ipe deck stainIPE is an extremely beautiful wood when stained and will be the envy of your neighbors. The problem with exotic hardwood decking such as IPE is that it will require maintenance annually. It is best to choose a pigmented wood stain that will enhance the reddish brown tones of the IPE as if wet with water. This will filter the UV and prolong the graying. Stains that are designed to penetrate IPE will work better and will be easier to clean and reapply when needed.

How to stain IPE decking:

  1. Make sure to choose a wood stain that is designed for dense wood such as IPE: IPE Decking Stains All of these stains are transparent but pigmented stains. Our most popular are: Ipe Oil, Messmers UV Plus for Hardwoods, Defy Hardwood Stain, Penofin Exotic Wood Stain, and Armstrong Clark in Mahogany Color.
  2. The IPE will need to be prepped first by removing and dirt, grime, mold, etc. Best to use a wood deck cleaner. Make sure to clean the IPE wood at least 2-3 days prior to applying the stain
  3. Always wear protective clothing and gloves when applying a wood finish. Take precautions to tarp or cover all surrounding plants, home, and concrete areas.
  4. On the day of staining make sure the wood is completely dry and that there is no rain in the forecast. Remove all furniture and sweep off any dirt or grime.
  5. We suggest applying the IPE stain with a stain pad applicator. This will apply the finish evenly to the deck. Always start with the railings before moving onto the flooring. Make sure to apply with the grain of the wood and take care to not "puddle" the stain. Do not over apply! Excessive application will result in the stain drying tacky and failing faster than normal.
  6. When finished make sure to check for missed spots and drips. Take care to wipe any thick areas of stain that have not absorbed.
  7. Stay off the decking surface for at least 24 hours before putting any furniture back on the flooring. If you notice any sticky or shiny areas you can wipe off the excess stain with a rag.

Keep the IPE surface free from dirt and grime. Periodic sweeping and rinsing with water will keep the wood looking better longer. Best to reapply the IPE stain before the wood turns gray. Depending on the exposure to the sun, you will need to reapply every 9-18 months.

If you have any IPE Staining questions please ask below.

