How to stain an Ipe deck

A lovely mountain deck owned by a former Apple Inc Executive. The deck is ipe, a hardwood that traditionalists say needs to be stained every 6 months with a nasty oil-based stain. Well, we used a hybrid oil/water stain and it still looked great 3 years later. A lot less effort and hassle; difficult to get right, tho.

Our new Book “Deckology” which tells you about the three most important ways of maintaining your deck.

Yes, we really did write the book on Deck Finishing and Carpentry! It’s called “Deckology’. It’s a 90 page book; you can buy it on for $10 – all proceeds go to the Loma Prieta Education Fund. This short video tells you the three most important things you need to know about maintaining your deck: Preparation (repair, cleaning, other prep work), Staining (choosing a stain, applying a stain, when to apply stain) and Getting it Done (Do nothing or get it refinished; Hire a contactor or do it yourself; Working with a contractor). Get the book!

Why decks go gray

Ever wondered why decks go gray? What is that gray stuff? Is it dirt, sun damage, or fungus? Find out!

Keep It Stained: How often to re-stain your Deck

Keep it Stained


It might seem self-serving for us to say this, but we really believe that keeping your deck stained is the best thing you can do. The wood has to remain protected from UV and water.


Get it refinished when it starts to go gray.

That gray is mostly fungus and it’s eating up the soft tissue between the tree rings (“grain”) which exposes the harder grain which leads to splinters. The wood has lost its waterproof coating as the stain has been damaged by the UV and rot starts to penetrate and weaken the wood. The UV from the sun is also drying the wood out. Don’t leave it the deck; it’s just not worth it. Plan on having it stained every 3-4 years (or every year or two with oil based stains which are much less resistant to UV).