When Mike and I saw these fab front steps on a new-build in our neighbourhood we presumed they were teak because of its hardy, all-weather nature and yet they look like walnut. In fact, the stairs are made of ipé wood (pronounced ee-pay), sometimes referred to as Brazilian walnut, a sustainably grown and harvested South American tree.
Ipé is one of the densest hardwoods in the world, has a dark brown colour like mahogany and a beautiful interior grain. These steps aren’t stained at all, you’re seeing the natural colour and quality of the wood. The builder told me he’d paid $3.90 per running foot for 1″ x 6″ boards at Toronto’s Oliver Lumber.
Ipé is an inexpensive alternative to teak and is often used for outdoor decking. These steps will last for years and will bleach down to a consistent light grey colour. They may cost more than poured concrete steps but the look is infinitely sexier and way more custom. Its tremendous durability makes ipé wood worth the modest investment.