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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
we have a job going right now and priced the deck according to the plan which showed cedar decking. now they changed the decking to IPE and the GC is arguing with us that the installation time is the same. we've never installed IPE, but from what we're told since its a much harder wood and is much more labor intensive to install. can anyone who has experience installing this stuff confirm or deny this? any other tips or good advice? thanks.
 

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we have a job going right now and priced the deck according to the plan which showed cedar decking. now they changed the decking to IPE and the GC is arguing with us that the installation time is the same. we've never installed IPE, but from what we're told since its a much harder wood and is much more labor intensive to install. can anyone who has experience installing this stuff confirm or deny this? any other tips or good advice? thanks.
I don't know about installing it, but try picking up a board and tell me if you would charge more than cedar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've never handled the stuff, but yeah I assume it's heavier. I've also heard you need to pre-drill your holes and it eats up drill bits like crazy. looking for any first-hand experience advice.
 

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Talking Head
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There are at least a half a dozen guys on here who install ipe so you'll get a few good options for install. Ipe is much harder to install than cedar and the installation technique is usually more advanced. I typically use a color matched screw head for cedar. I guess you could do that with ipe but it seems like a shame with such a nice wood. Maybe for a boardwalk or commercial install. Screw and plug or hidden fasteners are the best method for ipe, in my opinion.

Cutting ipe does chew through blades so make sure you have a couple freshly sharpened blades ready. I seal the cut ends to reduce checking. screws need to be predrilled and you're going to want a lot of bits handy. I use all stainless screws so good drilling is critical for not snapping the heads off.
 

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It doesn't eat up blades quite as much as people think.

In any event, it is much more labour intensive than cedar. Also, you will need to use stainless steel screws - more $.

I would recommend face screwing everything with stainless steel colour matched #8 trim head screws from Headcote.

You will need to predrill and countersink each hole - a Smartbit can help speed that up - I think Headcote sells them.

You'll need a bowrench or other deck bending tool. Once you have experienced coercing a slightly bent piece of Ipe into place, you will quickly realize how much time has gone by while you wrestled with the beast.

You will get your first Ipe sliver - this will take 15 minutes to remove and another 15 minutes to talk with everyone in earshot about how painful it was.

You can't just go to your local yard for another piece. Add more time.

You will snap a screw while installing and will spend 15 minutes trying to remove it. You will be unsuccessful. See note above.

You will need to oil it.

You will get tired carrying it.

I'm sure there's more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
installing with hidden fasteners, but so was the cedar. this GC knows it's more work, he's just trying to screw us. like he always does.
 

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Joseph A. Capece
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Definitely more labor intensive. It's also a much higher quality product so by virtue of that more time should be spent to make everything perfect (I don't hold the same quality control standards for an ACQ deck that I do for an Ipe deck).

I also see it in terms of risk & liability when giving a price. Since it's a much more expensive product & more labor intensive to install, there is more risk associated with the project (your guys screwing up cuts or not installing properly) therefor your price should reflect that.
 

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It's also more expensive when you cut your last board too short.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
we're not paying for materials, he is. our price is labor-only. but yes, all good points. and I'm sure he's charging the homeowner accordingly, just doesn't wanna pay us accordingly.
 

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we're not paying for materials, he is. our price is labor-only. but yes, all good points. and I'm sure he's charging the homeowner accordingly, just doesn't wanna pay us accordingly.
Yeah tell him to piss up a rope.
 

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For me personally... it's about 2.5 times the labor, skinning the deck, Ipe to cedar. And what they said ^^^
 

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That GC either knows nothing about installing ipe or is trying to screw you. Since this will be your first one there will be a learning curve so charge accordingly. What kind of HFS you are going to use will make a big difference. If you are using 5/4 decking that is grooved & tigerclaws with that gun it will go much faster than if using Extreme Ipe Clips and a biscuit cutter. Some of us also glue it, a good idea if low to the ground or 1x6 decking for extra holding power against cupping. The end boards will have to be plugged.

I don't think it's that hard on blades or bits either. Far blades go use a 40 tooth blade for a nice smooth cut ( on a circular saw ). My supplier is now stocking Camo SS screws with brown heads instead of the Headcoats which I do like better because of the torque drive heads.
 

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John Hyatt
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Ipe/ South American lumber is not all that hard on good carbide . Same with drill bits after you learn to slow down. Slowing down is the key.

It does take longer to install over cedar x 100 if your were planning on using a pneumatic tool on the cedar.

A bowrench or a tigerjaw installation tool that can be used standing up. Good cordless tools will make everything go faster > 18 v Makita drill and impact < I pre drill 7 x 2 1/4 '' torx drive ss trim head screws with a 5/32'' bit through the Ipe but not into the PT frame. They are so small I can't see reason to use colored heads.

Having never done it before there will be a learning curve. How long depends on how good you are at Carpenter stuff. It defiantly will take longer for sure.

JonMon www.deckmastersllc.com
 

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The materials invoice always burns much worse, especially when 4x and railing are involved.
 
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