A beautiful spacious deck not only provides a perfect spot for outdoor living, but also adds great value to your home when selling the property. It makes a unique addition to any residential home and it is important to make a wise choice when considering the type of wood that is best for decking. The wood material that ends up on your outdoor surfaces will have a significant impact on the overall lifecycle costs, longevity and care needs.
This guide analyzes the different types of wood ideal for decking and shows what makes each one of them unique. Although they may all have essential benefits based on their uniqueness, it is always important to consider their downsides too.
- Pressure-Treated Lumber
Pressure-treated decking wood is resistant to insects and rot. Compared to cedar and redwood, this type of wood is more affordable and available. Pressure-treated lumber is used primarily for the support beams on a deck and can be combined with other types of wood on top. The only downside is that it can warp, shrink or unstable over time. Furthermore, it requires high maintenance and you have to regularly wash, stain, and seal it.
The treatment process used in this type of wood makes it suitable for a wide range of applications such as fencing, foundations, and decking. Although you might find higher-grade pressure-treated lumber to be more expensive, it is more stable and can be stained to blend with the color of your home décor.
Softwoods such as cedar and redwood are popular because of their rich color and high resistance to rot and insects. However, they will need some staining to maintain their color for extended periods. Their durability and strength may vary depending on the quality engraved in the boards. They tend to be softer and less durable if made up of sapwood. Getting this type of wood can be a little bit hard as it is associated with a high price tag.
Redwood is naturally stable and does not warp like other types of wood, but can be expensive for people around the west coast. Cedar is more likely to splinter because of its level of softness. This is the main reason why cedar is usually used for railings and other vertical requirements rather than deck flooring. Annual maintenance may be necessary if you want to maximize the life of a softwood deck.
Hardwood falls in the category of broad-leaved slow-growing tree species that outperforms the softwood decks in terms of longevity, overall toughness and weather resistance. Tropical and exotic hardwoods such as teak, ipe, and mahogany are hard and durable but they might be difficult to cut because of their hardness.
Hardwood might be naturally resistant to rot and insects but its density makes it difficult to stain decks properly. The most interesting feature about hardwood is that it is a beautiful wood, enriched with dark and red colors. However, hardwood is pricier because most of it is imported. Nevertheless, its significant price tag is widely associated with the level of durability.
- Composite Materials
Composite decking materials are made from a combination of plastic and wood. They require little maintenance and provide the benefits of beautiful rich wood. Unlike other materials, composite decks do not splinter and they are much safer when walking on bare feet. You only need to clean this material with mild soap and rinse with water and you are good to go. Composite decking has low-maintenance, is highly durable and offers a great value. It also has a good aesthetics and is highly sustainable than its counterparts.
- Modified Wood
This type of wood uses a non-toxic liquid and sustainable softwood pieces that create a super dense structure to make it look like a tropical hardwood. Modified wood such as Kebony is greatly adored for its superior durability, beauty, environmentally responsible nature, and its low maintenance requirements. You can always find it in both character and clear grades if you want to achieve a rich and rustic appearance or smooth and polished look. Just like composite decking, modified wood is usually maintenance-free which means it does not require staining or sealing unless you want to.
The type of wood that is best for decking will always depend on your budget and your overall needs. Composite and modified wood happens to be the best for decking as they meet most of these values, are environmentally friendly, and readily available. The higher costs associated with the purchase may be worth every penny because the right wood for decking values beauty, ease of care, durability, and longevity.