What is Ipe Wood?
Ipe wood (pronounced e-pay) is also called Brazilian walnut. It is a beautiful exotic wood from Central and South America. High-value tropical hardwoods like Ipe wood are renowned across the globe for their exceptional beauty, durability, strength, and natural resistance to rot, mold, insects, and fire.
Ipe wood’s commercial uses include decking, siding and flooring. It has a wide range growing throughout the tropical regions of Latin America, from Mexico to southern South America. Ipe trees themselves are lovely, producing flowers of from red and pink to a vibrant golden yellow. Mature trees can reach heights of up to 100-150 feet high with the trunk reaching up 4 feet in diameter.
Ipe Wood: Making sure it’s from a sustainable source
Ipe’s characteristics and beauty – along with other beautiful tropical hardwoods like Angelique and Rock Walnut – make them ideal for decking, siding and other outdoor uses. Unfortunately, this has also generated a huge demand for these slow-growing woods causing deforestation, illegal logging, and habitat loss.
While the majority of architects and designers prioritize using responsibly sourced wood, many are unclear or have limited awareness of how to source this prized wood in a sustainable manner. TerraMai has one of the only sustainable sources of some of the most coveted species of tropical hardwoods – Ipe, Angelique, and Rock Walnut – on the planet.
Reclaimed Ipe Wood: Harvesting flooded forests
Decades ago, huge, ancient forests in Central and South America were flooded, creating reservoirs for water storage and power generation. Below these manmade lakes is an abundance of perfectly-preserved tropical hardwoods. TerraMai harvests these submerged giants alongside local communities.
Expert divers are sent out in barges with specialized underwater harvesting tools, dive in, and reclaim the riches these flooded forests provide.
Water reclamation of tropical hardwoods is an ecologically-friendly alternative to obtaining lumber and we don’t cut down any living trees or contribute to deforestation. The species TerraMai reclaims are Ipe, Angelique, and Rock Walnut. To know you are getting the most sustainably-sourced, water reclaimed tropical hardwoods, look for the Water Reclaimed badge below.
Tropical Hardwood Project Spotlight: Angelique in Modular Panel Square Slat
For wood pulled from the depths of a flooded forest, TerraMai’s Angelique shines with cozy confidence in this residential installation in California. Virtuoso Interior Design created a beautiful accent wall for this home office using TerraMai’s Square Slat Modular Panels, backlit by lights and the natural warmth of wood.
TerraMai’s Angelique is an exquisitely clean tropical hardwood with the toughness to take on the elements in graceful style. The standing submerged exotic trees are extracted to produce TerraMai’s Angelique Siding and Decking are incredibly free of knots and signs of surface character. And it’s naturally Class A fire resistant; making it a beautiful, sustainable, and smart selection.
Got a project coming up that Angelique (or any of our other water reclaimed woods) would be perfect for? You can find our incredible team of wood experts through this link to get the ball rolling. Want to get your hands on samples of Angelique (and other wood species)?
Click below to see our beautiful selection of water-reclaimed Ipe wood: