by DeckWise) on a warm sunny day. 12 hours later it rained. Now deck was “leopard spots” all over it. What can we do to get rid of the spots?


Mike July 16, 2015 at 5:53 pm

I had a bit of that due to a late in the year application in 2014. Wait for a few nice days, try to rub some out with a rag and a little oil…if not, run another coat on it over the whole thing…it worked for me!


Billie May 15, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Hi We had tons of snow this year and our ipe deck is covered in mildew. How often can you safelky powerwash? I feel the wood splintering a little and it feels rough. We don’t want to oil and have to do yearly maintenance. Deck is huge 1000 square feet Thanks


The Handyguys May 19, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Power washing does raise the grain a bit. Try just cleaning with TSP/bleach, the recipe is on the box. You put it on with a scrub brush and hose it off. That will clean off any mold. I think its safe to use a power washer once a year if you are not aggressive and don’t gouge the wood.


Irene June 17, 2015 at 12:23 pm

My ipe deck has grayed and I want to re-stain it to bring it back to life. I don’t want it gray. There are black stains on the deck from furniture and an outside heater. How do I remove the black marks before I stain? I tried muriatic acid but it didn’t work. Help!


The Handyguys June 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm

The acid is one way. More commonly “wood bleach” is used to remove such stains. You could also sand the stains away. If you just clean and re-oil the deck they will be less noticeable but still present.


Rita July 3, 2015 at 7:26 am

We live in MA and just finished putting in a new IPE deck. Now 2 weeks later we just finished applying Penafin. Love the rich redish color that it turned and still shows all the beautiful grain. We noticed some of the wood seems to have small splits and is rough in spots. Why? Will the oil eventually correct that? I don’t think the contractor put anything on the boards before installing (except sealing the end cuts) since the beauty of this dense wood is that you supposedly don’t have to do anything to it. Should it be sanded to smooth it out. Do I need to wait?


The Handyguys July 3, 2015 at 2:37 pm

if the end grain was properly sealed then the splits will not get worse. Any sanding should have been done before applying the oil finish. if you sand now you will then need to touch up the oil finish and it might not blend well and may not look right. I would wait until next spring when you re-oil the deck. Sand any rough spots, clean then re-oil. Good luck. if you want to send a picture or two I’ll add them to the comments. mail to


Nick July 6, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Hey guys I am in the process of stripping an Ipe deck. It has Sikkens on it and then Australian timber oil. I applied the stripper with a garden sprayer as recommended and as it was left on for a few minutes it turned the wood black. Is that normal? I scraped off what came up and power washed it and the boards remain black. What should I do from here? Thanks for your help


The Handyguys July 6, 2015 at 7:33 pm

I’m not sure what to tell you. I once tried a stripper product and noticed it was turning stuff black as well. I stopped before I got to deep. Also, for others reading this, the stripper can damage painted balusters or other hardware.

I would try cleaning with the bleach/tsp mixture. The recipe is on this new post.


Don July 12, 2015 at 9:21 am

Just installed a new IPE deck we want the deck to turn gray as it ages, by putting the ipe oil on it will that stop the graying process and is there a product to use to maintain the deck and still achieve the gray look


The Handyguys July 16, 2015 at 9:09 am

Don – If you like the gray then do not oil the deck. No need. Just let mother nature take its course and don’t use any product. Congrats!


Terrance Williams July 28, 2015 at 9:58 pm

Congrats on getting audio and video. I love the color of your deck and have been considering using the iron wood for a deck myself. The maintenance definitely pays off and I like that it does not have to be done very often.


Jo Coke July 31, 2015 at 3:29 pm

New ipe deck, bleaching from sun. Unreliable contractor, so really appreciate your column. Thanks.


Neil McCann August 5, 2015 at 5:18 am

Hi there. I cleaned my Ipe decking using a pressure washer. It needed cleaning as there was some green patches where the garden furniture had been sitting. I did it while it was raining and now it has left horrible lap/patchy marks on the wood. Am I best to leave it and wait for it to change over time or can I sand it back a little to get rid of the lap/patchy marks?
I wish I had found this website before I did anything.


