Structural wood tiles offer a time saving and less expensive option for constructing elevated wood decks compared with 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.
Wax Treatment of Wood Slats
As supplied, Archatrak structural Ipe wood tiles do not have any factory applied oil coating. However, in accordance with normal industry practice, 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 partially 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 as the tiles weather naturally and the wood color begins to fade, we nevertheless 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. Even when some weathering has occurred and the wood color has become consistent over the length of the slats, some wax can remain in the pores of dry wood, effectively providing some waterproofing to the ends of the slats, manifesting as a difference in color between the wax impregnated tile ends and body of the slats when the tiles are wet.
Our Black Locust tiles however are not end waxed but are supplied with a coating of a natural oil on all sides.