If you have a new deck project in the works, you’ll face many options for natural and synthetic materials. However, wood remains the most popular deck material. So, which are the best types of wood that make for a sturdy, long-lasting deck?
Cedar is a softwood with long roots in traditional residential decks. This attractive tree produces lumber in a pleasant reddish brown color. Even without a stain to hold the color, cedar holds up well in harsh climates. Long use has proven its ability to withstand insects, rain, snow, sun and heat for years. Because its soft grain and relatively light weight make it easy to work with, many builders prefer this type of wood for decks.
Like cedar, redwood contains oils and tannins that resist water penetration and insect infestations. While pressure-treated pinewood also comes with these features, natural redwood and cedar require no toxic chemicals to achieve the same, or higher, level of resistance. Redwood, as its name suggests, displays a beautiful rusty hue. Unstained, it will age to a soft silver, as does cedar, but with regular applications of a protective coating, redwood will retain its lovely color year in and year out. Unsealed, however, redwood invites black molds that can upset a clean, hospitable appearance.
Ipe and Other Tropical Hardwoods
Ipe (pronounced ee-pay), teak, mahogany, tigerwood and other exotic hardwoods from southeast Asia and South America offer tremendous beauty and strength. Because of their rainforest habitats, they’re also nearly impervious to rot and insects. The density of hardwood renders them substantially stronger and heavier than softwoods. However, their mass makes the lumber difficult to saw and fasten. Often, a deck kit for ipe or other similar woods comes with hidden clamps for easier installation. Additionally, staining the boards requires a more complex system if you feel a need to coat them. Despite their higher price and construction issues, they make for excellent decks you’ll probably never need to rebuild.
Sometimes, the best deck wood isn’t even all wood. Synthetic lumber made from wood fiber, plastic and resin binders can last indefinitely with almost no maintenance. These systems, when built well, almost never shrink, warp, stain, twist, rot or split. You can buy them in several colors and wood grain profiles to suit your tastes. The plastic and resin constituents mean you never have to stain them. It’s easy to see why synthetic boards have gained in popularity over the years.
No matter which type of deck material you choose, all outdoor surfaces eventually take on dirt and grime. All decks need a good power wash every year to keep free of creeping mold and mildew and to preserve their beauty. The softwoods, cedar and redwood, should receive a new coat of stain every two or three years depending on their exposure to the sun and precipitation.
Indiana Roof & Exterior Cleaning power washes decks and the rest of your home’s exterior features. Now is a great time to schedule a free estimate and lock your place on the schedule before the spring rush. Call us to schedule your 2018 projects now!