Can I Use Tongue and Groove Boards for Decking?

Can you build a deck with tongue and groove boards?


The answer is yes. Creating a deck with tongue and groove lumber is as easy as creating a deck with traditional boards. First, cut all of your pieces into appropriate lengths.

Next, coat any fresh cuts with an end sealer. This will ensure the end cuts don’t release moisture too fast (which reduces the changes of cracking or splitting.

Once your first board is in place, the rest of the job will go smoothly as you just need the other boards to fit snug into one another. If you need help fitting the boards into one another, use a grab clamp or two to help keep the boards in place. For installation, we suggest that you pre-drill a hole on a 45-degree angle where the tongue and the face meet. You will see a slight v-groove in this corner. Then, on that same 45-degree angle, drive a trim head screw through the pre-drilled hole, through the deck board into the floor joist.  The trim head screws are required because the head will sink into the corner where the v-groove is. This sinking action will allow the next deck board to slide into place and will perfectly conceal the previously installed screw head.


Some helpful tips to remember when using tongue and groove lumber for decking:

  • You must have 24” or more of open air space below the deck to use tongue and groove boards.
  • Leave at least 2 sides of the upper deck space open for cross ventilation.
  • Tongue and groove decking should be used for covered porches and patios only.
  • Do not allow standing water to collect under the deck. Ensure that the ground is adequately sloped under the deck to eliminate standing water under the structure.
  • If you install skirting around the perimeter of the deck, it is imperative that the skirting does not prevent cross ventilation.

When choosing your tongue and groove lumber, remember Ipe is a strong, dense material that is great for any outdoor project. Get your free Ipe decking quote directly from the mill. Contact today. Happy decking!2

Ipe Climbs Above the Rest


I was asked the other day ‘What’s so great about Ipe? What can you build with it?’ My response ‘Anything you need to get built!’  Ipe is one of the best building materials on the market today. You can build decks, boardwalks, stairs, railings, benches and more. It’s a proven performer in all harsh conditions and climates. Not to mention, it is naturally beautiful and insect free.

If you’re building a deck with Ipe, it makes sense to build your stairs with Ipe as well.  Adding Ipe stairs to any decking project turns it into a homeowners dream. Ipe is already 5x stronger than Redwood, so it will be able to withstand any weight. A characteristic Ipe has that many other decking materials don’t, is it’s slip resistant. You won’t have to worry about your great aunt slipping down your stairs when she comes over.screenTeam_deckingLIf your deck doesn’t need stairs but you would like an elevated section, consider adding three stairs rather than just two. Two steps keep the main function of a deck while the third adds enough room for an overflow seating section.  Everyone will be able to sit comfortably at your parties and there will be no awkward standing and eating.

If you already have your deck and are beginning to clean it for the summer months, remember to inspect your stairs as well. Look for rotting and decaying around the fasteners. If there is any, DO NOT step on your stairs and call your Ipe supplier immediately. Also, if your stairs are open in the back, make sure the distance between each stair is not exceeding 4 inches. It’s possible in the other seasons for wood to shift slightly. If your wood has shifted slightly, make sure you fix it to ensure no future accidents.

For any more questions about Ipe stairs, check out for a free quote today. Happy Decking!


Turn an Ugly Deckling Into a Silver Fox

Haven’t you heard? The new and tan look is out and weathered and gray are in. And we’re not talking about the fashion world. This summer, weathered looking decks have emerged as the latest and greatest trend. Don’t worry if you just bought a brand new deck, we can help you take it from looking sleek and refined in no time at all.

Weathered decks are like the silver foxes of the decking community. They look good styled next to any new or old home. You can dress them up with any deck furniture and you’re ready for cocktail hour.

Turning an ugly deckling into a silver fox.

Giving your deck a full makeover isn’t as hard as you think.


All you need are a couple of beauty products, stain or sealers to be exact, and time. There are many products on the market that help with aiding a weathered deck.

-Clear Water Repellant

  • This product doesn’t add any color to your existing deck and grain patterns can be seen through the finish. The sealer’s lack of UV protection helps the UV radiation fade your wood, giving you a nice, natural gray look. Clear water repellants can last from 6 months to 2 years, depending on surface texture and exposure to the sun.

-Bleaching or Weathered Stain Oils

  • Using bleaching or weathered stained oil helps keep your deck protected longer than clear water repellant. Weathered stained oils are basically clear water repellant finisher with some gray pigments. This type of stain only lasts 2-3 years so be sure to continue applying clear water repellant over the bleaching oil for longer effect.

-Solid Colored Stains

  • Solid colored stains use an opaque finish. You’re not able to see the wood grain or natural color but surface texture is still intact. We advise re-staining your deck every 2-3 years after using this opaque finish.

-Semi-transparent Penetrating Stains

  • We recommend oil based semi-transparent penetrating stains because they filter into the wood surface deeper than most wood-based products. Peeling or blistering is less likely to happen with this stain because of it’s non-film forming. Decks with this type of stain gradually wear off and last up to 5 years.

Check out to get a free quote. Happy decking!

Turn the Light Back on in Your Life

dsc_3024highpoint-newsletterCROPThe neighborhood party is just beginning, but night is slowly approaching. You’ve lit the candles and tiki torches, yet still can’t see your neighbor sitting five feet away from you. If only there was a better way to see and enjoy your deck at night.

