Decks have become an essential part of outdoor living, providing a space for relaxation, entertainment, and family time. When considering building a deck, one of the most important decisions to make is choosing the right wood material – what wood are decks made of?
Decks can be made of various types of wood, including cedar, pressure-treated wood, hardwoods like ipe or cumaru, and composite materials. The best wood options for decks depend on factors such as durability, appearance, and maintenance. Some popular choices include cedar, hardwoods like ipe, and composite materials.
With so many types of wood for decks available, it can be overwhelming to decide which is best suited for your needs. In this guide, we will walk you through the different types of wood used for building decks. From the most popular decking materials, to sustainable options and hardwoods, we will help you make an informed decision.
- Choosing the right wood for your deck is essential for creating a space that is both beautiful and functional.
- There are numerous types of wood to choose from, including sustainable options, hardwoods, and composite materials.
- Factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, climate, and budget should be considered when selecting the best wood for your deck.
- Hardwood is a popular choice for outdoor decks due to its beauty and durability.
- Composite decking has gained popularity in recent years due to its low maintenance requirements.
Understanding Decking Materials
When it comes to building a deck, choosing the right materials is essential for durability and longevity. Before deciding on a specific type of wood, it’s important to understand the different decking materials available.
Common Deck Materials
The most common types of wood for decks include pressure-treated pine, cedar, and redwood. Pressure-treated pine is the most popular choice due to its affordability and availability. However, it requires more maintenance than other materials as it is susceptible to rot, insects, and warping over time. Cedar and redwood are known for their natural resistance to rot and insects, but they are more expensive than pressure-treated pine and require regular maintenance to maintain their appearance.
Composite materials are also a popular choice for decks, as they are low maintenance and do not require staining or sealing like natural wood. They are made of a combination of plastic and wood fibers and are available in a variety of colors and textures. However, they can be more expensive than natural wood options.
Sustainable Wood Options for Decks
As sustainability becomes a growing concern, many homeowners are choosing environmentally friendly options for their decks. Some sustainable wood alternatives include bamboo, reclaimed wood, and thermally modified wood.
Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that can be harvested in just a few years, making it an eco-friendly option. Reclaimed wood is salvaged from old buildings and structures, giving it a unique and rustic appearance while also reducing waste. Thermally modified wood is made by heating natural wood to a high temperature, which changes its chemical composition and makes it more resistant to rot and insects.
Choosing the Right Wood for Your Deck
Choosing the right wood for your deck depends on several factors, including your budget, desired appearance, and maintenance requirements. Consider how often you’re willing to maintain your deck and what kind of climate you live in when making your decision.
It’s also important to think about the overall aesthetic of your home and yard. Will a natural wood look complement your home’s style, or would a composite material better suit your preferences? Asking these questions will help you make an informed decision when selecting the right wood for your deck.
“When it comes to building a deck, choosing the right materials is essential for durability and longevity.”
Hardwood Decking Options
When it comes to building an outdoor deck, hardwood is a popular choice due to its natural beauty and durability. Hardwood is known for its rich colors, unique textures, and resistance to decay and insects. There are several hardwood options available, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits that are worth considering when choosing the right wood for your deck.
Ipe, also known as Brazilian walnut, is a dense and resilient hardwood that is resistant to rot, decay, and insects. It has a deep, rich brown color that can vary from board to board and develops a silver-grey patina over time if left untreated. Ipe is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas as it can withstand heavy foot traffic and is scratch-resistant. It is also fire-resistant, making it a safe option for outdoor spaces.
Cumaru, also known as Brazilian teak, is a durable and attractive hardwood that is resistant to rot, decay, and insects. It has a medium to dark brown color with a straight grain and a fine texture. Cumaru is an excellent option for decks as it is highly resistant to both moisture and insect damage. It is also a great alternative to more expensive hardwoods, such as ipe.
Tigerwood is a striking and exotic hardwood that boasts a bold mix of colors ranging from reddish-brown to golden-brown. It has a unique striped pattern that alternates between light and dark brown. Tigerwood is exceptionally durable and resistant to decay and insects, making it a great choice for outdoor decks. It does require regular maintenance to maintain its beauty and prevent the wood from fading to a silver-grey color.
Cedar vs Pressure-Treated Wood Decks
Choosing the right material for your deck is a crucial decision. Cedar and pressure-treated wood are two popular options for homeowners. Let’s explore the pros and cons of these materials to help you make an informed choice.
Cedar is a durable and attractive wood option for decks. It has a natural resistance to decay, rot, and insect damage, making it a low maintenance option. Cedar also ages gracefully, developing a silvery grey patina over time.
However, cedar decks do require regular maintenance. They need to be sealed and stained every two to three years to maintain their appearance and protect against weathering. Cedar is also more expensive than pressure-treated wood, making it a less cost-effective option.
Pressure-Treated Wood Decks
Pressure-treated wood is a popular and affordable choice for deck construction. It is chemically treated to resist decay, rot, and insect damage, making it a durable option for outdoor use.