The Handyguys August 5, 2015 at 4:17 pm

A light sanding, 150 grit, should do the trick.


sanjay September 8, 2015 at 10:02 am

We installed an IP deck last year. We followed a friend’s advice and applied several coats of diesel to it. This year the wood looks very dry and has cracked in a few places. Is this normal or could this be due to the diesel? What would the best way to handle the dry wood at this point?


The Handyguys September 8, 2015 at 10:36 am

I have never heard of applying diesel but I suspect it acts like many other oil based products. You should re-oil it, I would use a commercial product made for this purpose. Ipe Oil, Penofin or something else. Or, you could just leave it as is if you like the grey look.


MadMaxx September 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm

I’m not sure what qualifications the knucklehead had that gave you that advice but don’t ever do that again. Tell them to take a chemistry course first! Any petroleum fuel product is going to act like a desiccant and leave wood looking very dry. Diesel can be used to cut thicker oils and even as a good cleanup for spilled oil in the garage.

I would use TSP to clean the deck first to remove any detergents left behind after the diesel evaporated and possibly use a power sprayer at a distance so as not to gouge the wood. Lay down your first coat of Ipe oil, or the like,with a roller to really get it on heavy before winter sets in. Make sure you have three good days in a row with warm temps and no rain. So you can wash in the morning and let it dry and allow the deck to get good and warm before applying the roller coat. The two days after are to allow the wood to absorb and DO NOT let anyone on it for the two days following application.


Mark September 8, 2015 at 11:59 am

I have a 4 year old Cumaru deck. I have applied Cabots Australian Timber Oil with Natural finish color twice and it lasts a year at best before it fades to almost nothing. The vertices surfaces hold the oil a bit longer but the deck surface is almost totally gray in about a year. My question is using a product with a tint in it last longer. Would there be an issue if I go to another oil based product such as IPE Oil, Armstrong Clark with the new product blending with the Cabot brand which I will never use again on this type of deck? Do you have a favorite stain for Cumaru? I also have been hearing talk about dye’s for Cumaru have you heard anything about that? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks and take care!


The Handyguys September 14, 2015 at 4:24 pm

I tried the Clark product thinking the same thing, more color would be better UV blocking which would help it last longer. Nope, in my traffic areas with direct sun it went gray as quick as anything else. Then, when it was time to re-oil i had areas I needed to clean off the clark tinted stain so i have an even finished product.


abdel September 14, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Hello Brian,

I have a new IPE deck and watched your youtube video where you mentioned that you decided to go/try Penofin oil stain on your deck, as IPE oil could not be patched. I would like to hear your feedback about Penofin, are you happy with the result, is it better than IPE oil ?

What is your ultimate recommendation, shall we oil stain the IPE deck or leave to grey ?



The Handyguys September 14, 2015 at 4:22 pm

i applied the Penofin for hardwoods in the spring of this year, its now mid September. I’m not thrilled at how the penofin has aged. As I recall, Ipe Oil grayed, Penofin seems to turn a bit blackish on its way to gray. I’m in direct sunlight all day and I know that is the toughest environment for keeping the color.

If you are okay with the gray then do nothing. The oil is mainly aesthetic.


abdel September 14, 2015 at 5:32 pm

many thx for the quick answer and appreciate the work you are doing ! I was about to pull the trigger on Penofin, but based on your answer i will let the deck gray out. thx Brian.


Mark September 14, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Have you ever tried or heard about people trying Penofin Marine Oil on a IPE deck? If so was it the red or blue can and what were the results? Loved the Video but need to really get into the care staining/oiling the deck. Nobody really gets deep into the topic. Thanks


Rita Lee September 16, 2015 at 6:56 pm

We put our deck in in June, here by the lake in MA. Oiled it with Penofin transparent oil. Loved the rich mahogany look. Still looks great! Might do it one more time before winter because it is the 1st year. Wish I had done a little more research on checking on quality of the IPE that I got because I hear the there are many levels of quality. Some of the boards are thicker than others and some very much darker, almost black. Despite all that, we love the new deck. I researched composite decking material and previously had PVC decking. I found nothing good. Many companies are not honoring their warranties, blaming the installer, and there are many suits out there.


John September 21, 2015 at 11:31 am

We laid a new IPE deck and sealed all cut ends with an IPE end sealer as we went along. The end sealer has seemed to bleed through a bit at each butt joint. How can I clean these up before applying the final coat. Its seems to have bled all the way through.

