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The Best IPE Stains and Oil Finishes

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What are the Best IPE Stains

So what is the best IPE Stain? To better understand what stain or oil finish would work well for your IPE, it is important to understand what IPE is and why stains fail quicker.

Originating from South America and Central America, Ipe has earned its reputation because it is naturally durable, stable, resists checking, and is absolutely gorgeous. With a deep and rich red brown color, Ipe is considered by most lumber experts to be the ultimate choice for high quality decking.

IPE wood has a density of 78 per pounds/cubic foot. This is the highest rating of any decking stain and compared to softwoods like pine and cedar, IPE is 3-4 times denser. Due to this high density, stains for IPE have issues with penetration or lack there of. Since the wood allows minimal penetration of the stain, stains will fade faster.

Less stain absorption = less UV protection.

When choosing an IPE Finish you should look for:

  1. Ability to penetrate into the dense wood
  2. Fades lightly in color, not darken in color
  3. Not prone to peeling
  4. Can be cleaned and reapplied as needed
  5. UV protection

On the chart below we will rank the IPE Stains that  we sell on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest.

  Messmers IPE Oil Armstrong Defy Penofin
Penetration Into IPE 4 4 4 3 5
Fade Lightly (Not Darken) 3 3 4 5 3
Not Prone to Peeling 5 5 5 4 5
Clean and Re-coat Ability 4 4 4 4 3
UV Protection (Retaining Color) 3 4 4 4 2
           
Average Score 3.8 4 4.2 4 3.8

 

These scores are indicative to our testing and may vary depending on the age of your IPE and where you are located. Feel free to ask any questions as to which stain would work for you.

The Best IPE Stains

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Comments   

RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Greg E.W.:
Our ipe deck and steps is about 15 years old, and I pressure washed it twice. I think there's too much fiber to stain right away, but to get rid of some of the gray weathering I think I'll pressure wash it once more before lightly sanding it.
Unless you recommend something different. So which stain would you recommend to slow the graying, and then how often might you think I'd need to re-apply? (I'm in northern Vermont, where there's plenty of rain and winter freeze-thaw cycles.

Use Armstrong Clark or Defy Hardwood. IPE requires an annual application of stain.
opwdecks , May 2nd , 2018
  • -3
Homeowner
Our ipe deck and steps is about 15 years old, and I pressure washed it twice. I think there's too much fiber to stain right away, but to get rid of some of the gray weathering I think I'll pressure wash it once more before lightly sanding it.
Unless you recommend something different. So which stain would you recommend to slow the graying, and then how often might you think I'd need to re-apply? (I'm in northern Vermont, where there's plenty of rain and winter freeze-thaw cycles.
Greg E.W. , May 1st , 2018
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Lisa:
I have a 12 year old IPE deck / covered porch in the Seattle area. Each summer I have put a coat of a waterproof sealer on the porch. The part of the deck that that receives the rain is turning a darker grey. I would like to even out the color what product do you suggest?

Thanks for your help!

Hello, you will need to remove the old coatings first with a stain stripper. Once the wood is stripped, use a wood brightener to even it out. After the prep, stain with Defy Hardwood or Armstrong Clark.
opwdecks , June 26th , 2017
  • +1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
I have a 12 year old IPE deck / covered porch in the Seattle area. Each summer I have put a coat of a waterproof sealer on the porch. The part of the deck that that receives the rain is turning a darker grey. I would like to even out the color what product do you suggest?

Thanks for your help!
Lisa , June 26th , 2017
  • +2
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Frank Lloyd:
Hello. We recently had 300 feet of dock installed using IPE wood. Additionally we had a number of retaining walls, planters, and hose boxes built with IPE. The contractor suggests letting it weather to silver but would like to consider maintaining the natural colors. It is on a salt water bay in direct sunlight and subject to wind and spray

Confused on best product to use

Try the Defy Hardwood or the Armstrong Clark.
opwdecks , June 14th , 2017
  • +1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Hello. We recently had 300 feet of dock installed using IPE wood. Additionally we had a number of retaining walls, planters, and hose boxes built with IPE. The contractor suggests letting it weather to silver but would like to consider maintaining the natural colors. It is on a salt water bay in direct sunlight and subject to wind and spray

Confused on best product to use
Frank Lloyd , June 14th , 2017
  • +1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Phil:
10 year old deck with steps; gray and dirty from Virginia sun and trees. Original stain when built - Sikken's. What is the best stain?

