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Ipe in the Bathroom / Shower?

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Forum topic by William Shelley posted 09-28-2017 08:04 PM 587 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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William Shelley

479 posts in 1308 days


09-28-2017 08:04 PM

I understand that Ipe is a magical wood that is basically impervious to weather and rot. And so…

I’m considering using it to make a frame for a glass shower enclosure. I looked at buying a framed kit but for custom sizes they are $800-1200 for what amounts to three pieces of 3/8” tempered glass, a hinge, and 20ft of aluminum track that the glass goes into. Seems pretty outrageous.

I’d like to buy the glass and the hinge and build the frame out of Ipe stock instead.

My concerns are that over time the porous wood surface could be more difficult to clean soap scum from, and that it could become slimy or otherwise unpleasant. Additionally, harsher cleaning chemicals could be used on aluminum, but on wood I would be concerned about damaging the wood if I used bleach for example.

Thoughts?

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective


10 replies so far

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AandCstyle

2905 posts in 2096 days


#1 posted 09-28-2017 09:19 PM

William, I would be concerned about mold as you mentioned. We are in NoVA and get mold in the shower on grout and tile unless it is cleaned every couple days. I think wood (even magical wood) would be even worse. Have you considered a frame-less glass door?

-- Art

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Loren

9633 posts in 3486 days


#2 posted 09-28-2017 09:40 PM

I’ve showered in outdoor shower enclosures
made of wood and I think the only factor that
made them not-to-smelly was getting struck by
sun and air flow daily. Whatever the wood
species, I doubt an indoor shower enclosure
could be depended upon to dry out well
enough for fungus not to be an issue.

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Ripper70

614 posts in 747 days


#3 posted 09-28-2017 10:10 PM

At the very least you may want to consider using something like Messmer’s UV Plus for Hardwoods. Supposedly will prevent mildew but might need re-coating every so often in something like a shower enclosure.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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AlaskaGuy

3660 posts in 2148 days


#4 posted 09-28-2017 10:30 PM

A lot of years ago when I don’t know crap from shinola I built this bathroom (this is in my home) I use it almost ever day. The tub surround is knotty cedar. Never a problems with mold or anything else for that matter. This was that packaged cedar you get at HD. 3/8 or a 1/4 T&G. Sealed it with something call gym floor. Haven’t touched it since.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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William Shelley

479 posts in 1308 days


#5 posted 09-28-2017 10:39 PM

Thanks for the feedback!

For the record, I wasn’t planning on using the Ipe without any finish. I guess I should have specified that. I was considering either oil-based polyurethane because it’s more resistant to most cleaners/chemicals than a lot of other stuff, or brushing on a thinned epoxy finish.

I made the threshold for the bathroom from Ipe with polyurethane, but it gets only incidental water on it, and because it’s on the ground it’s not subjected to a “steam bath”. However, it’s 4 months old and has been holding up just fine.

I know that there are some additives for paints, like “MicroBan”, but I wasn’t sure if anything like that is available for clear finishes.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

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AlaskaGuy

3660 posts in 2148 days


#6 posted 09-28-2017 10:55 PM

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Matt Rogers

99 posts in 1808 days


#7 posted 09-28-2017 11:03 PM

I have a shower with ipe walls. This material was also reclaimed from a deck, so it is about 20 years old, run through a planer once to clean up the surface and it looks like new. I made shiplap on my shaper and installed with stainless trim screws onto 2×2 black locust battens that are over a membrane waterproofing. I caulked the few holes made by installing the locust battens through the membrane as they were installed. Caulked the old deck screw holes in the reclaimed planks with a clear non-toxic caulk called EcoBond.

Finish is a single coat of Penofin Verde penetrating oil. So far, I see absolutely no mold, mildew, scum, or dirt at all. It looks cleaner than tile walls as it hides any water spots.

-- Matt Rogers, http://www.cleanairwoodworks.com and http://www.cleanairyurts.com

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3660 posts in 2148 days


#8 posted 09-28-2017 11:08 PM



I have a shower with ipe walls. This material was also reclaimed from a deck, so it is about 20 years old, run through a planer once to clean up the surface and it looks like new. I made shiplap on my shaper and installed with stainless trim screws onto 2×2 black locust battens that are over a membrane waterproofing. I caulked the few holes made by installing the locust battens through the membrane as they were installed. Caulked the old deck screw holes in the reclaimed planks with a clear non-toxic caulk called EcoBond.

Finish is a single coat of Penofin Verde penetrating oil. So far, I see absolutely no mold, mildew, scum, or dirt at all. It looks cleaner than tile walls as it hides any water spots.

- Matt Rogers


That looks good. How thick is it? How many planer knives did you dull?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Matt Rogers

99 posts in 1808 days


#9 posted 09-28-2017 11:45 PM

I used a 15” Delta planer with a shelix carbide head. Don’t even think I changed the knives after running 1000 square feet of material.

The material was standard 1×6 (3/4”x5.25”) decking. Planed off just a thin layer to get through the grey surface. I think the material is now still at least 11/16”.

-- Matt Rogers, http://www.cleanairwoodworks.com and http://www.cleanairyurts.com

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

688 posts in 655 days


#10 posted 09-29-2017 02:51 AM

How long has it been in service?

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