How to Choose the Right Wood for Your Deck

I once built a small wood deck outside my kitchen door. I designed it, chose the materials and built it myself. Not only did I have fun using my creativity, I saved tons of money doing the project myself. I received many compliments on my creation. Besides being a place for my family and me to relax and grill outside on, it added modern appeal to the house. It also corrected a drainage problem I had in my back yard. Since I was trying to be economical, I chose pressure-treated pine wood for the entire deck. That was my only mistake. Even though I painted it to match the color of my house, and I painted it on a regular basis for protection, the pine didn’t hold up as well as I expected. Read this article and learn how to choose the right wood for your deck so you don’t make the same mistake I did!

Factors to Consider

1. Durability

There are many factors to consider when you choose wood for your deck. The most important element, by far, is durability. You need to determine the answers to these questions:

�· Will the deck be used on a regular basis? Will there be a lot of foot traffic? The amount of traffic will help determine the lifespan of your deck.

�· Will the deck be exposed to the full sun, harsh weather, tree sap, leaves and other natural contaminants? Or, will it be in the shade and protected? Shaded and protected or not, the wood will need to be resistant to rot and insect damage.

The right wood for your deck will offer strength and dependability. Since decks are permanent structures, you’ll expect it to hold up and last for many years to come.

As for my own deck, I didn’t think about it being in the full sun most of the day. I didn’t take into consideration that it faced the west, where it would receive the harsh punishments of the rain, sleet, snow and wind. Since my house is surrounded my trees, my deck even got pummeled with tree sap, bird droppings, leaves and fallen branches. Pressure-treated pine is a fine wood for many projects. I just needed a tougher material.

2. Attractiveness

Besides being strong and resistant to weather, rot and insects, you’ll naturally want to choose a wood that adds appeal to your home. Even though it’s a separate structure, your deck is an extension of your home. So you’ll want it to be attractive and pleasing to the eye.

Popular Woods

Pressure-treated wood is the right choice for any parts of your deck that meet the ground. It resists decay and insects. It’s also an economical choice. Almost eighty percent of decks across the country are built with pressure-treated wood. That shows how well it works.

In talking about specific types of wood, cedars and redwoods are two of the most popular. They are both a relatively soft wood. However, both materials are fairly durable if they are protected on a regular basis with a quality sealer. California Redwood, for example, is not only fire-resistant, but it doesn’t warp or split as easily as other types of wood.

If you choose a cedar or redwood, you’ll need to keep in mind they will weather and change in appearance. For example, a deck built out of Red Cedar will start out looking reddish brown. But, over time, it will turn grayish in color.

To choose the right wood for your deck, you can also consider a Tropical Hardwood like Brazilian Ipe’ or Philippine Mahogany. The mahogany resembles Teak. It’s more expensive, but it’s a harder wood with greater strength and beauty.

If you are interested in buying a Tropical Hardwood for your deck, just make sure it’s certified by the “Forest Stewardship Council.” This means it was harvested from a well-managed rain forest in a responsible manner that won’t harm the environment.

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