Try Armstrong Clark or Defy Hardwood stains. Prep first.
opwdecks , May 4th , 2017
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
10 year old deck with steps; gray and dirty from Virginia sun and trees. Original stain when built - Sikken's. What is the best stain?
Phil , May 4th , 2017
  • -1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting :
Hi. You recomended the black walnut for IPE

I know black walnut color is listed under hardwood stain on the AC websites, but there is a couple data points that conflict.

1) in I reading the Armstrong Clark instructions for the exotic wood stain, it explicitly states to only use amber and mahogany on IPE.

2) Also when ordering samples the black walnut on your webPage it Says it is semi transparent parent. And everything I read says to avoid semi transparent stains for IPE.

Please Look at the statements from their product data sheet from their website. Second page third paragraph.

http://www.armclark.com/downloads/2016/ProdDataSemiTransHW.pdf

Are their instructions wrong? Outdated? Or Is the some misunderstanding?

Thank you.

The Black Walnut is their new color for hardwoods as of this year. There is nothing wrong with using a penetrating semi-transparen t for IPE, in fact, almost all the products we sell on this site are semi-transparen t.
opwdecks , April 12th , 2017
  • -1
Black walnut on IPe?
Hi. You recomended the black walnut for IPE

I know black walnut color is listed under hardwood stain on the AC websites, but there is a couple data points that conflict.

1) in I reading the Armstrong Clark instructions for the exotic wood stain, it explicitly states to only use amber and mahogany on IPE.

2) Also when ordering samples the black walnut on your webPage it Says it is semi transparent parent. And everything I read says to avoid semi transparent stains for IPE.

Please Look at the statements from their product data sheet from their website. Second page third paragraph.

http://www.armclark.com/downloads/2016/ProdDataSemiTransHW.pdf

Are their instructions wrong? Outdated? Or Is the some misunderstanding?

Thank you.
stevieb@microsoft.com , April 12th , 2017
  • +1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting :
Hello.
Looking for a stain. IPE Deck is 2 years old. Treated ends. Sanded. And stained only top side with Seafin Ship N Shore.

Deck is south facing with no shade and lots for rain (seattle). Would like easy to apply and avoid wiping (if possible). Deck is 400sq ft and took 2 gallons of the Ship N Shore.

Can you please recommend a stain. Performance is more important than the tone. But if I wanted the deck tone to be something it would tend towards walnut rather than redwood.

IPE will require an annual coating. Look at Armstrong Clark in Black Walnut color.
opwdecks , April 12th , 2017
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Young deck
Hello.
Looking for a stain. IPE Deck is 2 years old. Treated ends. Sanded. And stained only top side with Seafin Ship N Shore.

Deck is south facing with no shade and lots for rain (seattle). Would like easy to apply and avoid wiping (if possible). Deck is 400sq ft and took 2 gallons of the Ship N Shore.

Can you please recommend a stain. Performance is more important than the tone. But if I wanted the deck tone to be something it would tend towards walnut rather than redwood.
stevieb@microsoft.com , April 12th , 2017
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Brian Walters:
I have an IPE deck that will be a year old in June. Was built by myself and my father. I applied a coat of Deckwise Oil stain but the color faded after around 6-8 weeks. I cleaned the wood before applying the coat, but did not sand or power wash it. Was that the reason the color faded?

Deck is 19ftx21ft. Is deckwise a good option still? Planning on getting IPE wood cleaner, power washing, and applying brightener before reapplying new stain.

Your wood type requires an annual application or sooner as it will fade. 2 months does seem rather short. For the prep, you should strip and brighten if you switch brands. Richer colors will give longer UV protection. Armstrong Clark in Mahogany or Defy Hardwood in Light Walnut should hold the color better.
opwdecks , March 26th , 2017
  • -1
IPE Stain
I have an IPE deck that will be a year old in June. Was built by myself and my father. I applied a coat of Deckwise Oil stain but the color faded after around 6-8 weeks. I cleaned the wood before applying the coat, but did not sand or power wash it. Was that the reason the color faded?

