IPE Staining Instructions – Pro Tips  4.9/5 (17)

This post was updated on May 11, 2024

I am Scott Paul, a leading exterior restoration contractor and business owner with over 30 years of experience in exterior wood. My reviews and help tips are based on my history as a wood restoration contractor and actual hands-on testing, all designed to present you with the top product choices. See here for more info about me.

IPE Deck Staining Tips

Hi! DeckStainHelp.com has become the Internet’s go-to site for all things related to wood deck restoration. As with all types of wood surfaces, I recommend correctly prepping your IPE wood before staining it with a penetrating exotic hardwood stain. Feel free to leave me a comment with pictures and any questions below.


IPE is a gorgeous Brazilian wood that is becoming increasingly popular for use on exterior wood surfaces. The extremely dense wood is naturally resistant to decay and rot and can last many years.

My Best IPE Stains Tips

It is imperative that the wood surface be maintained year after year to maintain its full life expectancy and enhance its natural beauty. IPE wood needs to be cleaned and refinished with a deck stain specifically designed for its density.

  1. Measure the wood surface to be stained to calculate the approximate square footage. Check the coverage rates of the IPE Deck Stain product to ensure you buy the proper amount necessary.
  2. There are many colors and tones to choose from. The actual color results may vary slightly depending on the age and condition of the IPE wood. Color samples are available for only $6 each.
  3. Never apply deck stain to wood without first prepping the wood. The IPE wood surface should be adequately cleaned and prepped before a stain application. A product like Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner and Wood Brightener can make prepping your IPE wood surface a breeze. Allow the wood to dry for a day or two after cleaning.
  4. Once the wood surface is clean and dry, follow the IPE deck staining instructions for your chosen staining product. Open the stain and mix thoroughly with a paint stick. Most IPE Deck Stains can be applied using a brush, roller, pump, or airless sprayer. Be sure to cover plants, windows, concrete, or any areas that you do not want to get the stain on.
  5. Allow the IPE Wood Stain to penetrate the surface for several minutes before wiping away the excess stain. Do not allow any stain to remain puddled up on the surface. All puddles, runs, drips, and excess stains that do not soak into the wood should be wiped up with a dry rag. Saturate oil rags in water and lay flat to dry outdoors.

Maintaining an IPE wood surface can be made easy with proper IPE staining instructions. A quality IPE Wood Stain will enhance your deck’s or wood surface’s beauty while giving it lasting protection from the elements.

Note: Always follow the directions of the stain manufacturer you choose, as they differ between brands.

My Top IPE and Exotic Hardwood Stain Ratings

1. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain
2. Armstrong Clark Wood Stain
3. TWP Natural Effect Hardwood Stain Review

IPE and Hardwood Stained Photos

Staining IPE Questions? Ask Me Below!

The Best IPE Hardwood Deck Stain Video – DeckStainHelp.com

Please Rate This. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993 Owner
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites. All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.

Related Deck Stain Help Articles & Reviews

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
353 Comments
newest
oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gail White
Gail White
10 months ago

I have a boat dock made of Brazilian Hardwood, part is covered part has no covering. What would be the best product to use to clean and stain the dock with? I need something that will not hurt the water in the cove and be friendly to the environment. It is 13 years old and has never been stained. The wood has greyed and where the covered roof ends it has some green mold on it. We live in the NW. corner of South Carolina.

Last edited 10 months ago by Gail White
Gail White
Gail White
10 months ago

What is the best way to apply? Will stopping mid board affect the look?

Scott
Scott
11 months ago

Does it help to sand lightly e-pay wood before sealing to bring back that original rich color

Mark Dawson
Mark Dawson
1 year ago

Our epi deck was unfinished for several years and needs to thoroughly cleaning before staining. I have two questions, 1. what is the best way to prep the deck? 2. what would you recommend for deck stain. We live in New England (go Bruins and Celtics!!) area.

Henry
Henry
1 year ago

Can I pressure wash Ipe in preparation for staining?

