Best Wood for Weather-Resistant Decks

If you’re looking to build or repair a deck for your home, it pays to do your due diligence when it comes to choosing the right wood to use for the deck. Here are some pros and cons of the different types of woods often used for decking.

Yellow Pine Decks

About 85 percent of all single family homes have a deck of some kind. Of those decks, most are made of wood, and often of yellow pine that has been “pressure treated.” This treated lumber is relatively inexpensive and very sturdy. It’s also easy to cut, nail, screw, and work with. It also looks great after staining. You probably should expect to get about 15 years out of a good treated Yellow Pine deck.

Redwood Decks

Redwoods are an excellent decking choice. Redwoods come in different grades, determined generally from which part of the tree the planks came from. The most expensive grade — and often considered the best — is heartwood which comes from the center (“heart”) of the tree. If going with heartwood, “construction heart” or “select heart” are the best to use for decks. Heartwood will easily last more than 30 years in many climates and 20 years or so in harsher climes.

Cedar Decks

If you’re looking for another sturdy wood, one that’s not as expensive as redwood, check out cedar. Just as with redwood, you’ll need to be aware of the grade of wood you’re purchasing. Look for “custom clear” or “architect clear.” These grades come from the center of a tree, meaning its growth rings are closer together, which gives the wood a tighter grain. It won’t warp as much as a result and is less likely to rot. You’ll find cedars come in a range of colors, from reds to yellows. A cedar deck should last about 20 years.

 Mahogany

Mahoganysometimes is used for decks. You’ll want to be sure the wood comes from Central or South America, the West

Photo by Glenda Cherry

Indies or Mexico. Mahogany resists water and insects and its deep red color makes for a very impressive deck indeed.

 Ipe Decks

Finally, there’s ipe (pronounced e-pay). Many people believe ipe to be the best of the woods for building decks because it won’t warp, cup, splinter, or twist. You won’t have to seal it (except at the boards’ ends, where they are cut). This wood is very hard and very heavy, making it highly durable, but difficult to work with (it’s hard to cut, for one thing). The wood fades to a gray, silver color and should last 30 years or more.

 

About the Author: Aaron Garcia is a home owner who has built a deck from scratch.  He has also been involved in other home remodeling projects such as installing new kitchen cabinets, building patios & walkways and installing new appliances.

 

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