Thank You



The Handyguys September 30, 2015 at 1:36 pm

You may be able to sand it off the visible spots.


Rita Lee September 30, 2015 at 2:22 pm

We cleaned and oiled our new IPE deck at the end of June. I think I will need to clean and put another coat on before winter since many areas, especially the sunny spots have grayed some. How cold can it get at night before it is too cold to use Penofin?


The Handyguys September 30, 2015 at 2:27 pm

They say 45 Degrees for application temp. I would take that to mean do not apply if the temp will drop below 45 degrees before its dry.


Mike Mc October 1, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Australian timber oil states no lower than 50 degrees for 48 hours.


Jacob U October 25, 2015 at 7:50 pm


I hade my ipe deck for 10 years now. Even if I cleaned and re-oilded ever 12 months the harsh morning sun would turn the stain black. I decided sand it down because not even cleaning and presure washing was getting the black out. It has been 8 months and half the deck turned almost as dirty without any products. I am just about to clean it again and I am hoping it will clean much easier since it was not re-oilded. Do you recommend anything at all for it to turn silver gray without half the deck turning black and dirty? Should I just be cleaning it more often?



The Handyguys October 26, 2015 at 4:19 pm

I have had good results cleaning with TSP and bleach. The recipe is on the box. Good luck


Rick Crane November 16, 2015 at 11:27 pm

i installed an IPE deck 6 years ago and have never put any finishes on it… Half of the deck is covered and the other half is exposed to the LA sun morning and afternoon. The deck under the cover is a beautiful silver grey and the exposed deck is dirty with soot and mold all over it…. Can i just power spray it a few times a year as i prefer it to go natural…I love the way it looks under the cover but the sun exposed part looks orange, dirty black and ugly… What would you do?


The Handyguys November 17, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Lightly power wash it may be all it needs. If you need more I would try washing with some TSP cleaner. If you need to me even more aggressive try the TSP/bleach mixture suggested on the back of the TSP box. I would not use a commercial deck cleaner or commercial deck brightener.


margot Toomey March 9, 2016 at 1:38 pm

My client hs an IPE deck that got stained when residual chemical was left on her deck after it was pressure washed. Can the checmical staining be removed by the ISP and bleach as you mentioned, and then oiled? Or are chemical stains permanent?


The Handyguys March 9, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Maybe. First, just try water alone, lots of water. if that doesn’t work try the TSP by itself. Then try the TSP/bleach mix. if none of those then sanding may make it go away.


James March 31, 2016 at 12:21 am

Our deck is two year old and we have oiled it with messmer every 6 months. Because of this it had darkened. It looks good but we have lost the rich wood grains like when it was lighter. To return it to the original tone, which was much lighter, do we need to sand it first?


The Handyguys April 13, 2016 at 5:03 pm

No need to sand first, but the TSP/bleach method will get you close. Sanding AFTER cleaning with TSP/bleach will make it like new but may not be needed.


Kathleen April 25, 2016 at 7:17 pm

I have an Ipe deck and the installer sank the screws and covered them with color putty rather than plugs. Every year, some of the ‘putty plugs’ pop out and I just replace them with color putty again. Would you recommend replacing them with wood plugs instead? If so, where do I get them? Are they made of the same Ipe wood, or do they need to be stained to match?


The Handyguys May 5, 2016 at 2:09 pm

You can buy Ipe plugs but they require a very specific hole size. Measure carefully your hole and see if any will fit. Standard sizes are 1/4″ and 3/8″ here


Greg May 23, 2016 at 7:22 am

Just finishing an IPE deck at my daughter’s house, built over our mild 2015-16 New England winter, and plan to clean and stain deck with Penofin Hardwood oil soon. My question is should we use the same clean/stain techniques for the IPE rails and post sleeves, or are there any special considerations for the vertical pieces and rail sides? The balusters are black aluminum. Thanks for the great podcast and Q+A info.


The Handyguys June 14, 2016 at 12:09 pm

I use the cleaner on everything. I too have black aluminum balusters. The hardest part is keeping the penofin off the balusters. I found it was inevitable and just keep a rag handy and wipe off all my drips.


