Archatrak structural Ipe wood tiles and Black Locust tiles can be easily installed over sloping or uneven substrates using adjustable height pedestals placed under each corner of the tiles. Structural wood tiles are primarily designed as an alternative to more time consuming and expensive installations with straight run deck planks laid over wood bearers. The pedestal system greatly simplifies installation and resolves problems where no ‘permanent’ structures are permitted or where there are concerns that building materials may damage waterproof membranes.
Installation of Archatrak structural wood tiles is similar to installation of porcelain pavers on pedestal systems as described here with the primary difference that Ipe wood tiles are supplied with a slot cut in each corner enabling a special screw and washer component to be inserted. The screw is invisibly screwed into the pedestal head with the washer holding down the corner of the pedestals to “lock down” the tiles onto the pedestal, ensuring a safe, secure and level surface. At present, Black Locust tiles are not supplied with this corner slot.
If any tiles need to be cut, it is very important that the structural integrity of the tiles is maintained. This may require relocating one (or two) of the support battens and re-attaching these to the slats from the underside of the tile. It may also be necessary to drill and countersink additional holes when re-inserting screws.
It is also important that an adequate number of pedestals are used around the perimeter of the paved area, and that the tiles are restrained around the perimeter by a low wall or some other restraining structure to prevent the tiles from moving.
If installing solid wood tiles over a firm substrate such as concrete, they should not be laid directly on the substrate for the following reasons:
- If wood is allowed to remain in contact with water for extended periods, some swelling of the bearers may occur and possibly temporary warping or twisting of the wood slats.
- Unless the tiles are all laid parallel to the slope (and not in an alternating checkerboard pattern), the bearers on the underside will prevent water flowing freely underneath the tiles.
- If the substrate is slightly uneven, the tiles could “rock” on the surface, or one or more of the edges may protrude upwards, creating a tripping hazard
For best results, we thus recommend laying the tiles on our 3/8″ high ETE-PAD10 fixed height rubber support pads placed under each corner of the tiles.
For on-grade applications, our SwiftDeck range of interlocking wood tiles could also be considered. With these tiles, the Ipe wood slats are screwed to a raised plastic mesh base, providing excellent drainage and enabling the tiles to be locked together by integral connecting tabs for quick and easy installation. Although the largest SwiftDeck tile is 24″ x 12″, two tiles can be connected side by side, effectively creating the appearance of a single 24″ x 24″ panel.
Post Installation Care
As supplied, Archatrak structural Ipe wood tiles do not have any factory applied oil coating. However a wax material is applied to the ends of the slats to reduce the possibility of end checking. Be aware that this wax can ‘bleed’ a short distance along the top surface of the slats after installation, especially when the tiles are exposed to hot, sunny conditions and when the tiles have not been coated with a good quality decking oil after installation. There can often be a significant color contrast between the weathered body of the tiles and the wax impregnated ends, appearing as if the ends of the slats have been saturated with water. Although this phenomenon should disappear over time, we strongly recommend the tiles are coated with a good quality decking oil as soon as practical after installation to reduce the potential for ‘bleeding’, to maintain the attractive wood color as long as possible and reduce the rate at which the wood will weather naturally to a silvery grey color.
Our Black Locust tiles however are not end waxed but are supplied with a coating of a natural oil on all sides.