Friday, July 21, 2017
When it comes to wood decking, I love the gorgeous, rich look of ipe. The Brazilian hardwood has a deep reddish-brown hue that can transform an outdoor space into an elegant tropical paradise. And in addition to its beautiful color, it’s also pretty resilient. In fact, the famous Coney Island boardwalk was constructed out of ipe wood that lasted for 25 years before it needed to be replaced. But once you’ve committed to your ipe deck, how do you choose the railing?
When it comes to ipe wood, I think you have to find a style that brings together the deep hues of the wood with the building or home architecture. While it might seem hard to match a railing with ipe, it actually works well with a traditional-looking railing system or a modern style. What’s important is that the railing system works to enhance the look of the decking, allowing the beautiful wood to take center stage. Here are my experiences with various ipe deck railing options, as well as the best way to install a railing system on a tropical hardwood deck.
My Favorite Ipe Deck Railing Options
There are lots of choices when it comes to railing systems. Because of the distinct look of ipe, the style and material should be carefully considered. An all-wood deck and railing has a very distinct look that might not match every building style, while a steel or cable system might be a bit too modern to suit some homes. With these things in mind, here are the best ipe deck railing options I’ve come across.
Best Installation Methods for an Ipe Deck Railing
Picking out colors and styles is fun when you are designing a deck, but before you stamp and seal anything, consider how your railing system will be installed. The type of installation can make a big difference in the look and also affect the integrity of the entire deck. Ipe is a beautiful and pricey wood, so you don’t want to punch a bunch of holes in it needlessly. That’s why you should consider which of the two common types of railing mounts is best for your design application.
It’s just my opinion, but I really do think that if wood is your decking material of choice, ipe is the best looking one out there, whether it’s for a home or the boardwalk at a tourist attraction. The warm-hued wood is so versatile, too, that just about any type of railing system looks good with it. Mixed materials such as steel and wood look great, but so do all steel railings or cable railings.
I recently decided that my personal favorite railing for an ipe deck is a cable railing system. I love the contrast between the wood and the industrial-style cabling. Ipe wood decks are always elegant spaces with clean lines, and a cable railing system echoes that without drawing too much attention away from the deck itself. On projects, I tend to use the cable railing system from Fortress Building Products because their pre-assembled, vertical stainless steel cable panes are easy to install—whether you’re a pro or a DIYer. These cables are also safer for children, since vertical cables don’t cause a climbing hazard, and they’re extremely durable. You can even use ipe wood posts with cable panels between them. And if you want to avoid the hassle of constantly oiling and staining an ipe deck, their Fortress Decking has a great composite alternative made to look just like ipe. It lets you achieve the same sleek, luxurious look without ipe’s maintenance or significant color fading.