Marcia May 23, 2016 at 2:37 pm

We had an ipe deck installed 4 years ago on the south side of our home which gets lots of sun in the afternoon. The wood was left natural and has turned a silver grey until a few months ago when black spots began showing up on the wood. There is a underdeck ceiling which has a water drainage system around the perimeter of the ceiling and there is a foot of air space between the ipe and the metal ceiling. Can someone please tell me why mold is forming on this deck and how should it be treated? Thank you.


The Handyguys June 14, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Try just hosing it off, if thats not enough then try washing it with TSP cleaner alone and a scrub brush, if thats not sufficient then TSP with bleach will definitely clean it. The recipe is on the back of the TSP box.


Alice May 31, 2016 at 8:42 pm

I cleaned my ipe deck with the tsp and bleach like you recommended. I did one half with the full quart of bleach because it gets less sun and did the other half with 2 cups of bleach added. The side with the full amount of bleach looks brown, the other part with the lesser amount of bleach came out silver and looks great. My question is – how do I get the two sides to match up? I may have left the solution on the side with the larger amount of bleach longer as well. I cleaned it with a hand brush as well as a brush on a handle. I am not planning on oiling at all.


The Handyguys June 14, 2016 at 11:53 am

They will naturally even out over time. Maybe a couple months. I would suggest just enjoy the deck and not worry. Schools out for summer!


Harold June 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm

The TSP and bleach solution worked unbelievably well on our ipe deck. We’ve used different products over the years and nothing cleaned it like this. Thanks! Oh, and it’s a lot cheaper, too.


The Handyguys June 14, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Yep! Thanks for taking the time to comment.


Christine July 17, 2016 at 10:47 pm

I bought a home with a ipe deck it is grey and I’ve live here 2 1/2 years now. In the summer it’s great. In the winter months the boards must be placed to tight because it’s like walking on hills and valleys in 3 specific areas the boards raise right up and then in the summer they all settle down. Do you think if I oil the boards this might happen?


The Handyguys July 19, 2016 at 8:36 am

I don’t think oiling it will have any effect on the movement.


Mike July 19, 2016 at 5:24 pm

The Handyguys are correct. Oiling it will have no affect. Ipe is so tightly wound internally that contraction/expansion are minimal. Assuming it’s a side to side problem and not two butts ends that are causing the problem…It sounds to me like the stringers are heaving either from a small ice jam if it’s freezing outside to just the stringers themselves contracting in the cold. I believe the installer just didn’t space the boards correctly. If it were me, I would take out the middle board or two in the jamming area and shave a tad off each side…like maybe a sixteenth of an inch, and reinstall. If you’re not capable or don’t have the equipment, call a lumberyard or someone with a table saw…DO NOT attempt to rip one sixteenth of an inch off of one of these or it will most likely be all waves along the edge.


The Handyguys July 19, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Thanks Mike – A tablesaw if its an issue across the width will do the trick.


Christine July 20, 2016 at 2:09 am

Thank you so much. This is great advice. I appreciate your help. Christine.


Brenda August 8, 2016 at 3:05 pm

We haven’t cleaned our IPE deck for at least 3 years. We pressured washed after letting vinegar sit on it. There is still the blackish residue from lots of tree pollen having settled on it over these years. I will def. try the TSP/bleach/water solution. We originally used the Australian Timber oil in clear, but I really love the darker colors so thought I would used the mahogany color this time. Will I be sorry when this starts to come off/fade? Or should I stick with the clear oil to minimize the appearance of splotching? Also, I see several comments where people have applied 2 coats of the Timber Oil. We read that you shouldn’t apply a second coat if water beads up on the first coat as this will make the surface very slippery and somewhat dangerous. Thanks for your input!


The Handyguys August 9, 2016 at 10:37 am

The tsp with bleach will certainly take care of the black gunk. If you are talking about the Mahogany colored cabotts Australian timber oil. I havent used it on my Ipe deck but have used it on another outdoor project. I think it should be fine. I stay away from traditional stains for Ipe.


