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Installing Ipe: gaps and ripping for width

16 years ago

Hello all:

The basics: building 16x24 screened in porch, getting Ipe (5/4x6's) from East Teak in the next couple of days. Pics are here (bottom is most recent) .

My two issues (woke up at 4 am thinking about it)

a: spacing between boards. George said install them with no space because they will shrink a little. I've read John's posts to do a strong 1/8", Steve's 1/16" strong. Is this a matter of personal preference? Is it for practical reasons, looks, etc.?

b: if the board widths are not equal, would you spend the time to rip the edges to make them so? From what I've read, the milling is not so perfect, and the 1/16's of an inch will add up quickly. George said count on them being 5-3/8" +/- 1/16" and not 5-1/2".

As a side note: if I knew then what I know now-- my pt 2x10's seemed to be fine when I bought them, very little crown. Only the milling sucked! Some were 3/8" difference in width, which tranferred into height when layed on edge as joists. So I spent the time to plane them (electric, not by hand) to close to the same height (I used 1" conduit as a guide). I'll still have to shim some boards, but it's a helluva lot better now than it was a couple of days ago. I went through this trouble because I was worried the the ipe would not "bend" like pt or composite, and the boards would not sit right.

Also, I have to say I'm proud of my piers. I'm in the Pittsburgh area (northern burbs) and they needed to be 36" deep. I did a single pour footer/pier all the way up to the beam height. Made my own modified Big Foot system knock off with utility tubs from WalMart. (those pics are near the top). A small nuclear device will be needed if I ever need to change them.


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