So you are thinking about building a deck in Dallas, Texas but you’re not sure what decking materials you should use? The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is the 4th largest metro area in the US. More than 7 million people call the 13 counties of this metro region home because the weather is beautiful all year-round. Enjoying that weather without leaving home is possible with a pool deck, patio deck or balcony deck. You can entertain, create a place to escape or use your deck to show off your backyard barbecue skills.
No matter what type of deck you build, you need to choose the right materials. This means understanding what decking materials work best for your environment. A veteran deck builder with decades of experience crafting quality decks in the Dallas area knows the pros and cons for the popular woods and composites used to build decks that last, and that help you create memorable experiences.
This report helps you compare decking products. You will learn which are more expensive to build and those types of decking materials which require minimal maintenance. We will cover popular wood and composite decking manufacturers, and all other aspects you need to know to make an informed decision as to which decking material you should be using. If you know you want to have a deck built but don’t know what materials you should use for your particular situation, this guide will help you answer all your questions.
Listed below in no particular order are the most commonly used types of wood and composite decking materials in the Dallas metropolitan area. They provide varying degrees of functionality and durability, cover a wide range of price points, and can be used for many types of decks.
Far and away the most common type of wood used to build a deck is Southern Yellow Pine or SYP. This wood is pressure treated (then called Pressure Treated Pine or PTP for short) to extend its natural resistance against rotting, decaying and insect infestation. Pressure treated pine, cedar and redwood are the most common natural woods used to build a deck in Dallas. Let’s take a look at each in turn, comparing and contrasting them according to features, durability and price points.
Pressure treated pine is the most economical and found to be used in most decks in the United States for one simple reason–it is the least expensive decking material. Bear in mind that this only means initial construction and labor cost. It is easy to work with, has a plentiful supply, and can give you a good looking deck for 15 or 25 years (or longer) if properly maintained.
Pressure treated pine delivers the beauty of natural wood, but pressure treated pine decks will need the application of a good weather sealant and it will have to be periodically reapplied. Talk to a well seasoned deck builder as to what products will give you the best protection as well as when to apply them to your newly installed deck.
People build decks for different reasons. If you are on a budget and looking for a pool deck or want to build a surround for your hot tub, pressure treated lumber is recommended. When you keep a routine maintenance schedule it can give you years of enjoyment.
Remember that the upfront cost for pressure treated decking materials is very attractive, but ongoing maintenance, time and financial considerations are going to be a little greater than with other types of woods and composites like Trex decking and ipe (pronounced ee-pay) wood.
Cedar is considered a soft wood, but it nonetheless makes for beautiful, long-lasting decks. Cedar decking materials offer a distinctive color and hue, and there is no mistaking the luxurious smell of a cedar deck. You may fall in the love with cedar decking products because of the rich red coloring. If you’re looking for a beautiful deck, cedar can definitely deliver.
Cedar should be re-sealed every few years, and when proper maintenance practices are observed, you can still have a really attractive deck after 20 to 30 years. As opposed to other decking materials, cedar carries a middle-of-the-road price tag.
While Redwood has a natural resistance to rot, decay and boring insects it will still need maintenance. It will also give you a natural and beautiful deck. It works well in the Dallas metropolitan area and can be the centerpiece for great backyard entertaining experiences. Like cedar, redwood costs less than hardwoods and composites, man-made decking materials, and it can be less prone to warping over time than pressure treated wood. Like most natural woods it is best used when installed so that it has ample space between the deck and the ground. This allows for air to flow keeping the deck dry underneath and adds to the longevity.
You should also weather seal a redwood deck every few years to get the best possible performance. Since redwood is a softwood like cedar, it will be easier to scratch or stain than a hardwood or composite. Additionally, if older/inner tree growth is used to make your redwood decking materials, life expectancy is around 20 to 30 years (or longer) with regular maintenance.
To recap, pressure treated pine is always going to be your least expensive deck building choice at least upfront. Cedar and redwood will cost more to build than a PTP deck, while offering a more distinctive appearance and lasting a little longer. With any of these wood decking materials you are going to have to contribute regular time, money and elbow grease to keep them looking good and lasting as long as possible.
