There are several natural kinds of wood and treated lumber that look great and last a long time for decking. Although each option has its pros and cons, our overall winner for the best wood for an outdoor deck is cedar. Cedar is considered the top choice for decking and fencing by many professionals and homeowners due to its beauty and practical attributes. Here, at Nortex Fence, we prefer cedar and use it in many of our builds.
Why We Like Cedar
Cedar is rich in color and has a rustic beauty. It is naturally insect, rot and decay-resistant. It does not absorb moisture and tends to lay flat without splitting or warping over time. Since it deters insects and rot, minimal maintenance of cedar decks is required. Cedar is generally a medium-priced wood. However, based on its inherent characteristics, it is a good value for the money.
Maintaining cedar requires pressure washing annually, and it needs to be sealed or stained every few years. Sealed cedar allows the natural rustic beauty of the wood to show through. Or, it can be stained to achieve the desired color or look. Since cedar is resin-free, it holds a larger variety of stains, finishes and colors than most other natural woods.
With any wood, sustainability is always an issue. Cedar is primarily sourced from managed forests or farms and is, therefore, a sustainable option. It is also biodegradable and renewable. Most treated woods use harsh chemicals to deter bugs and rot. Cedar is a greener option for outdoor decks since it naturally resists insects and decay and does not need chemicals.
Pressure-treated wood is inferior wood that has been treated with chemicals to deter rot and insects. It can last a long time; however, it tends to warp and twist over time due to moisture retention. It is usually not as attractive as cedar planks.
Other natural woods, like ipe, mahogany, and teak, have similar benefits to cedar but are much more expensive. These exotic woods are hardwoods and can be challenging to cut and drill. It is also essential to look for sustainably harvested timber since many of these woods are at risk of deforestation.
There are also composites or plastic decking planks. Although many mimic the natural look of real wood, they lack depth and warmth. Plus, in damp or shaded areas they can decay over time. Plastic decking is cold to walk on in the winter and hot in the summer. Cedar is a more consistent temperature year-round.
Once you compare all the aspects of aesthetics and functionality, cedar is a clear winner for us. It is stable, long-lasting, and attractive.
Nortex Fence is a Dallas-area owned and operated company. We specialize in cedar and build custom fences, driveway gates, pergolas, decks, patios and more! Our artistry, expert knowledge and best price guarantee are unique in the Dallas area. Please fill out our contact form for a free estimate for your next outdoor project.