Deck is 19ftx21ft. Is deckwise a good option still? Planning on getting IPE wood cleaner, power washing, and applying brightener before reapplying new stain.
Brian Walters , March 25th , 2017
  • -1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting douglas anthony:
Completing the ipe deck and had to sand wood plugs to surface with the level of the deck boards. It is obviously very patchy where sanded against the new wood. I was planning on sanding the whole deck with a random orbital sander and finish with armstrong as per your chart. I am reading very different opinions on sanding or not the new wood before I stain. Care to comment as I really am confounded with the plethora of conflicting opinions via google...? Thank you, Doug

If you stain now it will be very uneven due to your spot sanding. The best thing would be to allow the wood to natural weather and then use the Ipe Cleaner to remove the oxidation. This would allow the wood to accept the stain evenly. Your would have to let it weather for 2-4 months.
opwdecks , September 13th , 2016
  • 0
to sand or not to sand...
Completing the ipe deck and had to sand wood plugs to surface with the level of the deck boards. It is obviously very patchy where sanded against the new wood. I was planning on sanding the whole deck with a random orbital sander and finish with armstrong as per your chart. I am reading very different opinions on sanding or not the new wood before I stain. Care to comment as I really am confounded with the plethora of conflicting opinions via google...? Thank you, Doug
douglas anthony , September 13th , 2016
  • -1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Alan Close:
My ipe deck was built about ten years ago and left untreated by any surface treatment.it did not weather as I thought it should. I have pressure washed and sanded it and need to find a stain that will protect it and bring out its natural beauty. What do you recommend.

All of the stains we sell are designed for this. You can test samples here:

http://www.ipestain.com/ipe-stain-samples
opwdecks , July 29th , 2016
  • 0
Home owner
My ipe deck was built about ten years ago and left untreated by any surface treatment.it did not weather as I thought it should. I have pressure washed and sanded it and need to find a stain that will protect it and bring out its natural beauty. What do you recommend.
Alan Close , July 29th , 2016
  • +1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Ryan B:
I have t&g ipe screened porch that's a little over 8 years old. It was originally stained with a Flood stain in cedar color when orignially installed and nothing since. I did not want it stained but contractor did not listen to me when we built our house As I wanted to weather naturally. I am painting the house and no to do something on the deck. A lot of stain has worn away over the years and Painters have pressure washed a lot off and say they can sand the rest. What stain and color do you recommend? Thanks

Try the IPE Oil for this.
opwdecks , June 22nd , 2016
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Pie stain
I have t&g ipe screened porch that's a little over 8 years old. It was originally stained with a Flood stain in cedar color when orignially installed and nothing since. I did not want it stained but contractor did not listen to me when we built our house As I wanted to weather naturally. I am painting the house and no to do something on the deck. A lot of stain has worn away over the years and Painters have pressure washed a lot off and say they can sand the rest. What stain and color do you recommend? Thanks
Ryan B , June 22nd , 2016
  • 0
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting J Lee:
We are installing T&G tigerwood on a west facing front porch. What is the best product to protect the wood? The porch will eventually be screened in.

Look at Armstrong Clark or Defy Hardwood.
opwdecks , June 16th , 2016
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
We are installing T&G tigerwood on a west facing front porch. What is the best product to protect the wood? The porch will eventually be screened in.
J Lee , June 16th , 2016
  • +1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Phyllis:
I have a deck 10 years old,been stained twice with Australian Timber Oil . It is free of stain in some places and on the side rails not,patchy color. I would like to refinish to make it look new. What products do you recommend and how often to reapply? I was told the wood is tigerwood,

Prep with the Ipe Stain Stripper that we sell and pressure washing. Brighten the wood after. Stain with Armstrong Clark in amber on an annual basis for your wood type.
opwdecks , June 14th , 2016
  • 0
owner
I have a deck 10 years old,been stained twice with Australian Timber Oil . It is free of stain in some places and on the side rails not,patchy color. I would like to refinish to make it look new. What products do you recommend and how often to reapply? I was told the wood is tigerwood,
Phyllis , June 14th , 2016
  • 0
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Gary g:
I have a ton of ipe scrap that varies in size and length that I got for nearly free. I made a beautiful coffee table and have been scouring the net for the best way to protect it from finger prints, coffee spills... Any advice?