Composite decking materials came about for a number of reasons. Sustainability is a real concern any time you build something using wood. A tree has to be grown and harvested to create wood decking materials. Composite decking products combine wood fibers, sawdust waste and recycling plastics. Because of this reason, they are environmentally friendly and the best composite decking materials last a long time with minimal maintenance.
However, the process for making composites is costly. This means that while your composite deck can often return several years of beauty and high quality performance with little maintenance, it is going to require a bit higher financial commitment in the construction phase. This is offset by lower annual maintenance costs and less time investment on your part year after year.
Build a composite deck and you get a uniform appearance from board to board. If you want a consistent look and a long-lasting deck, consider composites.
The manufacturer warranties you receive will in almost all cases be much more attractive than with pressure treated wood and other natural softwood products, and you won’t have to worry about splintering, cracking, splitting, deterioration or insects and other bugs eating your deck.
Composite decks can offer a high-end look, and this segment of the decking industry is one of the fastest growing currently. Trex is the market leader in composite decking, and Fiberon and Azek are other quality manufacturers.
The composite marketplace is evolving constantly, and Trex has become the industry leader because the company offers extreme durability with an environmentally friendly product that requires little maintenance while holding its appearance and functionality for decades. Trex offers an impressive 25 year warranty against fading and staining on residential decking products. This warranty also includes replacement due to defects in workmanship, and a guarantee that your boards will not splinter, rot or split. Additionally, you get a guarantee that Trex products are insect resistant and no structural damage will occur due to decay from fungal infection.
Build a Trex deck and you’re working with material that is made from 95% recycled materials. The Trex lineup receives the blessing of the US Forest Stewardship Council, and FSC approval means no decking material came from an endangered rain forest. The Trex lineup includes Select, Enhance and Transcends lineups, with the Transcends product being the top-of-the-line offering.
Azek Building Products makes decking materials which are backed by 30 year limited and limited lifetime warranties, depending on the product. The TimberTech line is also a part of the Azek family. Fiberon decking products also work well in the Dallas Fort Worth metro area, and are backed with a limited residential warranty that promises protection against splitting and decaying, rotting or splintering, and termite infestation. Fiberon also backs their products with a limited stain and fade warranty.
When most people think of bamboo, they picture the slender bamboo stalks which grow to a height of 6 to 8 feet. Some bamboo can actually grow to a height of 80 feet and a width of 1 foot. Unlike decking materials made from wood, where the entire tree must be cut down, bamboo can be harvested without cutting the tree. Moso Bamboo is a decking material now available in the Dallas Metroplex, offering a 25 year limited warranty against rot, decay and insect infestation.
If you want a deck with a slightly different coloration than you get from natural softwoods and hardwoods, you may want to consider Moso Bamboo products. This is a green alternative to exotic hardwood decking material, but expect to pay more than other decking materials other than most tropical hardwoods.
Exotic, tropical hardwoods include ipe, tigerwood, cumaru, Abaco, massaranduba and garapa. These extremely durable hardwoods are longer-lasting but also require a little maintenance. They can keep their color for decades with proper maintenance, and you can expect up to 50 years of beautiful high performance from an ipe deck when it is cared for properly.
Ipe (also known by other names such as ironwood), cumaru and the other tropical hardwoods are incredibly dense. They are among the hardest woods used for building decking products, naturally resistant to rot and decay, insect infestation and boring as well as wearing well against the elements. All tropical hardwoods offer a very attractive longevity feature but will need maintenance. Tropical hardwood decks are like a fine exotic automobile and if they are within your budget this means they do require a financial investment where annual maintenance is concerned.
These woods are gorgeous, long-lasting, naturally resistant to mother nature and weather, and definitely at the high-end of the initial cost range when compared with other decking materials. However, when you want to build a deck that says elegance and quality, look no further than a hardwood like the gorgeous ipe.
Ipe carries the highest possible fire rating and is one of the hardest woods on the planet. Expecting decades from your beautiful ipe deck is not at all out of line, and the decking materials made from this wood have received the blessing of the Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements for safety because they are extremely slip-resistant, even when wet.
Ipe wood naturally resists fungus and mold, rot, decay and boring insects, without the need for the addition of any chemicals. The natural olive brown to reddish finish gives a look of luxury and class, and this wood is so durable it has been used at the Atlantic City Boardwalk, Disney World, the Coney Island Boardwalk and San Diego’s Shelter Island Marina.