Ioana August 8, 2016 at 4:58 pm

I am about to install an IPE deck in Aruba in the Caribbeans. I just got the wood, it looks great. The deck will surround a pool, for now it has chlorine, maybe later we’ll change it to salt. The wood is not flat, it has striations. What do I need to use in terms of oiling, my choices might be limited though? Should I do 6 months maintenance in the beginning considering the sun there? Aruba is very close to the Equator, not so much rain, it is not a tropical climate. Should I oil it first on the back of the planks as well?
Thanks in advance.


The Handyguys August 9, 2016 at 10:34 am

Personally – I would be inclined to NOT oil it at all. It will turn gray and then not need any maintenance beyond cleaning as needed. If you do oil it, use Ipe Oil or Penofin for Hardwoods.


Ioana August 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Thanks, I found Penofin for Hardwoods on the island and I will use it every 6-7 months in the beginning. Another question is what should I use to seal the cuts? Can I use the same Penofin or do I need something else? I believe the wax will melt in that climate. There are 3 choices of color for Penofin, clear, ipe and redwood. I will probably try to use either ipe or clear, does somebody know anything about the difference between these 2 choices on Ipe?
Thank you again.


The Handyguys August 11, 2016 at 1:53 pm

Natural is fine. I suppose the Ipe color may have some additional pigment in it, i haven’t tried it. For the cuts, Use Anchorseal if you can It wont melt.


lgershman August 8, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Power washing severely damaged my ipe deck, leaving black gouged streaks. Can deck be sanded? would greatly appreciate any suggestions.


The Handyguys August 9, 2016 at 10:31 am

You must be careful with power washers. You must have used a very fine tip with very high pressure…
Yes, the deck can be sanded.


The Handyguys August 9, 2016 at 10:44 am

Yes, you can sand. Be careful with pressure washers.


Christine August 10, 2016 at 8:30 am

I meeting with my contractor today about removing my ipe deck to re space it, clean, sand and oil before replacing it. My husband prefers anything but the silver look so we are curious if painting ipe is an option? If nor, what oil is best to keep it darker?


The Handyguys August 11, 2016 at 10:26 am

Any coating that creates a film (paint, solid stain) will be a maintenance nightmare. Ipe with oil finish is already hard enough in that it requires annual maintenance to keep it from looking gray. To keep it looking darker longer keep it out of the sun. A pergola or sun shade would help I suppose.


Mike August 11, 2016 at 3:55 pm

I would think switching to a paint would be a bad idea. First off…why cover up one of the most expensive and beautiful woods with paint? Secondly, if the Ipe has ever been oiled, I would think the paint would eventually lift off. Even with an oil based primer and paint, covering the pores is going to raise the internal temperature of the wood and possibly seep oil thus lifting the paint…


Christine August 11, 2016 at 10:40 am

Thanks for or the information. Is there ipe oil you suggest?


The Handyguys August 11, 2016 at 10:42 am

Right now I like Ipe Oil and Penofin


Christine August 11, 2016 at 11:07 am

Thanks again. I’m going to use it. I’ll take before and after pics and send them to you.


Rita Lee August 12, 2016 at 12:57 pm

We put our IPA deck on last June. After a month we washed and sealed it using Penofin clear. We loved the nice mahogany red that matched the cinnamon color of our house. We washed and treated it again before winter and then washed and treated it again this spring. It is much darker all over and very dark in some areas. I think we may just let it go to silver, which would go with our black steel railing and granite Chimney. I think it would need to be sanded and sealed again to keep it the lighter cinnamon color…too much work.


Trish August 27, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Today cleaned pie deck with Olympic dec cleaner and it had dried very spotty. Do you know why? It is about 2 yr old and never treated just cleaned in spring but very shady yard and there was heavy Mold and mossy build up. I got rid of that but no spots. Perhaps I did not get all off?
Thank you


The Handyguys August 30, 2016 at 10:03 am

I would ask Olympic. I use my own cleaning formula. See here


Terri September 16, 2016 at 5:49 pm

We have recently had a cumaru deck built here in central Illinois. It was professionally sanded and then finished with Ipe oil. It is beautiful. Approximately 3 weeks after the oil was applied we returned home after being away for 5 days and find several areas that appear to be mildewed. I took a wet rag and attempted to see if it would wipe off but it did not. The oil was applied after being sanded one day and then applied the next. Was it improperly prepared? Is this common so soon? Do not want to just let it gray – love the beautiful tones the IPE oil enhanced. The wood finishing guy is coming by Monday. I did contact the company we bought the cumaru from and he said a “quick power wash should be enough to take care of it”. Any suggestions or thoughts?