Jen
Jen
1 year ago

If the desired look is the natural beautiful honey color of the original ipe on a deck, what is the difference in results (or pros/cons) between using Penofin penetrating oil vs Armstrong Clark stain vs TWP natural 1530. Also what is the difference in general between “oil” and “stain” — I feel like they are used interchangeably in the comments. We have a new deck installed 5 months ago not yet treated. It is now summer in seattle, and wondering what we need to do to get this results and the timeframe (it is starting to lighten).

Sarah
Sarah
1 year ago

I purchased 2 gallons of IPE oil but only ended up using a little more than 1 gallon. Can the extra be saved for next year? or should I just dispose of it?

Sharon B
Sharon B
1 year ago

Ack!
I hand sanded my grey, mostly all day sunny, 20yo IPE deck (1200sf) in Northern Virginia, with 120/220 grit paper BEFORE cleaning it, to prevent tiny splinters from getting into kids feet/hands. feels good! I need now to clean and brighten. Has had no stain on it for many years. I was given 2gals IPE Oil.
Do I have to sand again after cleaning/brightening😟? Can i use power washer? Should I use RAD or TWP stains instead? Do not want solid stain. How much do I need of everything?
LOVE LOVE LOVE this site!

Leslie Swartz-Williams
Leslie Swartz-Williams
1 year ago

I am trying to restore a neglected ipe deck. it had 2 different, probably incompatible stains on it. I have several concerns. I used the RAD stripper, followed by RAD neutralizer/brightener. There were “fuzzies” on the wood where it was previously too aggressively power washed. I sanded the wood to remove the fuzzies, with partial success. Do I need to wait and re-brighten before staining? I also have black streaks in some areas that are still notable despite 3 strippings and neutralizing. Is this a black mold? The wood has also cracked. Is there anything I can or should do for this? I live in central MN and the deck is on the north side of the house where mildew is quite a problem. I love the color when it is wet. Recommendations?

PS The RAD neutralizer said to wash down for 20-30 minutes, but didn’t clarify what size area that was for. I did my deck in 4 sections, rinsed each section for about 30 minutes per directions, and then realized that i’d rinsed my 13×13 ft deck for nearly 2 hours!!

D80A92A4-0315-49F7-B5DC-0F5DD99EEFFC.jpeg
F48B87D1-8ED9-41DF-B218-ED5C038974D3.jpeg
F276FC70-2EA6-43C3-8323-DA1802ADA9D3.jpeg
Carrie
Carrie
1 year ago

We have two Ipe decks in the front of our home. After two years, the decks have weathered to a gray color as shown in one of the photos. You can see under the eaves nearest the front door, some of the stain remains. The other photo shows the original stain color before it turned gray. What do you recommend we do to maintain one consistent color, knowing that the exposed part of the deck will weather faster than the decking under the eaves? Do you have recommendations on how best to prep the deck to restain it and keep it that way? What products do you recommend? We live in the Pacific NW so weather may be a factor. I prefer the brownish rosewood color to the gray, but is it easier to maintain by letting it go gray?

Carrie
Carrie
1 year ago

Thank you for the helpful information.

Jay
Jay
1 year ago

We had our deck powerwashed close to the wood a few days ago and plan to stain using either RAD or Armstrong. I have attached 2 photos of the deck + a 3rd photo of the porch ceiling which is the color we’d like to restore to.

A few questions please:
1) Do you think we should use RAD stripper + brightener first based on these photos? Unsure if the deck has been stained in the past.
2) As for the stain, do you have a recommendation on which color for the RAD semi-transparent stain to match picture #3? We were thinking Natural.
3) If we go with Armstrong instead, do you have a color recommendation?

Thanks!

ipe 1.jpg
ipe 2.jpg
ipe 3 - ceiling.jpg
Kevin Peck
Kevin Peck
1 year ago

Looking for advice on next steps on prepping ipe decking. We are refinishing a neglected section of decking. So far, sprayed and scrubbed with sodium percarbonate, rinsed and 1x treated with oxalic acid. There are a lot of light spots from flower pots along one edge (photo is wet state after acid). Would it be better to apply acid one or two additional times or sand to try and blend light spots?