If you select ipe or another tropical hardwood, you get one of the lowest cost-for-life decking products you can possibly choose. Your initial investment will usually be higher than if you select many other decking materials, but your ongoing upkeep and maintenance costs over time are much lower than those alternative decking products.
You should know that ipe wood offered by a responsible decking contractor is considered a “green” product. It carries the FSC seal of approval mentioned earlier as a wood that is harvested with sustainable and renewable practices. If you don’t mind paying more in the construction phase for your deck and a little every year for the next several decades for maintenance, a luxurious tropical hardwood like ipe adds instant status and high-quality class to any home.
Natural wood can be modified through the application of a number of processes. One way to do this is to heat wood without the presence of oxygen, thereby making it more durable by changing its cellular structure. This thermal modification makes softer wood more durable and long-lasting, bakes the sugars and starches out of the wood making it insect resistant of which can be seen as an environmentally friendly by-product of this process. Since this wood lasts longer than it naturally does, fewer trees need to be harvested to make decking products.
These processes also make wood more resistant to mold. Thermally modified wood products are 50% to 75% less likely than their natural counterparts to swell or shrink in the presence of dramatically high or low temperatures. Some homeowners like the fact that attractive softwoods receive a darker color thanks to the thermal modification process. As with composite decking materials, there are a wide variety of colors and shades available.
Three of the top thermally modified would manufacturers are Kebony, Thermory and Cambia.
You just can’t beat pressure-treated pine if your biggest deck building consideration is your pocketbook. First-time homeowners and those with tight budgets are recommended to consider a pressure-treated deck for a lot of reasons. First off, the initial investment is lower than with any other type of deck build. If you have never had a deck before, this is a sensible and low-cost way to enjoy the experience.
If over time you realize that you are not spending that much time on your deck or you need to move out of your home, you have a minimal upfront investment. The slight downside to pressure-treated decks is maintenance. You should always sweep and otherwise clean any deck. In the case of a PT deck which is going to be subjected to the heat and humidity of the Dallas, Texas area, it is recommended that you stain your deck every few years.
The same is true if you choose to build a cedar or redwood deck. Redwood and cedar are going to set you back a little bit more initially than if you choose pressure-treated wood, and many people find them more attractive than a less expensive PT pine deck.
Consider a composite decking material like Trex if you are environmentally conscious. Since Trex materials are composed of 95% recycled plastics and wood fibers, you’re looking out for the environment and the planet because your decking material is made up of what would otherwise end up in a landfill. Trex decking products are backed with a 25-year warranty at least, they are resistant to rot and decay, insect boring and infestation, and you won’t begin to see gradual fading for more than 10 or 15 years.
Another benefit of Trex decking is that it doesn’t need to be stained, painted, sealed or finished. As you know, you should not expect that your softwood or hardwood decking boards will all have the same grain patterns, coloration and hue. If you are a stickler for uniformity, Trex will provide a better experience than natural wood. Trex decking materials come in a wide variety of colors and textures, and you receive long-lasting durability and low maintenance with an installation cost that is lower than tropical hardwoods but higher than softwoods like pressure-treated pine and cedar.
Thermally modified wood and bamboo make for interesting decking material choices. These are the newest decking innovations, and while they don’t have the track history of other alternatives, they seem to offer some attractive features.
Finally, if you want your deck to reflect class and luxury, you should definitely consider a tropical hardwood like ipe. This durable wood is made by mother nature to last for a extremely long time when compared to other decking materials. It will require annual maintenance such as any fine automobile.
Ipe wood carries the same fire rating as steel and concrete, and is easily the lowest cost-for-life decking choice. If you want to take your decking game to the next level and create an outdoor experience that will be the envy of the neighborhood while also reflecting your demand of excellence and class, you can’t go wrong with ipe. Also ipe if not weather treated annually will gradually change to a beautiful gray which is acceptable to many.
Cedar decking is a fantastic choice for any homeowner looking for an elegant and durable outdoor addition to their homes. As a decking lumber, cedar is a magnificent wood that lends a strong hint of the Pacific Northwest to residential and commercial exteriors, what with its cinnamon tones that weather gracefully into a rustic silver and its distinct fragrance that can last for decades.
