Maintaining Your Ipe Wood Products

Ipe is a beautiful wood that is frequently used in outdoor furnishings due to its extreme durability.

Ipe has a fire rating that matches steel and concrete, it absorbs very little moisture, and it is resistant to insects, rot, and the effects of inclement weather. In addition to its durability, Ipe is highly desired because it has a natural, elegant look.

Here at Thomas Steele, many of our products are made using Ipe, including our benches, tabletops, litter receptacles, and everything in between. 

While Ipe products will remain structurally sound for many years, the wood does need maintenance to keep its original appearance.

When we ship out our Ipe products, the wood has been stained with a natural finish, which is reddish-brown in color. After a while though, if the wood is left untreated, weathered Ipe turns silver-grey in color. There will also be some checking, however it will be minimal, and it will not affect the integrity of the wood. 

If you’re looking to prevent these aesthetic changes from occurring, follow the simple steps below!

Regular Maintenance

  • Simple cleaning solution
  • Scrub brush

If you want to ensure that your Ipe stays in pristine condition and looks the same as it did when it first left our factory, you can choose to give it regular cleanings. We recommend doing this between once a week and once a month, depending both on the amount of use it gets and the conditions in your area.

Use a non-abrasive cleaning solution and scrub brush to get in all the cracks and ensure a thorough clean.

Typically regular cleaning does not need to be done, however, doing so does prevent superficial scratches and stains to the wood, and will make it easier to perform annual maintenance when the time comes.


Annual Maintenance

  • Simple cleaning solution
  • Scrub brush
  • Gloves
  • Oil-based wood sealer
  • Paint brush
  • Rags

To prevent the wood from fading in color, Ipe needs to be resealed at least annually.

Start off by thoroughly cleaning the wood using a non-abrasive cleaning solution and scrub brush. Allow the wood to dry.

Apply an oil-based wood sealer with a paint brush. Use rags to remove excess sealer so it doesn’t become tacky. Allow sealer to dry completely before allowing the furnishing to be used.

Note: sealant should not be applied to a furnishing that is exceptionally cold or hot. 



  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Power washer (optional)
  • Simple cleaning solution
  • Scrub brush
  • Paint brushes
  • Gloves
  • Timber wood stain
  • Oil-based wood sealer
  • Rags

If Ipe has faded to silver-grey it is still possible to restore its color through a refinishing process.

Start off by using a medium-grit sandpaper to scrape off top layer of wood, and then cleaning the furnishing with a non-abrasive cleaning solution and scrub brush. Alternatively, you can use a power washer to remove this layer, but be careful not to damage the wood.

Once the wood dries, use a paint brush to apply a new coat of timber wood stain, removing excess stain buildup with rags and letting it dry.

Once the stain has dried, cover it in an oil-based wood sealer with a paint brush, again removing excess sealer buildup. Allow sealer to dry completely before allowing the furnishing to be used.


Alternatively, you can choose to let the Ipe wood become weathered and it will remain fine to use, as the integrity of the furnishing will remain uncompromised for years.

Traditional recycled plastic logs

If are uninterested in performing continual maintenance but want your furnishings to retain their original look, I recommend getting furnishings made of recycled plastic. Our recycled plastic boards imitate the look of wood, and are resistant to fading and damage. In addition, our recycled plastic is available in a variety of different colors. Learn more here!