With hardwood decking, the natural stresses within the wood often prevent some boards from staying straight. Usually, installing an exotic hardwood requires two or more people, where one installer is using a pull bar to force crooked boards straight, as well as cutting boards for grade and waste issues.
This is not an issue with dassoXTR, as all boards come straight – right out of the bundle, and all parts of the board are useable – so there’s minimal waste. All dassoXTR boards also come in standard six-foot (6”) lengths. While some installers prefer longer board lengths, most find that the 6” lengths make for easier handling and installation. In addition, all dassoXTR boards are side grooved for hidden fastening, but can also be face screwed and plugged.
When installing hardwood decking, boards must end on top of a joist. But dassoXTR’s unique tongue-and-groove end-match system offers another installation option. For some installations (16” O.C. joists or less), rather than joining boards atop a joist only, ends can also be joined in the space between the joists. This not only saves time and money on installation, but it also produces a stronger deck with a more random, flawless pattern and consistent coloration.
Regardless of whether you choose Ipe or dassoXTR, be prepared to go through more than the normal amount of saw blades and drill bits during installation, as both materials are extremely hard. Keep in mind that Ipe sawdust is an irritant and may cause skin problems such as dermatitis in some workers. And Ipe, unlike dassoXTR, can cause infections from splinters.
As mentioned, both dassoXTR and Ipe (as well as all other exotic hardwoods) will change color when exposed to the elements. This color change, known as greying or silvering, can be prevented by applying a finish to the decking – either a penetrating finish or a protective surface film. Companies that make these finishes often also make “brighteners” to remove greying/silvering before finishing.
Both exotic woods and dassoXTR are susceptible to “checking.” This term describes the small splits and cracks that can occur when decking begins to dry out from extreme weather changes and humidity swings. But unlike most exotic woods, dassoXTR is pre-primed at the factory with a penetrating oil, which minimizes potential checking issues and splintering.
To learn more about dassoXTR finishes and maintenance, see “Maintenance of dassoXTR”.
To learn more about the dassoXTR difference, see How dassoXTR Bamboo Compares to Other Bamboo Decking.