However, pressure-treated wood has a greenish tint that may not appeal to everyone’s aesthetic preferences. It also requires regular maintenance to prevent splintering and warping. This includes cleaning, sanding, and staining or painting every two to three years.
In summary, cedar is a beautiful and natural option for decks, but it requires more maintenance and is more expensive than pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated wood is a cost-effective and durable option but requires regular maintenance to maintain its appearance. Consider your personal preferences and budget when selecting the right material for your deck.
Composite Decking Materials
Composite decking has become a popular option for homeowners in recent years due to its low maintenance and durability. Made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic, composite decking is resistant to fading, staining, and mold, making it an ideal choice for those who want a beautiful deck without the hassle of constant upkeep.
“Composite decking is a great option for homeowners who want a beautiful and durable deck that requires minimal maintenance.”
While composite decking has many benefits, it’s important to consider some potential drawbacks. One common complaint about composite decking is that it can become hot to the touch in direct sunlight. Additionally, composite decking can be more expensive than traditional wood options.
Types of Composite Decking
Not all composite decking is created equal, and there are several options to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits. Some common types of composite decking include:
- Solid composite: Made entirely from plastic or a blend of plastic and wood fibers, solid composite decking is durable and resistant to staining and fading.
- Hollow composite: Featuring a hollow core that reduces weight and can help with ventilation, hollow composite decking is slightly less durable than solid composite.
- Capped composite: Featuring an outer layer that provides additional protection against staining and fading, capped composite decking can be more expensive but is also more resistant to the elements.
One of the main benefits of composite decking is its low maintenance requirements. Unlike wood decks, composite decks do not need to be stained or sealed regularly. However, it’s still important to keep the deck clean by periodically sweeping or washing it with a hose.
If the deck does become stained, it’s important to clean it up as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage. Use a mild soap and water or a composite deck cleaner to remove any stains or debris.
While composite decking can be a bit more expensive than traditional wood options, it’s also easier to install. Composite decking boards are typically sold in standard lengths that can be cut to fit the size of your deck, making the installation process quicker and more efficient.
It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing composite decking to ensure that the boards are properly supported and spaced. Additionally, it’s a good idea to allow the boards to acclimate to the outdoor temperature before installation to prevent any warping or buckling.
Composite decking is a durable and low-maintenance option for homeowners looking to build a beautiful deck. Consider the different types of composite decking available, their maintenance requirements, and installation process to find the right option for your needs.
Sustainable Wood Options for Decks
As sustainability becomes a top priority for many homeowners, sustainable wood options for decking have gained popularity in recent years. If you’re looking to achieve an eco-friendly outdoor space, here are some options:
|A fast-growing grass that resembles hardwood.
|Renewable resource, high resistance to moisture and insects, less expensive than most hardwoods.
|Requires frequent maintenance, can be prone to cracking and warping.
|Wood sourced from old buildings, bridges, and other structures.
|Sustainable choice, has character and history, typically harder and more durable than new wood.
|May contain nails, bolts, or other metals that can lead to corrosion, can be more expensive than new wood.
|Thermally modified wood
|A chemical-free process that heats wood to improve its durability and stability.
|Environmentally friendly, highly resistant to rot and decay, less likely to crack or warp.
|The process can weaken the wood fibers, making it less durable, more expensive than some other options.
These sustainable wood options can be a great choice for your deck, but it’s important to note that their availability and price may vary depending on your location and supplier. Consider your budget, maintenance requirements, and desired aesthetic when choosing the right wood for your deck.
If you want to take your sustainability efforts further, consider using a decking material made from recycled plastic and wood waste. These composite materials offer the durability and low maintenance of traditional decking while reducing waste and reliance on virgin materials.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Decking Wood
Choosing the right wood for your deck is an important decision that requires careful consideration of several factors. Before making your final selection, take into account the following:
The climate in your area plays a significant role in selecting the right wood for your deck. Consider if your area experiences heavy rain or high humidity. Certain woods, such as cedar and redwood, have natural oils that make them resistant to decay and rot, making them ideal for humid conditions. Alternatively, tropical hardwoods like ipe can withstand exposure to extreme heat and dry conditions.
Another factor to consider is the level of maintenance required for different types of wood. Pressure-treated wood requires regular staining or sealing to prevent decay, while cedar and redwood need minimal maintenance. Hardwood decks require more upkeep, but reap the benefits of greater longevity.
Wood options for decking vary in price range, so consider your budget before deciding on a material. Pressure-treated wood is generally the most affordable option, while tropical hardwoods can be more expensive.
Different types of wood offer varying levels of visual appeal and aesthetic. Cedar and redwood, for example, offer a natural and warm appearance, while tropical hardwoods like ipe and tigerwood have a unique and distinct look. Composite decking materials have a modern and sleek appearance, while still emulating the natural wood aesthetic.
By considering these factors, you can choose the best wood for your deck that fits your needs, preferences, and budget.
Best Wood for Decks: A Comparison
Choosing the best wood for your deck is crucial in ensuring its durability and longevity. Here, we compare the most popular wood options for decks and outline their benefits and drawbacks.