The Handyguys September 19, 2016 at 12:12 pm

It sounds like it was correctly installed and materials correctly applied. Just try to hose it off first. Second, I would just try a bit of dish soap and a scrub brush to clean it. If that doesnt work, maybe a power washer if its bad.


al September 24, 2016 at 8:50 pm

We have an Ipe deck that is 10 years old. Over the years we have used Penofin Oil (for Rosewood) 3 times. The last time was last year and we power washed it first. It did not look that good this year. We used a deck stripper and left it set overnight. The next day we power washed it. We have several board that look black and many areas with white marks in all different directions. We have spoken to a few professional deck people. Two of them recommended steam cleaning the deck. One pro guy would then use paint brush applying Arbor translucent (water based). The other pro guy would use lambswools applying Australian Timber Oil (Mahogony Flame) to perhaps hide some of the marks if they do not come out. No guarantees from either pro guy. What do you suggest and recommend. We live in NJ and temps will start dropping below 50 degrees within the next couple of weeks.


The Handyguys September 27, 2016 at 9:13 am

I would clean it with the TSP recipe listed in the post above. That should do the trick.


D. Leslie January 16, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Our Ipe deck is covered, but several years old, so it has turned gray. We are happy with the color, and don’t want to apply stain. I’m wondering if there is a way to clean the stairs and edges of the deck where it is exposed to the elements and turned black. Pressure washing doesn’t wash this off. We have not tried tsp. Is this the correct product to use? Thanks.


The Handyguys January 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

TSP with bleach would do the trick. The recipe is on the TSP box.


Laura Sikes February 14, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Hi! I need help! My Ipe deck had a jacuzzi sitting on it for about 8 years. There is now a very noticeable black staining. Contractors tried to sand it out but the stain is deep. Will TSP remove this stain? The entire deck was sanded and oil with Ipe oil. Do we need to also seal it? TIA


The Handyguys February 16, 2017 at 1:11 pm

TSP wont remove the stain. TSP is essentially pure concentrated soap. i would try Oxalic acid (Known as wood bleach). You can get it at Amazon here Good luck.


Bryan Billings March 25, 2017 at 10:09 pm

Hi Guys,

I moved into a house that has a large IPE deck. I dont think its been taken care of since at least 2008. Its been a real pain to get all of the mold off. It was very thick in areas. I tried 3 differnt solutions from the hardware store and it didnt work well. Even with a 3100 PSI pressure washer it wouldnt come off all the way. I tried the TSP and bleach and so far its doing a better job but still in some areas its being a pain. I may have to invest in a harder bristle brush. I have done 2 full day sessions and only 75% done. How many days of dry weather do i need to apply the penofin oil? temps?



The Handyguys March 27, 2017 at 3:52 pm

I would give it 24 hours of dry sunny weather. Don’t rush it, water and oil do not mix. As far as temp, Penofin says a minimum of 45 degrees and does not specify an upper limit. You can leave the bleach/tsp solution on the deck longer and scrub more for tougher stains. For small areas with really dark stains you could try “wood bleach” Good luck.


Mike March 27, 2017 at 4:56 pm

I agree with the handy guys but I would go with straight Clorox or a 50/50 minimum and let it soak especially spraying between the boards. Gently hose off and then power spray. Here’s where we differ…. I would let it dry for a couple days and then sand it. The power spraying is going to raise some of the grains and the splinters you get from Ipe are tiny…you can barely see them and all they do is itch. Sand it and oil it and keep people off of it. It may take a couple seasons of care to make this thing look good but don’t rush it. Please don’t use a wire brush…it will be a regret you can’t fix!


The Handyguys March 27, 2017 at 5:02 pm

If you sand it, use a coarse paper. 60 grit or 40 grit. If its a large area you can use a vibrating floor sander. If you go to a fine paper you will effect the takeup of the oil.


The Handyguys June 9, 2014 at 10:02 am

I wouldnt use a wire brush. Just clean with TSP. (Try the bleach/tsp recipe on the TSP box) and use a nylon scrub brush. Use a hose or a pressure washer to rinse clean.


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