Any of our products should help.
opwdecks , May 4th , 2016
  • 0
interior ipe
I have a ton of ipe scrap that varies in size and length that I got for nearly free. I made a beautiful coffee table and have been scouring the net for the best way to protect it from finger prints, coffee spills... Any advice?
Gary g , May 4th , 2016
  • 0
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Hillary armitage:
I want to keep my new ipe deck from fading to gray. What should I use?

All the coatings we sell will help to prevent graying. IPE needs reapplication every year at a minimum.
opwdecks , April 15th , 2016
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Protecting a new deck
I want to keep my new ipe deck from fading to gray. What should I use?
Hillary armitage , April 15th , 2016
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Janice Ducate:
Hi, my carpenter just redid my roof deck with new Ipe boards. I live in Brooklyn. He lightly sanded and coated the wood with Cabot's Austalian Timber Oil, but was concerned that the formula is now 'oil modified'. He said it didn't go on the same as the old stuff. He used a lambs wool cloth and coated it lightly. 30hours later it rained and now there are horrible water stains all over. The can said 24 hrs drying time. Is Cabot's Timber Oil not the best bet anymore? From the charts, would Armstrong be better? I'm looking for a natural stain. And will he need to resend with an orbital sander? Thank you.

Yes you will have to remove first before using a different brand. Cabot changed their formulas so not the same. Use Defy Hardwood or Armstrong Clark.
opwdecks , April 5th , 2016
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Water stains on newly coated deck
Hi, my carpenter just redid my roof deck with new Ipe boards. I live in Brooklyn. He lightly sanded and coated the wood with Cabot's Austalian Timber Oil, but was concerned that the formula is now 'oil modified'. He said it didn't go on the same as the old stuff. He used a lambs wool cloth and coated it lightly. 30hours later it rained and now there are horrible water stains all over. The can said 24 hrs drying time. Is Cabot's Timber Oil not the best bet anymore? From the charts, would Armstrong be better? I'm looking for a natural stain. And will he need to resend with an orbital sander? Thank you.
Janice Ducate , April 5th , 2016
  • 0
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting LOU:
CAN IPE OIL BE USED ON MY MAHOGANY PORCHES

Yes you can.
opwdecks , March 5th , 2016
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IPE OIL
CAN IPE OIL BE USED ON MY MAHOGANY PORCHES
LOU , March 5th , 2016
  • -1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Dan:
I just purchased a Jensen Ipe patio table and chairs. Would these stains be suitable for ipe patio furniture? Or are they just for decks?

Any of the products we sell can be used on IPE furniture. Make sure that there is not already a coating or stain on the wood.
opwdecks , January 3rd , 2016
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
I just purchased a Jensen Ipe patio table and chairs. Would these stains be suitable for ipe patio furniture? Or are they just for decks?
Dan , January 3rd , 2016
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Duane:
Hi, I am looking for a finish for interior stair treads made of 3"x11"X4' solid IPE planks.
I am hoping to darken the wood as much as possible
Thank you

Try the Ipe Oil.
opwdecks , December 8th , 2015
  • 0
interior stair treads
Hi, I am looking for a finish for interior stair treads made of 3"x11"X4' solid IPE planks.
I am hoping to darken the wood as much as possible
Thank you
Duane , December 8th , 2015
  • 0
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Jose castro:
Hi. What color stain and product would you recommend to minimize the red and orange tones on IPE? Also do IPE oils come with any tint or are fully clear? Thanks

They are all tinted. See here for pictures of the colors:
http://www.ipestain.com/ipe-stain-samples
opwdecks , November 8th , 2015
  • -1
IPE oil or stain
Hi. What color stain and product would you recommend to minimize the red and orange tones on IPE? Also do IPE oils come with any tint or are fully clear? Thanks
Jose castro , November 8th , 2015
  • -1
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Connie Call:
We are installing a massaranduba deck in Southern California and would like your opinion on which of the above products is most successful in our climate.
Our contractor warns that some oils water spot. Is that your experience? And if so, which ones?
We have an existing redwood deck that will soon be refinished. What is the best stain/sealer for old redwood?
Since we will be recoating regularly can we use leftover product in the next year?

