I've had my Ipe deck for about 5 years now and have been through a lot with trying to keep it stained so that I can appreciate the beautiful grain. I've been using TWP 116 and really like the color. The first time I finished the deck, I stook back in awe at the beauty of a finished Ipe deck. However, there are a few things that make me want to just throw in the towel and let the whole thing go grey:
- Half of my deck gets a lot of sun and the other half is almost always in the shade. The sunny half fades quickly and starts to turn grey while the shady half keeps the beautiful color. When I reapply TWP, the greyer areas don't take up the stain as well and the shady areas just keep getting darker. Frustrating! The only way to get the whole deck the same color is to sand and start over.
- I noticed that the areas that have several coats of TWP have a beautiful color. However, the finish scratches very easily. I have teak furniture and simply sliding a chair out from the table can result in several thick scratches. I've even glued felt pads to the bottom of the furniture which seems to help but it is still a problem.
- It seems like having to restain is always on my "to do" list. The sunny part of the deck starts to fade pretty quickly and it seems like I'm always planning for the next weather window that will allow me to remove all of the furniture, wash the deck, let it dry for a day or two, refinish, then allow several days for drying. The finish is especially prone to scratching before it is completely cured.
Anyhow, I am starting to warm up to the simpler idea of just letting the entire deck weather to an elegant silver-grey patina (just like my hair!). No more prepping, washing, sanding, masking, shelling out bucks for stain or worrying about scratches.
I'm curious about how others who have installed ipe decks within the past few years after falling in love with the beautiful rich woodgrain are feeling about this topic.
This is your chance to vent...or provide counseling to me!