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ken · 09/15/2021
    The photos below show the condition of our IPE deck attached to our home in northwestern Montana. The deck was installed in 2007. According to notes left by a previous homeowner, the stain used was 'Cabot Timber Oil in Jarrah Brown', and was applied in 2015. There are no leftover cans of stain available and so I am unable to determine what actually was done to the deck.
    What do you recommend to begin the restoration? Sand? Apply RAD stripper and brightener? Pressure wash?
    After reading previous comments under 'How to Stain IPE', I am leaning toward either Armstrong Clark in amber or Defy in light walnut, since I would like to enhance the grain of the wood. What you recommend for our location? Most of our deck is open to the elements.
    Thank you. The previous comments and your responses have been very informative.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 09/15/2021
      Best to use the restore deck stain stripper with both additives. Let dry and then follow up with any sanding if needed to remove any excess stain that is not stripped. Brightener is last. Either brand of stain would work very well.
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        Ken · 09/15/2021
        Wow-thanks for replying so quickly!
        I would appreciate your recommendation re: pressure washing - PW after applying the stripper? PW each time after the stripper and the brightener? Or no PW at all?
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          The Sealer Store · 09/15/2021
          Pressure wash after stripper is applied. Pressure wash rinse after the brightener.
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            Ken · 09/16/2021
            Thank you!
            Just letting you know that, today, I acted on your recommendations, and ordered the RAD stripper/brightener kit, plus the two additives. Also ordered samples of the stains that I listed earlier today.
            Looking forward to begin the restoration process on our badly-neglected deck.
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    Jeff · 09/08/2021
    Thanks for the quick reply.  Is there anything I can do to make it less dark?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeff · 09/08/2021
    Ipe deck is about 9 months old.  Used RAD cleaner and brightener yesterday.  It looks cleaner and there's a bit of brownish color in some of the boards, but it's still mostly gray.  I was hoping to stain it to look like it did when it was fairly new and would get wet.  It was a beautiful color then.  Now, even after the cleaner and brightener, when it's wet, the color is very dark-- much darker than when the deck was new and wet. I was going to use AC Mahogany stain, but I'm afraid it will be very dark.  Is there anything I can do to make it look like it did when it was fairly new and wet?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 09/08/2021
      No, it is the way the wood ages. No way to make it look like brand new wood. It should be ready to stain as long as the wood is clean and free of oxidation.
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    Guzica · 08/24/2021
    I have a 15 y/o IPE deck.  Which has been treated by the same "Professional " for 15 yrs.  He was using Penofin. Last yr, he stripped and I think cleaned the deck, then applied Penofin after.   He did it when it was sunny and 92º , the deck was hot...  He applied 2 coats  and not wiping down after either of the coats.  Needless to say we had problems.  it was sticky in spots...the deck chairs would show scratching marks, when moved.  He "didn't know why" !!! He reapplied after cleaning deck again about a month or so after.   No change..  He said he though problem was the Penofins and he would contact the Co.  But alas, we have not heard from him this yr.   SO I AM gonna strip and brighten the deck with the RAD products.    Which stain is recommended ?  I have seen there have been problems with the Penofin stain with IPE decks, even tho we liked the colors brought out on our deck.  Wanting to keep this colors coming thru, which stain, is water based better than oil??  Im thinking Oil based stain.   Any help would be so very appreciated...  Thanks
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    John · 07/22/2021
    We are installing an Ipe deck and the layout picture frames the field...can we stain the frame part darker to get a contrast with the field
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    mowens · 07/18/2021
    New Ipe deck install May 2020, with 2 coats of Penofin. Now, the boards are experiencing cupping, screw cracking, end checking and water marks are leaving stains in the deck after just watering plants. Our contractor has no idea if they applied seal to ends of cut boards, does not know if it was pre-drilled, nor if kiln-dried. They used screws, not hidden fasteners, but placed very near end of the board. The wood was brought straight to our home and installed over a few days, w/o any time to acclimate. They do not know how/if their supplier stored/treated the Ipe. They placed part of the ipe over a pond-liner to create a dry patio space below the deck, and left 1/4" between the boards for extra ventilation. The contractor wants to sand and then apply a sealant.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Maura · 06/29/2021
    I have a 14 year old Ipe deck, approximately 14 x 60. it was soft washed this Spring and tenants are now complaining about splinters from the uncovered portion of the deck. What is the best way to deal with this? 
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    Hanna Vazquez · 05/19/2021
    Should you sand an ipe deck . 
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    Josh M. · 05/03/2021
    I've been using Ipe Oil in my cumaru deck, and it repeatedly turns into an opaque brown film after a couple months (attached picture shows the dirty boards on the left and cleaned boards on the right, prior to restaining). The film is really hard to remove - cleaning it off with a sodium percarbonate cleaner still takes hours of scrubbing. Any suggestions of what's going wrong with the stain? It doesn't seem like mildew, since it's so consistent across the entire deck. I cleaned the deck before staining in October 2020 (similar to the boards on the right in the picture), so I don't think it's pre-existing dirt. There's a part of the deck with a slight overhang that blocks a little sun and most rain, and it looks much better.
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    Rick Brown · 03/27/2021
    Six months ago a painter stained my ipe wood deck. He added Thompson Water seal to the stain. The stain is already peeling. What steps should be done to correct and properly apply stain?
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    Mike · 09/10/2020
    Hello,
    Our 10 year old covered porch ironwood deck was sanded and stained 6 months with Cabot 3002 Cedar stain. It is a little red for our liking and has already started fading. What do we need to do to make it less red and also last longer. Thanks for your help.
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    Marlena · 08/12/2020
    Hi! We are considering installing a deck with IPE but I just don’t love the red color. I know it’s the strongest and has most longevity but is there any way I could stain this wood so it’s not sooo red? More ashy or walnut?
    thanks in advance!!
    Really appreciate it!!
    we live in Southern California if that matters.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 08/13/2020
      You can make it more dark brown in color. Look at Black Walnut by AC: https://www.opwdecks.com/ipe-stain-1-gallon.htm
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Marlena · 08/13/2020
        So I can’t just put an ashy stain and try to neutralize the red? It has to go darker?
        is there a different wood you recommend if we don’t go with IPE? Really wanted a lighter wood but I know IPE is the strongest.
        thank you!!!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          William · 10/03/2020
          Hey Marlena - If you don't stain the wood it will eventually turn a ash color. We just did our deck. I lightly sanded our deck with 150 grit sandpaper and applied a wood deck cleaner per instructions. It came out smooth and mostly grey. We like the new "color" look and can oil it when we desire in the future.
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          The Sealer Store · 08/13/2020
          No way to do what you want. Does not matter wood type n
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marlena · 08/12/2020
    Hi! We are considering installing a deck with IPE but I just don’t love the red color. I know it’s the strongest and has most longevity but is there any way I could stain this wood so it’s not sooo red? More ashy or walnut?
    thanks in advance!!
    Really appreciate it!!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Phil · 08/07/2020
    What is the best stain to use? The deck we are doing is covered and faces north. Is there one with a warranty?
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    Brian · 07/23/2020
    Hi, We just installed a deck in Chicago using premium ipe. The ipe has many beautiful variations of red and brown tones which I specifically picked out to accent the in-lays that we installed. My contractor stained it with Wisecoat semi-transparent hardwood deck sealer. The problem is that after applying the stain the deck basically came out looking brown with very little color variations. Is there a product I can use that will heighten the natural red and brown tones as opposed to turning it brown? If so, what’s my next step? Do I have to strip it? Thanks
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    David Stewart · 07/07/2020
    I just installed an Ipe deck. I used hidden fasteners except on the last lengths of Ipe that run parallel with the home's exterior wall. On this run I fastened boards with counter sunk stainless screws and plugged the holes with 3/8" wide Ipe plugs glued with Gorilla glue. I sanded these plugs flush which altered the patina of the Ipe surface at these spots. I think I may have to sand the entire deck surface prior to applying the finish to obtain an even color and not highlight the sanding at the plugs. Is there any reason not to sand entire surface with 80 grit orbital sandpaper? The lumber dealer suggested sanding to help Ipe absorb the finish. The deck is about 180 sq ft so is not too formidable. Would appreciate your insight. Thanks!
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    MJ · 06/26/2020
    We have a 2 yo ipe rooftop and back deck in the PNW. It has never been stained. I like the naturally graying color. I have been reading and seems like staining helps the longevity of the wood. Is there a stain (Clear stain?) I can use to preserve the gray color? Thanks!
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    Jock Bradley · 06/08/2020
    I have cleaned and used an oil based stain on my one year old IPE deck. The stain gives the wood a mat finish. I'm wondering if there is a semi-gloss sealer that that can now be applied over it? I would like to use something that won't crack or peel. The deck gets a lot of sun since it is in SoCal.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 06/08/2020
      No, you can never apply a finish over a deck stain and any shiny type ocating will lead to severe peeling.
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    Alan · 06/03/2020
    We have power washed our IPE deck and have not put any stain on it. It looks good, but is prone to little slivers. It is not inviting to walk on barefoot. Any ideas as to how to eliminate the sliver issue?
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    Bill · 06/02/2020
    What water based stain do you like for our 10 year old Ipe front porch? It was stained last 4-5 years ago with an oil based stain that has largely worn off.
    Thank you, Bill