Many Thanks!
Connie

Oils should not leave water spots if properly applied and cures. Look at the Armstrong Clark or the Defy Hardwood. If you store properly it may be okay in a a year or so as long as there is not any evaporation.
opwdecks , November 5th , 2015
  • 0
home owner
We are installing a massaranduba deck in Southern California and would like your opinion on which of the above products is most successful in our climate.
Our contractor warns that some oils water spot. Is that your experience? And if so, which ones?
We have an existing redwood deck that will soon be refinished. What is the best stain/sealer for old redwood?
Since we will be recoating regularly can we use leftover product in the next year?

Many Thanks!
Connie
Connie Call , November 5th , 2015
  • 0
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting tony:
what has better UV protection in armstrong ipe stain, natural or mohohany ?

AC Mahogany will have better UV protection then the AC Amber.
opwdecks , October 15th , 2015
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uv
what has better UV protection in armstrong ipe stain, natural or mohohany ?
tony , October 15th , 2015
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting wilson:
I have a home on the beach, I have a dock on the water which is built with IPE, my pool deck , gate and front siding of my home are all IPE wood. We have tried numerous contractors and products but nothing seems to last more than one year, the pool deck and dock showing the most wear and fading to the point of almost no stain remaining. The last application we used messmers and has not faired well. Now we are looking at Sansin. What is the best recommendation for each area of my home, or is there one product that will perform just as well everywhere.

thank you.

Nothing will last more then a year with IPE on a horizontals surface. The longest we have seen will be the Armstrong Clark in Mahogany and the Defy Hardwood Stain in Light Walnut. Both still need to be cleaned and reapplied every year though. The issue is not the stain but the IPE being extremely dense. You can use the same stain for both the house and the decks. The house will last much longer since it is vertical.
opwdecks , October 14th , 2015
  • -1
Mr.
I have a home on the beach, I have a dock on the water which is built with IPE, my pool deck , gate and front siding of my home are all IPE wood. We have tried numerous contractors and products but nothing seems to last more than one year, the pool deck and dock showing the most wear and fading to the point of almost no stain remaining. The last application we used messmers and has not faired well. Now we are looking at Sansin. What is the best recommendation for each area of my home, or is there one product that will perform just as well everywhere.

thank you.
wilson , October 14th , 2015
  • 0
RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting James Smith:
After applying a Defy Hardwood stain, do you need to then apply a sealer?

No you cannot apply a sealer on top of the Defy nor is it needed.
opwdecks , September 4th , 2015
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
After applying a Defy Hardwood stain, do you need to then apply a sealer?
James Smith , September 3rd , 2015
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting Dave Pass:
Installed a new deck using mukulungu (African redwood) which is a hardwood with slightly lighter color than IPE. What stain products do you recommend to retain the nice reddish-brown tones in the wood?

Look at Armstrong Clark in Amber or Defy Hardwood in Natural Pine.
opwdecks , July 16th , 2015
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Stain products for mukulungu
Installed a new deck using mukulungu (African redwood) which is a hardwood with slightly lighter color than IPE. What stain products do you recommend to retain the nice reddish-brown tones in the wood?
Dave Pass , July 15th , 2015
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RE: What are the Best IPE Stains
Quoting John Oppenhuizen:
As for Staining, my IPE patio is directly on the beach on the western shores of Lake Michigan. Lots of sun (as much as you get living in Michigan.) I am asking if any of the stains would be better if applied to a 12 year old patio that has completely bleached out and has never been stained previously?
Thank you.

The AC in the Mahogany holds the color the longest.
opwdecks , July 14th , 2015
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Advisor
As for Staining, my IPE patio is directly on the beach on the western shores of Lake Michigan. Lots of sun (as much as you get living in Michigan.) I am asking if any of the stains would be better if applied to a 12 year old patio that has completely bleached out and has never been stained previously?
Thank you.
John Oppenhuizen , July 14th , 2015
  • 0