What is the Best Wood for Decks

Are you looking to enhance your deck? How well you achieve it depends largely on the kind of decking wood you opt for. If you want to build a safe and aesthetically appealing deck, it’s best to go with wood that’s not just attractive but also durable–in fact, good enough for steps, railings and flooring. If you also want to use pressure-treated wood, reserve that for supports and frames. So what is the best wood for decks?

Top types of decking wood

Here are five kinds of wood that you can choose from:


ipe wood deck

Ipe wood deck

This South American hardwood comes with a lot of pluses that will make you opt for it straightaway. First, it’s tough, low-maintenance and highly durable, often lasting for 20 years. You can either seal it or leave it to weather naturally to a silver-grey. It is highly resistant to splintering, bug, rot and decay, cupping, chipping and twisting. It’s extremely dense and very heavy and looks good with slate and stone accents. If you opt for Ipé for your deck, ensure that it has been well harvested.

Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar deck

Distinctive for its reddish-brown color that often matures to a silver-grey, Western Red Cedar is highly durable, weathers quickly and is resistant to all kinds of weather. This softwood splinters easily and is rot-resistant. It stains well and ages naturally to become silver-grey. It lasts up to 30 years and is available in a range of grades. To prevent it from weathering, a sealer should be applied to it for it to look perfect for several years.


redwood deck

Just like cedar, redwood too is a softwood type that weathers naturally to a silver-grey ans is considered one of the best woods for decks. Overexposure to moisture makes it turn black. Redwood deck usually resists rot but will continue to look good for years if you apply a sealer. Being lightweight, this softwood can be seen in a spectrum of grades, of which the clear heart grade is considered to be the best as it is highly resistant to rot and decay.

This grade of redwood also comes with a few knots and has a tight grain. Buyers can choose from a variety of colors ranging from deep red to reddish-brown. This kind of wood weathers naturally to a yellowish-red though some turn grey with time. Overexposure to moisture blackens this wood but applying a sealer prevents this.


Mahogany deck

Mahogany can be identified by its beautiful grain that looks woven and tight-grained. There are several species and sub-species of mahogany of which the medium to dark red species and brown species are more highly resistant to rot and pests than others. When treated with marine oil, it turns to a silver-grey with age. It comes in a mind-boggling range, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Mahogany with the FSC trademark assures buyers that rain forests have not been ravages to procure this wood.

There are several kinds of mahogany available, of which two of the commonest are Honduras Mahogany and Philippine Mahogany. While the former is genuine wood, the Philippine variety isn’t. Philippine mahogany lacks the woven look of its grain but it is tight-grained and resistant to decay and pests. Before buying mahogany, buyers should do their homework on the species of wood in question and perhaps also consult a woodworker to check the authenticity of the wood under consideration.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-Treated Wood deck

These days, pressure-treated wood is used to build decks, chiefly because it is highly affordable. This kind of wood can never be totally moisture-resistant, which means that buyers will have to use a water repellent on the deck each year to save it from damage from overexposure to moisture.

Pressure-treated decks are extremely durable, often up to 40 years. To keep the deck in excellent condition, it should be washed every year using a detergent to take off all signs of mold, dirt, algae and moss. The deck can also be cleaned with a pressure washer quickly and easily. After the deck is completely dry, a clear sealant should be used to prevent splintering and discoloration due to exposure to moisture.

Mock Lumber

This comprises alternatives for outdoor decking such as wood polymer and plastic polymer composites. They are resistant to rot and bugs, but at the end of the day, it’s only an imitation of real wood.

Author: John Clax

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