To install SwiftDeck Ipe wood deck tiles, you'll need a tape measure, sharp knife and Phillips head screwdriver. If fitting around pipes, posts or other fixed features you’ll also need a handsaw or power saw to cut the tiles.
Design your deck
It’s a good idea to sketch your proposed design on paper before you start. You can easily create unique patterns, designs and borders by aligning the tiles in different directions or by using a combination of different tile styles. And remember, if you don’t like the first design you’ve put down, you can simply lift up the tiles and re-install them in a different pattern.
Prepare the surface
Although SwiftDeck Ipe wood deck tiles can be laid over most hard surfaces (concrete, asphalt, gravel, hard dirt), there should be no large cracks, bumps or depressions which could cause the tiles to lie unevenly or “rock” on the surface. If the surface is particularly rough or cracked, it’s advisable to level the surface with a suitable exterior patching compound or filler. On hard dirt surfaces, sand or gravel, the surface should firstly be leveled, well compacted and then covered with a weed control barrier.
To provide good drainage under the tiles, the surface should normally slope slightly away from the outer wall of any structures.
Click the tiles in place
In most cases it’s best to start laying the tiles from one of the outer corners of the area you want to cover and work inwards towards the exterior wall. After you have positioned the first tile in the corner of your workspace, take a second tile and align the connecting tabs on one edge of the first tile with the corresponding connecting tabs on the second tile. Push the second tile down firmly so that both tiles lock firmly together. Repeat this simple “snap in place” process, working in a diagonal direction across the area.
If installing the tiles in an area confined by walls on opposite sides, it’s important that a small gap is left against the wall to allow for expansion of the tiles which occurs not only due to temperature changes but also due to expansion of the wood when it absorbs moisture.
With the last row of tiles, you may need to cut some tiles to fit any remaining gap. SwiftDeck Ipe wood tiles can be easily cut with a handsaw, jigsaw or other power saw, taking care the saw does not contact any of the screws in the base of the tile. You can also cut the tiles to fit around posts or pipes.
To provide a neat, professional finish to your design, straight edging is available which clips onto the edge of the outer row of tile. Mitered corner edging is available (in pairs) for external corners.
Alternatively if you just want to hide the view of the plastic base and don’t want to use the 3 3/8″ wide clip on edge pieces, then you could consider the following. Remove the protruding tabs on the outer edge of the tiles with a knife and fix an ‘L’ shaped profile of plastic or aluminum along the outer row of tiles with corrosion resistant or stainless steel screws where the vertical rise of the L shape is approx. 1″ high.
Although our Ipe wood tiles are coated with a decking oil at the factory, this is a very simple decking oil which is basically designed to enhance the initial appearance of the tiles.
For maximum weather protection, enhanced resistance to mildew or mold formation and to reduce the rate at which the tiles will naturally fade when exposed to direct sunlight, we strongly recommend applying a good quality decking oil/sealer to the deck tiles as soon as practical after installation.
Follow up applications should be carried out every 12 months or so, depending on your climatic conditions, the degree of exposure to sun and rain, and the recommendations of the decking oil/sealer manufacturer.
We strongly recommend using one of the more specialized products which include UV inhibitors and/or transparent iron oxides and have a high solids content rather than simple oil and turpentine-based products.
Since we haven’t tested the full range of oils/sealers available, we do not provide specific recommendations on products that could be used, but based on the respective manufacturer’s product data as well as ease of availability from local retail outlets, we suggest that some products you may wish to consider would include:
PPG Olympic ELITE Advanced Stain + Sealant in One
Flood CWF – UV Penetrating Oil Finish
Penofin Penetrating Oil Finish
Behr Weatherproofing Wood Sealer
Messmers’s UV Plus for Hardwood Decks
Defy – Deck Stain for Hardwoods
To remove loose dirt and other surface debris, use a stiff brush with water. A mild detergent may be used if necessary. Tiles can also be hosed down, pressure washed and disassembled to clean underneath them as required. Leaves or other debris falling between the gaps can normally be removed with a vacuum cleaner.
Like any exterior wood products, SwiftDeck Ipe wood tiles will gradually fade to a silvery gray color over time. The rate at which this will occur depends largely on the degree of exposure to direct sunlight, the climatic conditions and the frequency at which any preservative treatments are applied.
To reduce the rate at which the tiles will naturally fade when exposed to direct sunlight and to keep the appearance of your deck at its optimum condition, we strongly recommend the tiles are coated with a good quality decking oil with a brush or roller as soon as practical after installation. Decking oils which contains trans-oxide pigments or other proprietary UV absorbing or reflecting compounds and have a high solids content are preferred for longer term results and extended periods between applications of the decking oil/sealant. These specialized products will help maximize the durability, beauty and value of your decking tiles and assist in maintaining the original wood color as long as possible.
Further applications of decking oil or sealant should be undertaken at regular intervals depending on the degree of exposure of your deck to direct sunlight, local climatic conditions and the recommendations of the manufacturer of the decking oil/sealant used.
Under certain climatic conditions, you may notice the surface of the wood slats develops a slight concave profile across the width of slats. This phenomenon will normally occur when the underside of the tiles remain damp e.g. after a period of rainfall and the top surface is then exposed to hot sunlight. Since wood is a natural product, this occurs because the wood slats expand more on the underside due to uptake of moisture than the top surface where both the heat of the sun and/or any decking oil which may have been applied, can reduce the absorption of moisture. When the moisture content of the underside and the surface are in equilibrium, this slight cupping should disappear.
This same phenomenon can also give rise to some expansion and contraction of the completed deck, which can be noticeable particularly across the width of large deck and where all tiles are laid with slats aligned in the same direction.