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ellisr63 11-13-2012 08:46 PM

Indoor pond flooring and decking
We have a project that I need some help on.

There is a 7000 gallon pond next to the house and it is enclosed by a 2 story structure. The 2 story structure also includes a 2nd floor deck.

We want to use real wood around the pond (and overhanging by a few inches) and also would like to use T&G for both floors if possible.

We were looking at IPE and thought that was the way to go until we were told not to use it indoors because it needs ventilation.

What can we use? We do not want to use plastic decking.


nealtw 11-13-2012 09:13 PM

You will need venting anyway.

ellisr63 11-13-2012 09:20 PM

So the IPE wood be good to use? Can we use it in T&G for both around the pond and the second floor?


nealtw 11-13-2012 10:07 PM

I don't know but any indoor pool will give high moisture so it will have to be well ventulated. So I would think anything that works outside around a pool would work. But I am only guessing.:rolleyes:

notmrjohn 11-15-2012 09:07 AM

Who told you the ipe needed ventilation?

When working with it, especially machining , sawing, drilling, and sanding, breathing and skin protection is needed, especially if you have allergies or are prone to dermatitis or skin rashes. Most species classified as ipe are related to walnut and I hate working with black walnut. The natural chemicals in walnut and ipe that make it so durable make me itch like crazy when saw dust or chips get on my skin. And saw dust gets down the back of my shirt. But once I'm through making dust and hose my self down, everything is fine. Once you get it installed and sealed you should be OK.

You're gonna want plenty of ventilation any way. The moisture is gonna affect furniture, cloth, etc.

One caveat, I dunno what you are going to have in the pond, but those chemicals in the ipe will affect plant growth. In the wild they keep other plants, trees for example, from growing close to and competing with the walnut or ipe tree. Those chemicals are what keeps mold, algae, etc from growing on wood once it is cut. You'll want to seal all sides and cut ends before installing it to keep chemicals from washing into pond. They may affect fish, since ipe also resists termites, they will affect invertebrates like snails, shrimp, crawdads, lobsters, or what ever critters you got in there. Shouldn't affect crockigators, whales, walrus, or seals.
Except for Thompson's Water seal, don't use that, it won't withstand being that close to water.
I'd recommend several thin coats of polyurethane.

ellisr63 11-15-2012 11:09 AM

I was told by Advantage Lumber that I needed ventilation. The pond is for Koi and Goldfish. I did not know there were chemicals in IPE that might be harmful. I had IPE around a pond years ago but it was just up to the edge carved around rocks. What kind of wood can I use that won't harm the fish? The 2 story room will have ventilation but will be protected from the weather.


notmrjohn 11-15-2012 02:00 PM

I did some Googling, I haven't found any info that says ipe would be hazardous to fish. It would certainly be safer than pressure treated and you wouldn't want to be in a room with PT.
The harmful effects are to you while you are creating dust that you might breathe in, so wear a dust mask. There are some reports that it can case asthma attacks.
There are herbal teas and medicines made from ipe, some are expecterants to break up mucus in the lungs. Various critters, humming birds, rodents, browsers that feed on nectar, leaves and such of ipe and it seems to do them no harm.

I've been keeping fish in aquariums and ponds for 50 years or so. I don't think you have anything to worry about. Any other wood that would stand up to being that close to water would probably be more hazardous. The oils in cedar, redwood or even teak would be more likely to leach into the water than the natural chemicals of ipe. Especially if you seal it with an oil based varnish.

Ipe is being used for docks, decks, etc in govt wildlife preserves, and as fishing piers. I don't think they'd be using it if it was hazardous to fish.

I took a look at the Advantage web site and saw the cautions about ventilation and clearance over water. There wasn't really anything unusual. Normal ventilation for an indoor pond should be fine. Make sure there's good air circulation below it. And it is used for those piers and decks right over water.

I was pro'lly being over cautious when I mentioned the fish and plants in the pond. Just don't let a lot of water run off the deck into the pond. A short overhang probably won't hurt anything. I didn't mean to scare you. You might wanta just have some goldfish in the pond for a few months before putting expensive koi in it just to make sure, but that's standard procedure with any pond.

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