Wood decks are often an integral part of an outdoor living area; they create a smooth and level surface that serves as a natural gathering area, give the design of the landscape visual interest by adding multiple levels, and can even add beauty and visual appeal on their own. When it comes to selecting the type of wood for your decking, however, the options are numerous. Below are a few of the most popular choices for wood decks, and the pros and cons that come along with each one.
Pros: This softwood is one of the most popular choices for outdoor deck material, partially due to its beautiful dark reddish-brown color, which gives decks an attractive and stylish look. Cedar is durable yet light and easy to work with, making it a great long-lasting choice for decking, and is fairly decay-resistant. Many people also find the faint scent of cedar wood appealing.
Cons: Cedar is not the strongest of woods, and needs yearly sealing and maintenance in order to maintain its color and strength. Cedar also doesn’t hold up as well in direct sun as some other woods, so it might be better suited to shady deck areas.
Pros: Redwood is another softwood, like cedar, that is lightweight and easy to work with, and also in a similar color family. However, the color of redwood is more striking; with a beautiful color range from dark reddish-brown to a bright and dramatic red color, it looks beautiful and sophisticated naturally, without the need for painting or colored staining. Redwood is also highly decay-resistant.
Cons: Requires annual sealing in order to prevent discoloration. Redwood is also not as strong as some other types of wood, and higher grades of redwood can be relatively expensive.
Pros: Another softwood, pine is a widely popular option for wood decks for a number of reasons. Pine wood is readily available, making it inexpensive and easy to obtain. It is also lightweight and easy to work with, and easy to paint or stain for your choice of hue or colors in your decking.
Cons: Though not the weakest of woods, pine is only moderately strong. It is also somewhat high-maintenance, requiring frequent sanding and staining to keep it looking its best. Finally, for those who want originality, pine lacks the unique and exotic flair of some other popular options.
Pros: Mahogany is an elegant and beautiful hardwood that is also a highly durable wood option. It offers a unique and attractive look, and can be chosen without breaking the bank.
Cons: Though it’s possible to purchase reasonably priced mahogany, it will generally be somewhat more expensive than cedar or redwood. There are also a number of different types and species of mahogany on the market; each has its own unique appearance, but some are more resistant to pests and decay than others, so it’s important to know what you are buying.
Pros: This dark chocolate-colored hardwood is exotic and strikingly beautiful. Ipe is also long lasting, as its strength, weather-resistance, and pest-resistance make it a very durable option.
Cons: Ipe wood decks will require annual sealing. It’s also one of the most expensive options for wood decks; in addition to being exotic and extremely high quality, its toughness also makes it difficult to work with and install.
Pros: While not “real” wood, composite decks are fairly realistic-looking, very durable, and can last an extremely long time. Because of their specially engineered composition, composite decks require very little upkeep and maintenance to keep looking new and attractive.
Cons: Quite simply, composite decks don’t quite have the same look and feel as real wood. While this may not be a big drawback for those who value durability above all, those who want the traditional and natural aesthetic of real wood may find composite decks unappealing.
Are you ready to add the beauty and function of an attractive wood deck to your outdoor living area? Contact the landscape design experts at Scapes Incorporated today to discuss the options that are right for you.