The Best Outdoor Uses of Ipe Wood

Ipe (pronounced “ee-pay”) is a large hardwood tree typically found in Central and South American countries. It is sometimes also known as Brazilian hardwood, Brazilian walnut or ironwood. Lauded for its many incredible characteristics, ipe is highly durable, strong and has a natural resistance to damp or wet conditions, insects and even decay. It’s these properties that make it the top choice for many commercial and residential uses such as decking and siding. In fact, the famous Atlantic City boardwalk, and many other municipal boardwalks along the East Coast of the United States are made of ipe wood.

The physical hardness and density of ipe is amazing, especially when compared to other popular wood types. The Janka test measures wood hardness and it has determined that ipe is over 350% harder than teak wood, with some comparing its strength to that of steel. This strength and density also makes it one of the heaviest woods available, about 40% heavier than teak. With the same fire rating as concrete and steel, ipe wood resists flames better and for much longer than most woods and its density means it doesn’t float in water.

Ipe wood decking and siding are highly popular thanks to ipe’s low maintenance and durable, scratch-resistant surface. As decking or flooring, ipe is perfect because the wood finish is smooth with no splinters. Natural ipe is eco-friendly and doesn’t require the use of any toxic chemicals. Its lifespan is about 25 years — the highest possible category available for classification – although some say it could be up to 100 years if maintained properly.

Buildings with ipe wood siding are guaranteed to maintain their strength even in the harshest environmental conditions, particularly in coastal regions because the natural oils found in ipe make it resistant to decay and mildew. Many upscale commercial and residential projects utilize ipe wood as it is a more superior and premium choice as well as being maintenance-free.

Being such a hard wood, ipe has very different methods of installation and uses more advanced manufacturing techniques compared to other woods. To insert screws into ipe, holes must first be pre-drilled. Of course, the hardness of ipe makes it unsuitable to any intricate detailing. Paint does not adhere well to ipe due to its high oil and tannin content, but the tight grains in ipe give it a very consistent, dark coloring that normally would not require any finish other than Ipe Oil to maintain its rich, beautiful color.

In terms of ipe wood cost, it is a material that is reasonably priced for all the benefits it comes with. Cheaper than teak, clear grade western cedar is probably closest in price to ipe, but ipe wins in every aspect as you won’t be replacing or repairing your ipe wood deck or siding every 10 years as you would with other softer woods that will crack over time. It is a worthy investment as ipe is a prized outdoor material that will stand the test of time.

The Best Wooden Gates For The Home

Wooden gates are both practical and beautiful. Homeowners can install gates that help to protect their property by making it difficult for people to gain access or they can add decorative gates that improve the appearance of their home. There is a large selection of gates available in all sizes. People can choose pine, oak, spruce, cedar, Douglas fir or redwood depending on their specific taste.

Increasing Home Security

Installing heavy-duty wooden security gates is a great way to keep a home safe from intruders while maintaining the beauty of the property. The presence of wooden driveway gates deters thieves or troublemakers who do not want to make the extra effort to gain access. They also make it difficult for potential burglars to stake out a house. Criminals usually select houses that grant easy entry. A home that has a good alarm system, bright outdoor lighting, a guard dog or solid wooden gates is much less appealing to home invaders.

Improving Curb Appeal

Wooden driveway gates are a popular choice for people living in the country or the city. Homeowners can find old-fashioned wooden gates that add country charm to their property or contemporary gates that offer an elegant and refined look. The addition of wooden gates is a fantastic way to improve curb appeal and they look wonderful when added to existing wooden fences or stone walls. People can give their outdoor space a quick makeover by replacing a worn out gate with a brand new one.

Decorative Garden Gates

Creative homeowners can select unique, decorative wooden garden gates that feature a lovely design. They can choose simple garden gates that match the overall theme of their garden or elaborate gates that create a charming focal point. Some people prefer painted gates while those who like a natural wood look tend to choose stained wooden gates. Unlike other outdoor d├ęcor, garden gates suit properties of all sizes. They look fantastic in small gardens or sprawling country estates.

Baby Gate Options

Indoor wooden baby gates are essential for parents who want to keep their toddlers safe. Sturdy gates can block off dangerous stairways and prevent children from entering into dangerous areas of the home. Baby gates also keep children safely in their room so they cannot wander around the house unsupervised in the wee hours of the morning. High quality plastic baby gates work well but they are also an eyesore. Wooden baby gates on the other hand are not only effective they are also aesthetically pleasing.

Convenient Dog Gates

Most people need to keep their dog contained in a pet friendly area of the home on occasion. Wooden baby gates do an excellent job of keeping dogs out of certain rooms so they stay safe. People who want to keep their dog out of the living room, bedrooms or basement can put up swinging gates that open easily and lock securely as needed. Those who own both cats and dogs can find unique gates that allow cats to come and go freely while blocking dogs. These convenient gates are also a good choice for people who want to keep toddlers safe while giving their cat the opportunity to roam.

Developing A Solar Powered Home

Solar energy homes are slowly becoming common because they have many benefits including saving money and low carbon emissions. It is a free and clean source of power. It can be used to perform many functions because you can generate electricity from solar system. Houses can be kept warm with efficient use of solar energy and can also heat water for day-to-day use. To do so, you need a home capable of harnessing solar energy. Homes can be developed with a solar power system or it can be added later on. There are many types of green energy systems available. Each of them has their own benefits and advantages. You can develop a solar powered home which either runs completely on solar power or has provisions for use of a traditional power source when needed. Many appliances capable of running on solar power are readily available on the market nowadays. These appliances can even store energy in batteries and function at night using the stored energy.

Factors to consider before building a solar powered home

There are certain factors to consider which may prove beneficial for a solar powered home. It is important to choose the right place. Since sunlight is the source of energy, it is important that the area where you want to develop your solar powered home receives optimum sunlight. Depending upon how much sunlight the region gets, you may need bigger or smaller solar panels. It will be a good idea to build your house in such a way that the roof is in the open to receive the maximum amount of sunlight. With availability of good amount of sunlight, your solar energy home will function efficiently. If the amount of sunlight available is not optimum, you may need to install bigger solar panels for the correct production.

How to develop a solar powered home

Once you have found a suitable place, it is time to build yourself a green home. To harness solar energy you need to install a solar power system. Solar panels are the best piece of equipment available to capture energy and convert it into electricity. Solar panels should be installed on the roof of the house. Not only do these panels generate electricity but they can even store it for later use. These panels can be connected to your household circuit to run the appliances in the house. A solar water heater can also be mounted on the roof to produce hot water for daily usage. Solar water heaters have collectors which collect sunlight and convert it into heat for warming up water. You can even upgrade the circuitry of the house so that the appliances in the house can function on solar energy itself. Developing a hybrid solar energy home may prove beneficial in areas where sufficient sunlight is not available throughout the year. A hybrid system can work on solar energy and as well as traditional power sources.

Developing solar energy homes requires certain factors to be considered. Finding the best place and installing a suitable solar power system is imperative for efficient functioning of the home. Saving money and low carbon emission are the prominent benefits of green energy sources. Solar energy is always going to be freely available and it is the cleanest form of fuel you can get. Being able to harness solar power correctly can lead to energy efficient home that is self sufficient in meeting power requirements.