280573727_308946648096742_6969982959100547507_n.jpg
280640782_692430458648937_4513262424811323482_n.jpg
Kevin Peck
Kevin Peck
1 year ago

The deck only had it’s mill finish on it and that was 10yrs+ ago. It was weathered and silver colored prior to Sunday’s treatment. This is a photo from today, after it dried.

20220516_134302.jpg
Kevin Peck
Kevin Peck
1 year ago

Thanks for the advise. I just want sure if some additional acid (maybe citric) would help help prior to the sanding. I appreciate the input.

Dale
Dale
2 years ago

I have a 250 sq foot IPE deck. One year ago it was installed new and Perofin oil was used. The deck scratches very easily and when it rains it leaves water marks. It has been one year now and my IPE deck looks awful. I kind of wished I put Trex in. I am going to use Deckwise cleaner and maybe brightner. Not sure if I have to sand it with 80 grit. I was told to try Deckwise IPE oil but I am worried it will be the same as the Perofin oil. How can I get that rich IPE look without the scratch marks. It scratches so easily and do I have to do this every single year.

Rebecca Cafferata
Rebecca Cafferata
2 years ago

I am using DeckWise cleaner and brightener followed by Ipe Oil on our ipe deck furniture. It has been awhile since this was done (and a hurricane in between) so it looks like it needs 2 coats. How long should we wait to apply a second coat of ipe oil?

Sunderlin Sam
Sunderlin Sam
2 years ago

Is there anyway to stain IPE to achieve the driftwood gray color it gets when left out in the weather untreated? We have enough IPE to build a small set of stairs in a room with with white oak flooring and are trying to get the color of the IPE to compliment the oak which has a bit of a driftwood colored wash. Thanks!

Bayani
Bayani
2 years ago

Can you share all the steps to get my IPE decking to look exactly like image 4 (semi-transparent) and 11 (IPESidig) you have posted on your site?

Thank you

Lonnie cowart
Lonnie cowart
2 years ago

I applied ipe oil on my 20 year old deck made of Brazilian cherry wood after cleaning. However the are z as number of splotches mostly on area where plant pots were. Can I apply an oil based stain like minwax penetrating stain red mahogany to provide color back and eliminate splotchy areas?

Howard Mantel
Howard Mantel
2 years ago

About 5 days ago my brand new beautiful IPE deck was finished. It looked like it could be in a magazine. I had a painter come to stain it in a clear coat. I didn’t want it to darken that much and he said it wouldn’t. He used TWP 1500 Clear. It’s now 3 days later and the deck is dry and is a very dark color mostly red and the stain didn’t take all the way and you can see wet spots throughout. It now looks like a cheap beat-up deck. This deck was crazy money to build and now it looks terrible. Can something be done to get it back to its original look? Can it be sanded? Will it look the same if I sanded it? I’m lost what to do. Any suggestions is much appreciated. Thanks!

Bill
Bill
2 years ago

Hi – My new and newly stained ipe deck surface scratches if you breathe on it. I followed all your excellent advice, used restore-a-deck to prep it,both bleach and cleaner, had enough dry days to stain, waited for a while to put furniture on it… and it seems every time something is dragged, I get a surface scratch. Some of them big and ugly. I don’t think the ipe itself is scratched, but it’s sure discouraged me from ever staining again. I keep reading you can’t scratch these decks.. but in my case it’s a mess. What did I do wrong? I used Messmer IPE hardwood natural stain.

Bill
Bill
2 years ago

Here you go. Some from furniture movement, some from soap with some bleach, the big wear spot I have no idea.

Bill
Bill
2 years ago

sorry, pix didn’t load. Will post one at a time

IMG_7103.jpg
Bill
Bill
2 years ago

bleach stain

IMG_7104.jpg
Bill
Bill
2 years ago

No, I did not use bleach. While pressure washing the house, the lovely gents who are painting the house dripped a little of the soap/solution which i assume includes bleach or a lightener of some kind….. I guess i used the word ‘bleach” inaccurately. This was the result. In another spot like this, prior to staining, I had similarly dripped a little of the restore-a-deck part 2 mixture that lightens the deck. That left a lightened mark like this that never smoothed out when the rest of it was done.

