Ipe Oil vs Penofin | What’s the Difference?

Choosing the right protective coating for your deck will help you increase its lifespan and avoid serious damage. Ipe Oil and Penofin are both very popular products for use on hardwood decking, but is there any difference between them? This guide will tell you everything you need to know so you can pick the right product for your project.

What’s the Difference Between Ipe Oil and Penofin?

Ipe Oil and Penofin are both oil-based finishes designed for use on hardwoods, but there are some key differences. The main one being the type of oil they are made from. Ipe Oil is made from a blend of oils, mainly linseed oil. Penofin products, on the other hand, use Brazilian Rosewood oil, which penetrates very deeply into the wood.

Penofin also has a wider range of products than Ipe Oil, and there are more color options. Penofin is also slightly cheaper than Ipe Oil. So, even though they both offer the same protection against moisture, mildew, and UV, it’s important that you make the right choice between the two.

What is Ipe Oil?

Ipe Oil is an oil-based, semi-transparent stain designed for use on Ipe and other Brazilian hardwoods. Hardwoods are notoriously difficult to finish because stains do not penetrate them very well. Ipe Oil is specifically formulated to penetrate deeply into the wood, highlighting the natural grain and giving it a slight brown tint. 

The base is linseed oil but it also contains fungicides to prevent mold and mildew growth. The oils are all organic and oil solids help to improve penetration in the wood. The iron oxide pigments bring out the grain and give excellent UV protection to prevent fading in the sun. There are low VOC options available if you are concerned about odors and fumes from harsh chemicals. It is also a one-coat application, so staining your deck is a quick and easy job.

Using Ipe Oil on your deck gives you excellent protection from the elements and helps the wood retain moisture. The excellent penetration of the oil means that you’ll get longer lasting protection.

How Many Ipe Oil Products Does DeckWise Offer?

Deckwise offers 2 different Ipe Oil products; regular Ipe Oil and Ipe Oil Plus.

Regular Ipe Oil DeckWise Ipe Oil Hardwood Deck Semi-Transparent 100 VOC Natural Finish (1-Gallon)

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The regular Ipe Oil was the first product Deckwise developed. It has the basic linseed formula with pigment to stain the deck slightly. Using this finish on your decking will protect it against damage from the weather, and prevent mold and mildew. It will also reduce fading from the sun.

Ipe Oil Plus DeckWise Ipe Oil Plus Hardwood Deck Semi-Transparent 250 VOC Natural Finish (1-Gallon)

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Ipe Oil Plus is the advanced version of the original finish. According to Deckwise, it gives you 15% longer lasting protection. The adjusted formula still delivers the same benefits as the regular Ipe Oil, it is just designed for people that live in harsher conditions with more rain or heavy sun, and extreme temperatures.

What’s the Difference Between Ipe Oil and Ipe Oil Plus?

In terms of the actual ingredients in the two products, there isn’t much difference. Ipe Oil Plus simply contains more of the active ingredients like iron oxide pigments, so it gives you better protection. In most cases, the regular Ipe Oil will give you enough protection, but if you want it to last as long as possible before reapplication, consider the Ipe Oil Plus. 

What is Penofin?

Penofin is a hardwood finish made from Brazilian Rosewood oil. It works in the same way as Ipe Oil, penetrating deep into the wood and protecting it from moisture and rot. It is a semi-transparent finish, so it does add some color to the wood. It has lots of added mildew protection and UV inhibitors that give 99% protection against fading. The range of colors available is much larger than Ipe Oil too. The Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin, for example, comes in ten different wood tones. Penofin also comes in more VOC options than Ipe Oil (100, 250, and 550).

Ipe Oil is designed for use on a select number of specific hardwoods but the Penofin range can be used on a much wider variety. 

What Products Does Penofin Offer?

