Choosing the Right Wood for Your Outdoor Deck

Taking on a project like building a hardwood deck is a daunting one unless you plan extensively beforehand. After figuring out the structure and design of the deck, you’ll have to consider the type of wood to be used in construction. The wood you choose for your outdoor deck depends on many factors like cost, appearance and the durability of the wood.

outdoor deck

A deck shouldn’t look like it was stuck
on the home as an afterthought.

Appearance

The color and grain of the wood is an important consideration. A deck shouldn’t look like it was stuck on the home as an afterthought. It should be carefully planned to enhance the existing outdoor area. A deck made of redwood with a deep cherry finish would enhance an elegant home of stately stone or brick while a lighter wood like cypress would look beautiful on a cottage. The California Redwood Association is a great place to start researching redwood as a choice for your deck project. The type of home, color and style should be considered when choosing a wood to compliment the home decor.

Durability

The wood that you choose for the hardwood decking should be strong and able to withstand the elements. This would depend on your area too. If you live in an area that is prone to harsh winters, that’s a consideration when choosing the wood. You’ll want hardwood decking that can hold strong under a few feet of snow through the entire winter months. The wood should be insect and rot resistant as well. It’ll have to last for years with minimal maintenance, so the choice of wood is critical. If you choose a wood that is normally soft, it’ll need to be pressure treated or enhanced to prolong it’s life and durability.

Cost

Budget should be a concern unless you have an unlimited budget for the project. The cost of the wood depends on a few factors. Availability is a huge factor in the price of the lumbar. For example, redwood can be the most expensive of all the woods used in decking and can become even more expensive the further you are from where it grows naturally. A mid-range wood is cedar, which costs half the price of redwood. On the low end of lumbar cost is pressure-treated lumbar or plastic and wood composites. You’ll have to weigh the type of wood you’d like to use with the budgetary constraints to find the perfect lumbar for your project.

Pressure-treated Lumbar and Composites

The most popular wood for an outdoor deck is still pre-treated lumbar or composite decking, which is a mixture of plastics and wood fibers. It’s an inexpensive alternative to hardwood decking material. Pressure-treated lumbar is easy to nail, cut and drill. It’s been treated to be resistant to rot and insects. One disadvantage of pressure-treated lumbar is that it can warp.

Softwoods

Redwood, cypress and cedar are considered softwoods. They can be enhanced with treatments to be more resistant to damage. They have a natural resistance to insects and rot too. For areas without harsh climates, the softwoods can be an extremely beautiful wood for decks. Redwoods and cedar are the choice for people who want to surround themselves with the rich beauty, stunning color and natural elements of the redwood.

Hardwoods

Tropical hardwoods are becoming more popular for decking because they are naturally resistant to rot and insects. They can be extremely expensive and difficult to assemble into a deck since nails cannot be hammered into them. Hardwood decking comes with pre-drilled holes for assembly. The tropical hardwoods are prized for their durability and resistance to the elements too.

There is a lot to consider when building an outdoor deck from the type of climate, the durability of the wood and the cost of the entire project from beginning to end. These choices influence the cost of the project. The University of Minnesota’s Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series has very informative articles on wood choice too.

Image Credit: www.watimberdecking.com.au

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