Cedar wood for decks is not only beautiful; it has unique properties that make it highly resistant against rot, decay, insects and harsh elements. It is dimensionally stable, which means that it stays straight and flat after installation. With its consistent grain and density, it is less likely to cup, warp or twist.
Cedar decks are popular because of their unique and warm aesthetic quality, with a wide variety of hues and grain patterns to choose from. Freshly cut cedar boards are very fragrant and often come in different shades of peach, honey and light brown. When allowed to age, cedar wood will slowly turn into a deep silver gray patina.
Cedar trees are an integral part of the forestry and decking industry and have been so for over a century. The trees are principally grown in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. They can grow up to 200 feet tall and diameter of up to 13 feet. They are known to live for a really long time, with one verified to be 1,460 years old.
While Western Red Cedar is the most popular choice, there are other types of cedar wood available. It is best to consult with a professional deck builder to discuss which type of cedar would work best for your deck building needs and budget. Western Red Cedar is known to be more resistant to rot than its Eastern counterparts. It is lightweight and easy to work with, and its heartwood exhibits minimal shrinkage.
Eastern White Cedar, on the other hand, is not as common as red cedar. It is moderately soft and lightweight and like most cedars, it is naturally resistant to insect infestation and rot. The heartwood has a reddish, light brown tinge that turns darker when exposed. It has an ability to hold nails better and finishes rather well.
Another type of ideal for cedar decking is Atlantic Cedar, which has a distinct aromatic odor and a light brown heartwood. It also has a straight grain and fine texture, easily workable with tools, resistant to decay, holds paint well, shrinks minimally and finishes very smoothly.
Cedar has properties that are similar to redwood, mainly because they are closely related, however, cedar is tougher and more flexible than redwood. This means that cedar is less brittle and can flex more without shattering unlike redwood. It also has less density and contains less natural oils so it absorbs and accepts stain much easier. There are many benefits to using cedar in deck building. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Distinguished, elegant and rich—the color of a red cedar decking is unique, deep and luxurious. When freshly cut, the wood takes on an amber or pinkish hue, but by the time it is ready to be used for the deck, it has turned into a reddish brown cinnamon color. You can choose to retain its natural, elegant color with finishes or stains, or you can let it age to a silver grey color for a more rustic feel.
Cedar decks provide both practical and aesthetic benefits to any property and increases its value as a whole. When building a cedar decking, it is important to work with a professional deck contractor who has extensive experience in working with cedar, this way, you would get only the best.
Abaco decking is rich, beautiful and tough, a tropical hardwood material very popular among professional decking contractors and homeowners. It has been compared to other hardwood superstars like ipe because of its characteristics. It is both dense and very strong, with a natural resistance to rot, abrasion and dent. It has a warm red-brown tone, and a very smooth feel to it. It is ideal for outdoor decking because it can withstand extreme weather conditions.
With all the hype associated with Abaco decking, does it live up to its claims? Should you use it for you next decking project? Let’s take a closer look.
Abaco is a hardwood decking material trademarked by Universal Forest Products which is typically marketed with a 25-year warranty. It is very dense at 60 lbs per cubic feet. Its Janka Hardness Rating is 3,190 lbs which is comparable to ipe’s 3,680 lbs rating. It is available in a European-style finish wherein one side has a smooth surface while the other has milling or ribbing which provides elegance, extra slip resistance and texture.
Abaco decking is also available in traditional and grooved boards. The grooved option has slotted slides that make installation easier using hidden fasteners. These fasteners allow proper spacing, natural contraction and expansion. Abaco is also competitively priced when compared to ipe decking and garapa decking.
As a tropical hardwood, Abaco has the desired hardness and density that makes it ideal for outdoor decks in areas where extreme weather conditions are experienced, such as in Rockwall, Texas. Some of the advantages of using this kind of decking material are the following:
Although it can be difficult and challenging to work with a decking material like Abaco because of its hardness and density, a professional deck builder who has years of experience should be able to help you with your deck installation.
It is extremely dense, so special drill bits are required for pre-drilling. High-quality carbide saw blades are also necessary for cutting. Compared to cedar deck installations, Abaco decking installations can take up to three times longer.