Penofin has an extensive range of different products designed for use on different types of wood. The full range includes:

  • Penofin for Redwood
  • Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin
  • Penofin Hardwood Formula
  • Penofin Verde
  • Marine Oil Wood Finish
  • Premium Blue Label Penofin

They also sell a number of products designed for use on composite decking too. Penofin wood finishes are usually Brazilian Rosewood Oil-based. If you are finishing hardwoods, the main ones to look for are Ultra Premium Red Label, Premium Blue Label, and Penofin Hardwood Formula.

Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin Penofin Red Label Ultra Premium Transparent Redwood 2 Gallon Pack

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Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin is their most advanced formula, designed to give superior protection on all types of wood, including dense hardwoods. Brazilian Rosewood oil is used because it penetrates very deeply, protecting the wood from within and revitalizing the fibers, while still allowing it to breathe. There are also mildewcides and UV inhibitors added to the Brazilian Rosewood oil to boost protection. You can get this semi-transparent wood finish in ten different wood shades. It’s an excellent deck finish that will give you protection for around 2 years before you need to reapply.

Premium Blue Label Penofin Penofin F5ECMGA Blue Label Penetrating Oil Finish ~ Cedar, One Gallon by Penofin

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Penofin describes this finish as the ‘workhorse’ of their range. It’s an excellent all-around wood finish that uses the same Brazilian Rosewood oil and trans oxide pigments as you find in the Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin. The protection you get from this finish is not quite as long-lasting as the Ultra Premium, but it still outperforms any other cheap stain products. You also have a wider range of colors with the Blue Label because, alongside the ten wood shades, you also get a range of mist shades.

Penofin Hardwood Formula

Penofin Deep Penetrating Oil Treatment for Exotic Hardwood Exterior, Wood Stain Natural Finish (1 Gallon)

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The Penofin Hardwood Formula is designed specifically for wood species like Ipe, teak, or mahogany, which have a very dense grain. It penetrates very well and gives long-lasting protection. If you want to retain the natural appearance of the wood, you can use the transparent Penofin Hardwood Formula to protect it without adding any pigment. There are also Ipe and Tigerwood colors available. 

Is IpeOil or Penofin More Affordable?

Ipe Oil is the more expensive option out of the two. Penofin gives you more choice of different finishes too, so you have more freedom to decide how much you want to spend. Whatever option you go for, you will get excellent protection.

Which Penetrates the Wood Better?

Both products penetrate the wood very deeply and protect the wood from within. However, Ipe Oil is largely linseed-oil based while Penofin uses only Brazilian Rosewood oil, which penetrates better. So, you will get deeper penetration with Penofin, especially if you use one of the products specifically designed for dense hardwoods.

Which Brand Had More Product Options?

Penofin definitely has the best range. Ipe Oil only offers two options, regular and Plus, and there isn’t a huge amount of difference between the two. Penofin, on the other hand, has multiple products specifically designed for hardwoods and their general products work on most types of wood too.

Does Ipe Oil or Penofin Protect Wood Better?

In terms of the protection they offer, there isn’t much between them. They both protect well against moisture and mildew, but there are some differences in the UV protection. Ipe Oil protects brilliantly against UV damage, and so does the Ultra Red Label Premium Penofin. Even after a few years, you won’t see much fading or graying. However, the standard Blue Label Penofin is not great at preventing UV damage to the wood.

Which Can Be Used on More Types of Wood?

Ipe Oil can be used on all exotic hardwoods, and so can Penofin Ultra Premium, Penofin Blue Label, and Penofin Hardwood Formula. However, Penofin has an extensive range of other products that can be used on different types of wood. If you are staining a deck made from Ipe or other exotic hardwoods, Ipe Oil is fine. Otherwise, look at the Penofin range. 

The Verdict | What’s the Better Hardwood Finish?

Overall, I would go for Penofin, but make sure you use the Ultra Premium Red Label finish. Both options will give you good protection but the Brazilian Rosewood oil penetrates deeper, so the protection lasts longer. You also have a lot more color choices with Penofin, and it’s cheaper.

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