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Ipe Deck Maintenance

by The Handyguys

in Audio Podcasts, Radio, 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

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{ 15 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.


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