The Definitive Guide to Redwood Decking - Dallas Deck Craft
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The Definitive Guide to Redwood Decking

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Redwood Decking

Redwood is a highly desired deck material that is one of the better choices for any homeowner looking to build a high-end deck. Redwood decking can last for many years without losing its richness, elegance and beauty. Its availability is limited, so it has always been considered as a luxurious and prized addition that increases value to any property.

Redwood decks are known for their beautiful straight grain and rich color, while being dimensionally stable and highly resistant to rot and decay. Its heartwood is rich with natural oils that repel wood-boring insects. It has a unique, earthy fragrance, reminiscent of the deep woods from where it comes. When left without a finish, the redwood decking will turn black at the onset, then gradually into a brilliant silver gray.

Redwood: A Closer Look

From the early ’60s to the late ’80s, redwood was a rage in the deck building industry. Hundreds of thousands of homes had redwood decking built. However, the high demand resulted to lower cultivation rates, and this majestic tree saw a great decline in growth. At present, there is a slight increase in redwood production, but it is still considered as a rare commodity in the decking industry, which accounts for its costs.

Redwood is a forest giant also known in different names such as Sequoia, California Redwood and Coast Redwood. It can grow up to 300 feet with a diameter of 12 feet. The heartwood color can be anywhere between light reddish brown to deep reddish brown. The wood has an open-celled structure that has minimal resin or pitch, which enables the wood to retain different types of finishes.

The tree has closed pores and straight grain, although there are occasional redwood trees with curly grain and burly clusters. When used in building decks, redwood is highly stable, which makes it less prone to warping and cupping, compared to other materials such as pressure-treated wood. It also has a low shrinkage rate, so there is minimal splitting and checking.

Benefits of Redwood

Redwood decking is very popular among professional deck builders because it is very easy to work with. It drills and cuts easily and it is lightweight. Don’t let its weight fool you, though, because it is very strong and is highly resistant to decay. When properly cared for, a well-maintained redwood deck can last up to 20 plus years.

Because of its beauty, many homeowners and builders use redwood for highly visible areas like stairs, benches, posts and of course, prominent decks.

Here are some more advantages to using redwood for deck building:

  • Highly fire resistant. Redwood was credited for limiting the 1906 Great Fire of San Francisco.
  • Rot and bug resistant. The heartwood is rich in oils that repel borers such as termites and carpenter ants.
  • Environmentally sustainable. According to Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials or CORRIM, redwood uses 95% less energy to produce compared to other materials such as plastics and composites.
  • Delivers natural durability and beauty. The wood’s natural tinge that ranges from light pinkish brown to a deep red-brown gives any deck a luxurious and elegant feel, not found in any other wood.
  • Can easily maintain its structural integrity. Even with easy maintenance, redwood stays stable and strong and resistant against warping, checking and shrinking.
  • It is heat-resistant. Even during summer, redwood stays cool underfoot, which makes it ideal for places with hot weather such as Rockwall, Texas.
  • Redwood can be restored repeatedly. Restorations and refinishing jobs require minimal cost and effort.
  • Things to Remember When Working with Redwood

    When choosing redwood for your decking project, there are several things that must be kept in mind, both by the deck builder and the homeowner. First off, high quality redwood has a deep, reddish brown color to it. It will keep this color when maintained with stain or finish, but when left unstained, the wood color will slowly turn into a grayish silver tone.

    A professional deck builder will know that proper redwood decking installation is needed to ensure that the decking lasts for many years. Redwood is relatively soft, and can be brittle, so it is best to drill holes at the ends of the boards prior to using nails so as to avoid splitting the wood.

    The redwood decking should also be installed using galvanized nails, stainless steel, hot dipped galvanized screws or high-quality hidden fasteners. Electroplated fasteners and headed nails should be avoided because they will cause staining.

    A redwood deck is, without a doubt, luxurious and beautiful, so it needs to be well-built and maintained properly so that it will last for decades. To protect it from the harsh elements, extend its life span and keep its beautiful color, always use finishing products that contain water repellants and UV inhibitors.