It is impossible to hand nail or even use pneumatic nail guns into Abaco, which is why stainless steel fasteners are used. Your choice of fasteners is also important, because you would need your fasteners to last as long as the decking material. The correct type of hidden clips should be used, and it is not recommended to use under-mount bracket systems. Hidden clips also allow for faster installation, and the surface will look cleaner compared to when the product is screwed down.
To get the best out of your Abaco decking, choose to have the fasteners plugged. This process involves countersinking the fasteners deeply from the wood surface and then gluing a plug of the same size into the hole to conceal the fastener. This can be labor-intensive and time consuming, and can only be done by a highly experienced deck builder, but it will be worth it because the finish will turn out to be very beautiful and fluid.
Your home deserves the best, and choosing Abaco decking will not only enhance its beauty, but its value as well. It is strong, beautiful and long-lasting, which is no wonder why builders and discerning homeowners alike put Abaco on top of their list.
For the discerning Dallas, Rockwall and Collin county homeowner and the perceptive deck builder, ipe decking is the best choice. Why? As a finished product, it is rich, resilient, and beautiful. As a material, ipe is naturally resistant to rot, abrasion, insects, molds and extreme weather. It is also flame-resistant, and it does not float. This beautiful exotic lumber is up to 5 times harder and 2 times denser than other hardwoods, and yes, it is harder than nails.
It is a primary choice for builders and interior designers and you will find this tropical hardwood in first-class commercial projects and upscale homes all over the world. In fact, that’s ipe hardwood you see outside the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas, the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk and also the boardwalks of Disney World and Coney Island.
Ipe (pronounced as ee-pay) is commonly found in South and Central America, specifically in the Brazilian rainforests. These trees can grow up to 150 feet tall with a diameter of 6 inches. It is also called as Brazilian walnut and ironwood (in reference to its toughness).
Ipe wood has the same A-1 fire rating as steel and concrete, which means that it is highly flame-resistant compared to other woods. It has also been awarded the highest decay resistance rating of High 50+ Years, although the material can actually last longer. It is ideal for outdoor decking especially in areas with extreme weather conditions such as Dallas, Texas.
Aside from the facts stated above, here are some more reasons why deck construction professionals choose ipe wood for outdoor decking.
Aside from decking, there are close to limitless possibilities for which ipe can be used. Some of these are:
While ipe presents so many benefits when used for decking, many builders find it quite challenging to work with. With the right tools, however, ipe decking wood is a great material to use.
Ipe is like redwood, it has natural oils that keep insects out and it is ideal because it is highly resistant to molds, mildew and decay. However, ipe also has a high tannin content that makes it difficult to paint or finish. It is not as malleable as other woods, either, so it is not suitable for intricate woodworking.
Here are some tips to help a deck builder get the most out of ipe.
Application—air dried ipe wood is best for outdoor use. For indoor projects, kiln-dried ipe is better to avoid cracking or warping.
Drilling—it is highly recommended that you use high-quality drill bits to drill into the wood. Ipe is very hard, so you would need to pre-drill before attaching pieces together.
Cutting—to prevent splinters when cutting, it is best to use carbide saw blades.
Installation—use stainless steel screws or hidden fasteners when attaching pieces together. Installation is a vital part in making sure that decking problems are avoided. Ensure that the deck boards are properly straightened and the right fastening systems are used. And don’t rush the process!
Finishing—because this kind of wood has an abundance of natural oils, water and oil based finishing won’t produce the best results. It is therefore recommended that you test apply different products on some sample boards to achieve the desired results.
Whether you are a deck builder or a homeowner, you will surely appreciate the many benefits of using ipe decking wood. It is durable, resilient, beautiful, and meant to last for generations.
Pressure-treated decking is very popular and can be found at many homes in the Dallas Metro area, but many of us know very little about this favored outdoor building material. Read on and be informed on everything that you need to know about pressure-treated wood deck and whether it should be your choice for your next decking project.
Pressure-treated decks are used in millions of homes all over the United States and has been around for more than 50 years in the building industry. It is sold in most lumber outlets in the country and is a favorite among builders and homeowners alike for its features and benefits.
