Choosing the Best Wood for Your Deck
A wooden deck is a beautiful and functional addition to any home. When the weather cooperates, decks are great places to unwind and host friends and family. Best of all, installing a wooden deck is a good investment for your home, increasing its market value.
If you’re considering having a wooden deck built for your home, you have to consider its composition. After all, there are many types of wood available, and the materials you choose for your deck will help determine its durability, maintenance regiment, and longevity. Let’s go over some of the different types of wood used for decks and how you can choose the best kind.
Wood Types: Hard or Soft?
Broadly speaking, all types of wood can be divided into two categories: hard and soft. Hardwood refers to species of trees that grow slowly and often in tropical or temperate forests. These include cherry, oak, birch, and sycamore, to name a few. Conversely, softwood trees grow at a faster rate and often grow needles as opposed to broad leaves. Pine, cedar, spruce, and redwood trees fall into this latter category.
Both hardwood and softwood are used to build wooden decks, but each type offers various pros and cons. For instance, hardwood decks tend to be more durable and weather-resistant than softwood decks, but softwood materials are more abundant and easier to work with, making them cheaper on average. As a result, most wooden decks are built from softwood materials, the most common being cedar, redwood, and pine.
Cedar is a commonly used wood for decking. It is flexible but durable and contains a bright natural beauty that complements any home exterior. This material is naturally resistant to pests and moisture, but will still deteriorate over time if left untreated and unstained. And because it’s a softer wood, cedar is also more susceptible to splintering and cracking than harder wood options.
In terms of durability, redwood is slightly stronger than cedar, but not to a significant degree. And like cedar, it’s also resistant to insects, fungi, and moisture. As its name suggests, this type of wood is naturally a darker, reddish hue and also has a less visible grain. Choosing between redwood and cedar may be more of an aesthetic preference than anything else.
Due to its low cost, pine is another popular decking option. Its typically light color and smooth surface make it easy to apply various kinds of wood deck stain to this material. While pine is one of the cheaper softwood options, it might require more maintenance than other types of wood.
Composite, Pressure-Treated, and Synthetic Options
The three materials outlined above represent pure woods or woods that are composed of a single material. However, decks can also be made of multiple materials at once. These are known as composite decks. Composite decks may contain various types of wood fibers, but they're often mixed in with synthetic materials, too, such as polyethylene, plastic, or vinyl. These decks are relatively inexpensive, highly durable, and resistant to most kinds of environmental damage, often requiring little maintenance. Deck stain or sealant is usually not needed for composite decking.
Wood deck materials may also be pressure-treated. Pressure-treated wood contains certain chemicals within its structure designed to prevent decay and damage from insects, moisture, and other factors. While these preservatives keep the wood safe from certain types of harm, it may also lead to stability issues down the road, so regular and thorough maintenance is required.
Protecting Your Deck Material
If you decide to choose a pure or pressure-treated wood for your deck, it’s vital that you apply wood deck paint or stain as an additional protective measure. Staining your deck is often more effective than painting because stain seeps into the wood’s pores, blocking moisture, bacteria, fungi, and insects. That said, deck paint provides thick surface coverage and offers a wider variety of color and style options for your deck. Regardless of your preference, some type of coverage is necessary for keeping your wooden deck beautiful, durable, and long-lasting.
Is it time to invest in a wooden deck for your home in Nashville, TN? Or, if you’re already enjoying a wooden deck, is it time to re-coat it with some new paint or stain? If so, Nash Painting is happy to help. Our exterior painting services include deck staining and painting. For more about us, our services, and our values, call us at (615) 829-6858 today!