SARASOTA, Fla. - One of the country's largest decking suppliers and manufacturers AdvantageLumber.com is warning customers to be careful of "Ipe Wood" and "Brazilian Walnut" decking products from other manufacturers - as often they're actually made of plastic.
"Ipe is a common name for a type of Brazilian hardwood, much as oak is a common name for a type of hardwood in the United States," the company says in a press release. "Genuine Ipe wood has been proven to last up to 75 years in exterior projects with very little maintenance. Unlike fake decking materials made of sawdust and plastic, Ipe is 100 percent natural wood.
"These factors have helped create enormous demand, but unfortunately they've also drawn the attention of unscrupulous marketers who want to ride the coattails of a natural product. One company goes so far as to advertise '1 in. x 6 in. Brazilian Ipe Solid Composite Decking Board[s].' It seems they are trying to fool the buyer into thinking its real Ipe wood, or that Ipe is a type of composite."
AdvantageLumber says that many of these companies are also causing confusion regarding other natural hardwoods like teak and Brazilian cherry.
"We haven't seen this level of deception in the wood industry since the furniture manufacturers of the early 90s tried pawning off particle board furniture as 'solid wood,'" says AdvantageLumber hardwood sales manager Jon Fletcher. "Thankfully, in that instance, the Federal Trade Commission jumped in and helped to set things straight, ending much of the deceptive marketing in the furniture industry."
Dan Ivancic, director of marketing for AdvantageLumber, says, "As the leading supplier of Ipe wood, we've received numerous phone calls from confused consumers, in some cases from those who have unwittingly purchased imitation decking elsewhere only to have it flake and fall apart."
AdvantageLumber runs four factories in the U.S. and is the only American decking company to run facilities in Brazil. It over 680,000 total feet of manufacturing space.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.