According to statistics, more than 75% of all the decks in the US are built partially or entirely with pressure-treated wood. They are used for beams, posts and joists mainly for their structural strength and it’s natural ability to endure against ground-contact deterioration.
Pressure-treated decking uses a softwood lumber material—usually southern yellow pine decking—that has been chemically treated to withstand decay, termites and rot. It has a natural wood appearance, resilient and highly available. Being very economical, it is also the best choice for homeowners who are looking to build decks for less.
It is called “pressure treated” because of the process it undergoes before it is sold. The pine boards are placed into huge pressurized cylindrical tanks called “retort”. These chambers are sealed airtight and they contain chemical preservatives that are then forced into the very fiber of the wood under extreme pressure, resulting to exterior-grade wooden boards that are ideal for deck building and other woodworking projects.
Pressure-treated wood deck is ideal for areas where the weather can be unpredictable and harsh, such as parts of Texas like Plano. Properly treated wood is a much less expensive option and offers a lot of benefits including a really long life span, to the tune of 40 years or more.
Here are some of the advantages to using pressure-treated decking.
First off, to make sure that your deck is built with the right kind of pressure-treated wood, you should check the label or stamp of the boards and verify the chemical retention level. The higher the number, the more resistant the wood will be against rot and termites.
There is a recommended retention level for each environment and application. For instance, the UC3B category with retention levels of 0.25–0.40 is ideal for decking that is intended for an environment where it will be exposed to prolonged wetting and different weather cycles.
In building a pressure-treated wood deck, lumber manufacturers highly recommend using only hot-dipped galvanized screws, nails, bolts, connectors and anchors. It is also important to remember that wood treatments cause corrosion to aluminum components.
The wood is treated with chemicals, so the builder or homeowner is reminded to wear gloves at work, and to thoroughly wash up before drinking or eating. Safety goggles and a dust mask should also be worn when drilling, cutting or sanding the wood.
You should never cut pressure-treated lumber in an enclosed space, only outdoors, and you should never burn it.
Before painting or staining, pressure-treated decking must be allowed to dry through. The best way to test this is to sprinkle water on the surface of the wood. If it beads up, this means that the wood is still too wet and must be dried further before a weather sealant/stain is applied. If the water is absorbed easily, it means that the wood is ready.
Red balau decking can significantly transform the aesthetic and commercial value of any property, being one of the high-end exotic wood decking options very popular among architects, professional deck builders and homeowners these days. Also known as Philippine Mahogany and Indonesian Red Balau, this material is a densely grained hardwood known to be more durable than redwood.
Common in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, balau hardwood is extremely hard and has natural properties that make it inherently resistant to rot, decay, infestation, and extreme weather. It is also easier to work with compared to other exotic hardwoods. Let’s take a closer look at red balau and find out why it is highly desired in the decking industry.
Red balau is a tropical hardwood tree that belongs to the Shorea genus that is prevalent in Southeast Asian countries. The trees can grow up to 250 feet tall with a diameter of 6 feet. As tropical trees, they are very resilient in high-moisture environments, which is why they are resistant to decay. It has a fire rating of A, which means it is also highly fire resistant.
Indonesian Red Balau is also valued for its high resistance against wear and tear, being very dense. It is actually denser than teak and has a Janka Hardness Rating of 1,560. The color of its wood is highly dependent on the particular species, but in general, the wood comes out in a dark reddish brown hue. When allowed to weather, the wood will eventually turn into a silver gray patina.
The best quality that red balau has is its strength, which makes it an ideal outdoor decking material. But this exotic wood decking material possesses a lot of characteristics that present advantages:
Because Indonesian Red Balau is very dense, it can be challenging to work with. It is important to let an extensively experienced professional deck builder work on this material so that the proper tools can be used. Sawing this hardwood is a bit difficult, so it is recommended to use carbide-tipped saws. But because the wood is finely grained, it is rather easy to plane and will come out very smooth.
Red balau is very low maintenance; you would only need to apply a stain sealer once a year to bring the rich and luxurious original color back to life. To properly protect the wood, you can use penetrating oil finishes that contain ultraviolet inhibitors. This will greatly reduce fading and mildew infestation, especially for decks that are constantly exposed to the sun and water.
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.
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.
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:
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.