Coney Island: A Testament to Ipe’s Lifespan

For decades the name has conjured the taste of hotdogs and ice cream, the sound of screams from a nearby roller coaster, the smell of the ocean.  But did you know that the Coney Island Boardwalk, first opened in 1923, was made of Ipe?  That’s right.  This 90 year old tourist destination serves as the perfect example of Ipe’s unmatched durability.  It has supported the foot traffic of millions of people, as well as the weight of garbage trucks, police cars, and other emergency vehicles.  In 1960, it even survived hurricane Donna relatively unscathed, while a concrete esplanade close by was mangled.

In more recent years, the city has begun replacing the Ipe boards, but that doesn’t mean the wood is no good anymore.  Contractors, designers, and woodworkers all over the country have taken these discarded boards and refashioned them into decks, floors, and furniture.

For example, the Brooklyn furniture company Uhuru created a line of Coney Island-inspired designs, which retail for as much as $7,500 apiece.  The essence of the boardwalk has been recreated at the Barnes Foundation Art Museum in Philadelphia, pictured below:

Looking at these pictures, you might have noticed something: the boardwalk has weathered to a uniform silver patina, but the recycled wood products display rich warm colors.  Just because the wood is decades old doesn’t mean the color is lost for good; a little bit of work and Ipe can look good as new.

The fact that this wood, even after years of wear and tear, is still strong enough for practical use and beautiful enough for more artistic projects should tell you something.  Ipe simply cannot be beat when it comes to longevity and performance under pressure.

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Fireproof Ipe on the Atlantic City Boardwalk

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, the Atlantic City Boardwalk is the oldest boardwalk in the country. Opening in the summer of 1870, it has since come to house a number of attractions, including the House of Blues and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum.

In 2007, a fire broke out, consuming parts of the boardwalk that were made of pine. However, Atlantic City had been replacing parts of the boardwalk with Ipe whenever repairs needed to be made, and those renovated sections passed through the flames unharmed.

This event, happening in such a high-profile landmark, drew attention to one of Ipe’s unique characteristics. The National Fire Protection Agency tested Ipe’s reaction and contribution to fire, and here were the results:

Test/Classification Rating
Ipe Decking Flame Spread (10 Minutes) 0
Ipe Decking Flame Spread (30 Minutes) 5
Ipe Decking Smoke Developed Values (10 Minutes) 3
Ipe Decking Fuel Contribution (10 Minutes) 0
NFPA Class A
UBC Class 1

These numbers put Ipe in the same fire safety class as steel and concrete. What does this mean for you? Do you burn tiki torches or grill steaks on your deck? If so, there’s always the risk that something will go wrong, and with Ipe you can rest assured that any fire can be contained.

Atlantic City learned quickly that Ipe was the way to go. What about you? Learn more about Ipe at

Ipe Decking Used in American Landmarks

Why should you choose Ipe Decking for you project?  Consider this: historic landmarks and commercial hubs all across America have settled on Ipe to meet their needs. Take the Brooklyn Bridge walkway, for example.  Literally millions of people walk or bike across that path; just imagine how disastrous a breaking board could be in that situation!  Needless to say, if it’s good enough for the Brooklyn Bridge, it’s good enough for you.

So why did the builders of such famous attractions as the Atlantic City Boardwalk and the Edgartown Lighthouse in Martha’s Vineyard decide to go with Ipe?  Over the next few blog posts, we’ll take a look at some of Ipe’s unique features and discover how it has contributed to the legacy of these famous locations.

From its unparalleled durability in even the harshest environments to its beauty under pressure, Ipe is a reliable winner, perfect for both high-stress commercial applications and quieter suburban homes.  Contact us to get a free price quote today!