Pressure-treated pine is a commonly used decking material due to its affordability and availability. It is treated with chemicals to resist rot, decay, and insect infestation, making it durable and long-lasting. However, it requires regular maintenance, such as staining or sealing, to prevent warping and cracking. It is also not the most aesthetically appealing option, with a greenish tint that fades over time.
Cedar is a popular choice for decks due to its natural beauty and resistance to rot and insects. It is also a softwood, making it easy to work with during installation. Cedar does require regular maintenance, such as staining or sealing, to prevent discoloration and decay. It is more expensive than pressure-treated pine, but its natural aesthetic appeal makes it a popular choice for homeowners.
Redwood is a highly durable and attractive wood option for decks. It is naturally resistant to insects and decay, making it a low-maintenance choice for homeowners. It does require regular cleaning and resealing to maintain its color, but its longevity makes it a worthwhile investment. Redwood is also more expensive than other wood options, but its natural beauty and durability make it a popular choice for high-end decks.
Ipe is a hardwood option for decks that is known for its strength and durability. It is naturally resistant to insects, decay, and rot, making it a low-maintenance option for homeowners. Ipe is also a dense wood, making it difficult to work with during installation. It is more expensive than other wood options but its longevity and strength make it a worthwhile investment for homeowners looking for a long-lasting deck.
Composite decking is a popular choice due to its low maintenance and durability. It is made of a mixture of wood fibers and plastic, providing the look of real wood without the maintenance requirements. It is also resistant to rot, insects, and fading, making it a long-lasting option for homeowners. However, it does come at a higher cost than traditional wood options and can be prone to scratches and stains.
Ultimately, the best wood option for your deck will depend on your budget, desired aesthetic, and maintenance preferences. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of each wood type to make an informed decision.
Enhancing Your Deck’s Beauty and Durability
While choosing the best wood for your deck is important, it’s equally crucial to maintain and protect its beauty and durability. Here are some ways to enhance your deck:
1. Stains and Sealants
Stains and sealants are essential for protecting your deck from weather damage and harmful UV rays. They not only enhance the color and grain of the wood but also extend its lifespan. Consider using a clear sealer to showcase the natural beauty of the wood or a stain to add a touch of color and texture to your deck.
2. Deck Oils
Deck oils are another option for enhancing the appearance and durability of your deck. They penetrate the wood pores and provide a protective layer that repels moisture and prevents cracking and splitting. Deck oils come in different finishes, from clear to tinted, depending on your desired look.
3. Paints and Coatings
If you prefer a bold and vibrant deck, consider using paint or coatings to add color and personality. However, keep in mind that paints and coatings require more maintenance than stains or oils, as they may peel or crack over time due to weathering and foot traffic.
4. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Regardless of the treatment or finish you choose, regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for keeping your deck in top shape. Sweeping away debris, power-washing, and reapplying the protective layer every few years ensure your deck looks and performs its best.
By choosing the best wood for your deck and maintaining it with the right treatments and care, your deck will be a beautiful and functional addition to your outdoor living space for years to come.
Choosing the right wood for your deck is a big decision that involves several considerations. You need to think about the climate, maintenance, budget, sustainability, and overall aesthetic to ensure that your deck is not only beautiful but also long-lasting.
By understanding the different types of wood options available, you can choose the best material that suits your preferences and requirements. From hardwoods that offer natural beauty and durability to composite materials that require less maintenance, there are plenty of choices to suit every homeowner’s needs.
Once you’ve selected the best wood for your deck, it’s important to consider enhancing its beauty and durability. Applying treatments and finishes like stains, sealants, and paint can help protect your deck from the elements and make it look its best for years to come.
Investing in a deck is a great way to increase your home’s value and expand your outdoor living space. By selecting the right wood and taking good care of it, you can create a functional and beautiful deck that you and your family will enjoy for many years.
What are the common deck materials?
Common deck materials include cedar, pressure-treated wood, hardwoods like ipe or cumaru, and composite materials.
Are there sustainable wood options for decks?
Yes, there are sustainable wood options for decks. Some examples include bamboo, reclaimed wood, and thermally modified wood.
What is the difference between cedar and pressure-treated wood decks?
Cedar and pressure-treated wood are two common choices for decks. Cedar is naturally resistant to decay and insect damage, while pressure-treated wood is chemically treated to improve durability.
Should I consider composite decking materials?
Composite decking materials are worth considering due to their low maintenance and longevity. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons based on your specific needs and preferences.
What factors should I consider when choosing decking wood?
When choosing decking wood, consider factors such as climate, maintenance requirements, budget, and desired aesthetic to make an informed decision.
Which wood is the best for decks?
The best wood for decks depends on individual preferences and needs. Different types of wood have varying levels of durability, resistance to pests and rot, maintenance needs, and appearance. Explore the options to find the best fit for you.
How can I enhance my deck’s beauty and durability?
You can enhance your deck’s beauty and durability by using treatments and finishes such as stains, sealants, deck oils, or paints, regardless of the wood type.
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