There’s nothing like a brand new deck to complete a home. Perfect for outdoor entertaining, gardening, or just relaxing and enjoying yourself, a deck is an improvement that keeps on giving. At The Strait & Lamp Group, we can help you build your dream deck. However, before you start, you need to decide what type of wood to use for your deck. There are a variety of materials you can use, each with different benefits. While each has unique properties, it all comes down to preference. In this post, we’ll go over several options for decking that should help you decide on the type of wood you want for your deck.

Types of Wood for Your Deck

When you’re ready to build your dream outdoor space, one of the most important decisions is selecting what type of wood to use for your deck. Exposed to the elements, a deck is subject to a considerable amount of wear and tear, so you need to choose a type of wood that can withstand weathering and ages well. The truth is, there are many types of wood that offer varying benefits, so you should consider your budget, aesthetic, and long-term goals when choosing a deck material. 

Hardwood Vs. Softwood

The first major crossroads when deciding what type of wood to choose for your deck is the choice between hardwood and softwood. The distinction between the two doesn’t actually refer to the literal hardness of the wood but rather the species of the tree it comes from.

Hardwood trees grow slowly and typically have broad leaves that are shed annually. Teak, Ipe, and Tigerwood are a few examples of hardwood tree species. Softwood trees grow a bit quicker and are typically evergreen with needles instead of leaves. Common examples of softwood trees are Pine, Cedar, Spruce, Redwood, and Fir.

When it comes to outdoor decking, hardwood is generally the better choice as it is more durable and has a much longer lifespan than softwood. Hardwood is also naturally more weather resistant and tough. As a result, hardwood materials are more expensive than softwood. Softwood decks are still durable in their own way, though they do require yearly maintenance to ensure they look and perform their best.

When deciding between hardwood and softwood for your deck, the choice may come down to your budget. But before you decide, consider the longevity as well as the ongoing maintenance you’re willing to put into your deck.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is one of the most popular choices for decking materials. Strong and durable, a pressure-treated wood deck is a classic look that can merge with almost any home style. There are several different types of wood that can be used, such as pine and spruce, which can affect the overall look of your addition. The Strait & Lamp Group has a variety of high-quality pressure-treated wood, such as Culpeper Wood Preservers, that are perfect for your new addition.

Benefits of Pressure-Treated Wood

  • Moisture Resistant – While natural wood is extremely susceptible to moisture, pressure-treated lumber is moisture resistant. The process imbibes the wood with a chemical compound based on copper, to help protect it from fungus that causes decay. 
  • Insect Resistant – Insects can cause severe damage to natural wood decks. From termites to carpenter bees, insects can bore straight into lumber and cause lasting problems. Pressure-treated lumber offers significant protection against insects by adding chemicals such as borate to dissuade insects. 
  • Durable – Pressure-treated wood can be cut to size and doesn’t splinter easily when using nails and other fasteners. It’s durable and will last much longer than any natural wood. Due to the treatment, it’s also denser and stronger. 

Drawbacks of Pressure-Treated Wood

  • High-Maintenance – Pressure-treated wood requires regular power-washing and annual staining or sealing to keep it looking nice. 
  • Hazardous – The chemicals used to treat the wood can be hazardous or irritating to health, so use caution when working with pressure-treated wood. Once the construction of your deck is complete, however, this drawback becomes almost negligible.

Composite Decking

Composite decks have been gaining a lot of traction over the past few years. Coming in a wide selection of colors and styles, they mimic wood decks in a variety of ways and can easily match your home’s existing aesthetic. At The Strait & Lamp Group, we offer a variety of types of composite decking to choose from, such as TimberTech, Fiberon, and Azek. 

Benefits of Composite Decking

  • Low-Maintenance – Composite decks do away with many of the maintenance concerns that come with natural wood. With composite, you don’t have to worry about staining, sanding, or painting your deck. If need be, a simple soap and water compound can wash away any dirt or grime that may build up. 
  • Durable – Composite decking is extremely durable. It resists scratching, staining, fading, and moisture. It won’t rot, warp or decay, and is insect and splinter proof. It looks just like natural wood but negates all of the potential drawbacks. 
  • Sustainable – Composite decks do more than look and feel great. They’re significantly better for the environment than natural wood. Typically made from recycled materials like recycled plastic and reclaimed industrial wood, their environmental impact is much smaller than many traditional wood options. 
  • Aesthetics – For a long time, one of the primary arguments for natural wood was the overall look. However, modern composite decking has become nearly indistinguishable from natural wood. Featuring beautiful wood patterns and rich believable colors, composite decking can imitate nearly every type of wood you could want for a deck. 
  • Guaranteed Warranties – Many composite decking providers also offer warranties on their materials that guarantee your decking will stay top quality for decades, which is a much longer lifetime than some natural wood decking.

Drawbacks of Composite Decking

  • Slippery – Due to its composition, composite decking can become slippery and prone to mildew in moist conditions, so take care when it rains or when cleaning your deck.
  • Difficult to Work With – Composite decking is a bit more difficult to work with than natural wood and often requires special fasteners.

Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar is one of the best materials for a new deck. Hearty and beautiful, Red Cedar is a classic look that blends well with a variety of different styles of home. Whether you’re building a small porch or a sweeping deck, Red Cedar is the perfect choice.

Benefits of Western Red Cedar

  • Durable – Cedar has long been the first choice for decking and housing for good reason– it’s extremely durable and naturally resistant to rot, insects, and decay. It also resists moisture absorption, is low maintenance, and doesn’t easily warp or split.
  • Attractive & Versatile – Cedar is generally considered an attractive wood, with strong color and consistency. It holds up well to staining, bleaching, and other finishes. It can be sanded and treated to become a stunning part of any home’s exterior. 
  • Environmentally Friendly – While it may come as a surprise, cedar is fairly environmentally friendly. The growth, cultivation, and production of cedar actually remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. Cedar is also biodegradable and renewable. 
  • Affordable – While cedar is not the least expensive material to build a deck with, it is surprisingly affordable given the benefits it offers, especially compared to other premium materials like redwood.

Drawbacks of Western Red Cedar

  • Requires Maintenance – Cedar requires annual cleaning and staining to keep it looking its best.
  • Availability – Cedar may be difficult to source if you’re not on the West Coast. Finding a trusty provider is crucial if you decide to make a cedar deck.

Trust Us With Your Next Project

Decks are often one of the most utilized spaces in the home. From hosting events to enjoying your property, you’ll fall in love with your new deck more and more each day. Reach out to our team to see how we can help you build the perfect deck to fit your needs. From deciding on the right material to picking out the tools for the job, we have everything you need to build your dream deck.