Brazilian Hardwoods are some of the hardest woods in the world. That means installation of these boards differ from the older, traditional alternatives (Pressure Treated Pine, Composites, Plastics, Cedar etc.) Brazilian Wood Depot is proud to offer support and guidance based on decades of combined experienced-based knowledge.

Installing Brazilian Hard Wood Decking

When designing your deck plan, you must provide for adequate ventilation to assure long term stability and avoid cupping. Proper air ventilation allows air to flow in from outside the deck area and under the joists to evaporate moisture. Gently sloping the soil under the deck away from the house and covering the soil with plastic is recommended for any type of deck installation. Allow a 1/8″ gap between standard deck boards for drainage and airflow.


NEVER install a subfloor underneath ANY decking. This will cause cupping. Fasten boards directly to the joists.


For screws, we recommend the high-quality, stainless steel “self-drilling” type or coated screws. Using lower quality fasteners can cause black staining. To install Brazilian hardwood decking, you must pre-drill a pilot hole and countersink to avoid splitting, even when using self-drilling screws. The Smart-Bit drills and counter-sinks the perfect hole for our brown Headcote SS screws.

Always ensure the connection between the floor and the main structure is flashed with MCQ compatible flashing and installed with MCQ compliant fasteners when using pressure-treated (PT) joists. You cannot use indoor flooring fasteners because the chemicals in PT will quickly destroy them. Stainless steel fasteners provide the best results. Because stainless steel is not as hard as steel and Brazilian decking is hard, pre-drilling is required when installing any Brazilian decking

The Deck Clip and the Ipe-Clip are two of the best-hidden fasteners available and BWD kerfs (grooves) decking to accommodate these fasteners. Screws must be installed at an angle through deck boards when using the Ipe Clip but can be installed without pre-drilling when using the Deck Clip. A BowWrench is handy for pulling boards together when installing decking.

ALWAYS use subfloor adhesive in addition to your fasteners when installing T&G decking or when using hidden fasteners to prevent any movement in the future.

Working with Wood

All wood will shrink and expand at a far greater rate outside than indoors. So, a deck may end up buckling if boards are jammed together too tightly during installation. T&G decking is not indoor flooring and must not be installed too tightly. Standard decking should also be installed to leave some room for expansion because all wood displays minor shrinkage and expansion after installation.

All wood splinters. Wood workers are very familiar with this basic law. Common sense precautions should always be observed. For example, use gloves when handling and do not slide on wood decking or flooring.


Unlike traditional decks and porches, Brazilian hardwood does not need any painting or finishing. It will remain durable and rot resistant for a lifetime.Left unfinished, it will weather to a silvery gray. You can protect the hardwood from graying by applying a finish periodically. Some species may show black spots around screws if you do not finish your deck. In addition, metal tools, shavings or screws left over night on an unfinished deck may leave stains. Finish the deck for best results.

Messmer’s Hardwood Deck Oil out performs all other deck finishes that we’ve tried. Wait five to ten days after installation and apply only one coat of deck finish. Apply 2nd application after finish begins to fade, which could be as soon as six to eight months on decks that have full sun in southern climates and as long as 12 months for decks with limited sun exposure. Follow-up applications will be needed at progressively longer time periods between applications. Don’t apply a new coat of finish before deck begins to fade. This will prevent over application, which could result in a sticky finish.

During installation, apply wax emulsion to the ends of boards when cut to help prevent end checking.

Tongue and Groove Installation

Tongue and groove decking is a hybrid between a floor and an open deck and yields the best results when installed under a roof. It is blind nailed or screwed so that water can get thru. So, you must always allow for drainage and ventilation. Moisture trapped below the deck or underneath deck boards will cause cupping.

Because of the hardness and minimal movement of hard wood decking, T&G deck board joints do not need to meet on joists. Installing T&G decking with joints assures the look of indoor flooring while retaining the durability of outdoor decking completing its hybrid appeal. Always allow a 1/16th inch between the boards for expansion and contraction.

Visit the Documents page for more information on deck building, clips, fasteners, sealers, cleaners, railing options and more

For more interesting deck design ideas and tips visit the “Cutting Edge Design & Installation Tips“. Also, see our Documents page for more step-by-step installation directions and other best practices.

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