LED lights help illuminate any deck, adding warmth to each backyard setting.  Energy saving LED lighting helps you and your guests celebrate into the night without having to worry about your energy bill. Most LED lighting are all-weather compatible so you can keep using your deck even in harsh climates. Lighting is also a care free maintenance because you won’t have to worry about the batteries since they are energy saving. You can also choose to light up your stairs and railings, creating a safer deck for you and your family.  You can put the lighting practically anywhere. Get creative and have some fun with it.  It’s your deck anyway.

For more information about our lighting options, check out Happy Decking!

Rainscreen: The Superhero of Siding


Ipe rainscreen siding is an excellent addition to any home. It does keep away mold and mildew that could wreak havoc on your home while creating a healthier environment, both inside and outside the building. By separating the home from the siding, it allows moisture to escape through the space in the wall cavity. The siding sits on furring strips or battens that help create an air space. Mesh based products are stapled to sheathing to create the vent space. The end product will allow the drainage planes to vent to the outside, locking out any moisture or any other foreign objects.rainscreen2

Some advantages of using Ipe rainscreen siding are:

  • Lowers energy costs
  • Reduces indoor air pollution
  • Adds natural beauty to any home
  • Keeps insects from crawling into your home
  • Reduces mold and mildew on your home


Moisture will have a hard time causing problems thanks to Ipe wood, especially since it is an extremely dense hardwood. This adds even more protection to your home against the cunning mold and mildew duo.

For more information on Ipe rainscreen siding check out for a free quote. Happy Siding!

What Kind of Roof Can You Add Over Your Deck?

“We’ve had so much damage done to our roof because of a storm. Our old roof was blown clear off our deck and we’ve been thinking that a change in roofing materials needs to happen. Do you have any suggestions for roofing materials?”

Before we go into options, it’s important to note that your local city or town probably has rules regarding home additions. Please consult with your local building department before buying a single board.

There are many different options when choosing your deck’s roof. Some options include:

Flat Roof

  • The Flat roof route is the most affordable of these three decking roof options. Many of our customers choose this option for their deck roof because you can connect it to an existing roof from your home. Built from tar and gravel based material, this type of deck sits horizontal and keeps water from leaking through the wood. The one negative about flat roofs is that they may pose a threat for leakage during heavy rains or heavy snow fall.

Green Roof

  • A green roof is the most unique option for a decking roof. You can find many green roofs in cities like Boston, New York City, and San Francisco. A green roof is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a living habitat filled with vegetation and flora. There’s no real maintenance as it survives off sunlight and rainwater. However, they are a bit more complex than your average deck roof. If you are interested, you should hire someone to help you who has experience.

Gable Roof

  • The gable roof is the most common approach, using a triangular shaped design.  The triangle design allows water to flow evenly off the edge. Some gable roofs include a gutter system to help with heavy downpours. These designs are the most popular because they blend in with the homes existing roof.

While it’s not necessary for an Ipe deck owner to have a roof to any part of their deck, many people do add some sort of roof structure for various reasons. When you consider how great Ipe is around marine areas since it’s super dense and allows little to no moisture to seep into it, adding a roof to your deck would be an advantage to your home and your outdoor like. I don’t know about you, but I like sitting outside when it’s raining and listening to the sound of the rain without getting wet. It’s very soothing.

For more information about our Ipe decking, check out www.ipedepot.comHappy Decking and Roofing!

More Than One Way to Use Ipe

Ipe Playground_thumb

“Wow your new playground is amazing! Where did you buy it?”

“We didn’t. After finishing our new deck we had some Ipe material lying around and decided to build Karen a new swing set.”

“Wow! Ipe? I thought that was only used for decking. I have to tell Bob about this….”

Ipe isn’t your average decking material. It can be used in more ways than one. Because of its brute strength and hardness it can be used in a number of ways.

Here is what some of our customers made out of Ipe:

Indoor Flooring




Dock in Biloxi Mississippi

Garden Bridges



• Gazebos

Playground Equipment



Just like the life span of Ipe, this list can go on forever. Ipe offers you a guaranteed 75+ year lifespan. That’s 60+ years more than your average teak. and decades longer than composites Ipe is also great with dealing with day to day activities along with natural disasters. No wonder cities like Toronto, Green Bay, and even Las Vegas use it for their heavy traffic projects.

Not only can Ipe transform your backyard but also your home as well. With the help from Ipe ship lap or rainscreen siding your home can be recreated. It adds a little flair to your home while acting as a natural barrier to the elements assisting in keeping out unwanted pests.


Get your free Ipe decking quote directly from the mill. Contact today.

Ipe Withstands the Cold in Martha’s Vineyard

People ask us all the time if Ipe, being a tropical hardwood, is suitable for northern climates.  Our answer?  A resounding YES!

Edgartown Lighthouse Boardwalk in Martha's Vineyard

One of the concerns is how the wood will stand up to snow and the brutal cycle of freezing and thawing that can decimate concrete.  This was definitely a consideration when the boardwalk leading to the Edgartown Lighthouse in Martha’s Vineyard was constructed.  With temperatures reaching as low as 25degF during the winter, and an average snowfall of 40 inches per year, the weather is certainly unkind to building materials.  Fortunately, Ipe is naturally water-resistant, meaning excessive moisture won’t get inside, freeze, and create cracks in the surface.  As long as you install it properly, the natural expansion and contraction that occurs between extreme temperatures won’t cause any damage to the wood.

So, if you have a project in an area beset by harsh winters or extreme temperature contrasts, Ipe is a solid choice.  Learn more about Ipe at

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.

Learn more about Ipe at

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