Bill
Bill
2 years ago

furniture moved

IMG_7105.jpg
Bill
Bill
2 years ago

yes, this was the work of lovely gents who are painting the house.

Bill
Bill
2 years ago

thanks! The painters have suggested sanded and patching… but I worry that will look worse. Interesting to hear Messmer’s described as soft. Good to know, thanks!

Bill
Bill
2 years ago

unknown source

IMG_7107.jpg
Dale
Dale
2 years ago

The same thing happened to me and yes it was cured. This is just what IPE does. I moved some furniture on it too. Penofin oil was used on my new deck. Furniture was put on the deck one month later. Also when it rained it left water marks. Its been a year now and I have to decide what to do. Someone told me to try Deckwise cleaner and brighter then their IPE oil.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dale
JM 206
JM 206
2 years ago

I have an existing ipe deck. My question is when I am applying the penofin oil stain on the deck again, can I stain the whole deck at 160 square feet all at once and then come back after 30 min to wipe off the excess oil? Will I leave footprints trekking over the stained boards to wipe off the excess oil? Is it a better process to do a couple boards at a time so I can reach to wipe off excess without stepping on stained deck boards? My goal is to be efficient. Thanks in advance.

Curtis in CT
Curtis in CT
2 years ago

I have a mahogany deck that I just stripped and brightened with restore-a-deck product. The wood looks very light after this process. I have the restore-a-deck Natural semi-transparent stain. I’m thinking this will not darken the wood enough to that rich mahogany reddish/brown color. Would the restore-a-deck light walnut or dark walnut be better to use to get that reddish/brown look?

David in Canada
David in Canada
3 years ago

I just had a new IPE deck built. I love the natural color. If I use IPE oil on it, it will darken significantly. If I do nothing, it will weather to grey. How do I keep the original unfinished color?

Alex Coss
Alex Coss
3 years ago

I’m considering using IPE for my rooftop decking and siding. I’ve seem many pictures of IPE siding/decking and the look seems to vary quite a bit. I know IPE wood varies in color but I want a more consistent darker look throughout. Can I use a stain to achieve a more uniform color on IPE or will it still have lots of color variations after staining it? Thanks!

Alex C.
Los Angeles, CA

Alex Coss
Alex Coss
3 years ago

Thanks for your response. Several contractors have told me different things about IPE staining. Mostly that you can’t stain it because the stain won’t penetrate. Which is true? Can you really stain IPE of not really?

Alex Coss
Alex Coss
3 years ago

Got it. Can you tell me which stained was used in the first photo of the article link you posted. That’s the color I like! Thank you.

Andrea
Andrea
3 years ago

My deck is one year old and I would like advice on prepping techniques and stain suggestions. It is a bit stained from water. Wanted to also confirm the steps and get product reco.
1. Powerwash first
2. sand
3. Apply a cleaner
4. Apply a brightener
5. Stain
I am looking for a more golden finish than the original red. Is that possible? Thank you.

16078053740423855402308942804366.jpg
1607805404488446371795473461791.jpg
16078054325491708353181051966571.jpg
Marie
Marie
3 years ago

We have a 2 year old unstained Ipe deck. I love the grey color but would also like to oil/stain it for longevity (and I believe it helps with wet spots/stains?)
What product should I use?

Lisa
Lisa
3 years ago

Why is the Penofin hardwood stain appearing spotty? If you zoom in you’ll see some spots look dry.

738BCA02-C99C-46F4-A209-A2718E999B74.jpeg
Lisa
Lisa
3 years ago

We aren’t done staining other side of the deck. Do you suggest re-applying to those areas where it appears to have over absorbed the stain, letting sit a few minutes then wiping?

353
0
Questions or leave a review, please comment!x