Wondering what the best wood for decking is or how to select the right wood for your project? Here is your detailed guide to choosing the best decking wood.
Decking refers to an external platform, generally made of wood, that is placed outside a house or on the terrace and is used as a part of the building’s living area or drawing room or garden landscaping or sitting area. Decks are also generally used to extend the living area of a house by adding an additional sitting area just outside the residence.
Treated timber is the most common and popular material used for decking. Other than wood, composite lumber, plastic, fibreglass, and aluminium are other popular decking materials.
Choosing the right material is important because you want your deck to look beautiful and be also protected from environmental elements such as weathering, moisture and insects. Moreover, it should fit your particular styling needs and match the design of the rest of the building. Buy timber decking that fits all these criteria.
Wood, especially exotic hardwoods, is certainly one of the most popular, beautiful, and durable materials for decking. It is an excellent choice also because it offers great variety and options.
Factors to Consider When Selecting Best Wood for Decking
When it comes to decking, there are lots of options available in different styles, designs, and materials. There are literally hundreds of types of wood you can choose from when building your deck. These include softwoods, hardwoods, and composite timber. One popular type of hardwood used for decking is tropical hardwoods.
To make it easy for you to select the best wood for decking, here we talk about a few factors to consider:
- Appearance: Your deck is one of the things you want to be attractive & pleasant to look at. So, choose a lumber that matches your styling needs, whether it’s natural wood or a painted deck.
- Durability: Since the deck is to be used outside the house, it would be open to the weather and natural elements and should, therefore, be resistant to moisture and insects. Higher durability means the deck will last longer.
- Easy to maintain: The decking material should be easy to maintain. If you are using wood, it must be durable and easy to handle and made to last years with little care.
- Cost: Of course, you need to also consider the cost of the wood and choose what fits your budget.
Buy lumber that comes with a long guarantee. Opt for a slip-resistant wood decking option if possible, such as grooved decking.
Best Softwoods for Decking
If wood is your primary choice for decking, softwood and hardwood are the two most common options available to you.
Softwoods are a popular choice because they come in many varieties and are easily and widely available at a low or moderate price. If you’re looking to buy the best decking wood on a budget, softwood is a superb option.
When buying softwood for decking, make sure that it is pressure treated and durable in terms of resistance to moisture and termites.
Top softwood types for decking include:
Southern yellow pine is the most common and popular softwood for decking. It is very cost-effective and easily available. Because southern yellow pine is only moderately durable, it must be treated to enhance durability and provide better protection against insect attack and moisture.
The properties of pine make it an excellent choice for decking due to its ease of workability & handling. It can be easily shaped, cut, and installed, making it convenient for construction. It can also be finished or painted to achieve a wide range of styles, allowing for customization and versatility in design. Another advantage of pine is its low maintenance requirements compared to other decking woods, making it a natural beauty for outdoor spaces.
Cedar is another popular softwood choice for decking. It is a durable lumber that is resistant to moisture. However, it can be impacted by weather and its color changes to grey if not treated before use. Cedar is also more expensive than pine. Treated red cedar is an attractive and strong lumber choice.
Despite being a softwood, cedar provides good protection against rot and insect attack, even better than many hardwoods. Cedar can withstand extreme climate conditions and will not easily warp or crack even in extreme weather. It is also easy to stain to achieve the desired look. If cared for properly, cedar decking can last 15-20 years easily.
Redwood is among the most durable softwoods out there and is frequently used in outdoor deck builds. It is quite strong and is also resistant to moisture, rot, and insect attack, which means redwood decks will last very long with little maintenance. Though it is naturally durable, treatment can be used to enhance its strength. It is prized for its natural appearance, which can be maintained by regular care, which includes staining every two to three years. Redwood decking can be expensive or not, depending on where you live.
Best Hardwoods for Decking
Hardwoods are a more common choice for decking than softwoods. This is because hardwood is stronger and more durable in terms of resistance to decay, moisture and insects. Many hardwoods can survive in exterior conditions for very long without any treatment and with little or no maintenance.
Durable hardwood that is resistant to water is the perfect choice for decking, as it won’t decay easily even when in contact with the ground. However, hardwood is generally more expensive than softwood decking because of its higher demand and limited availability.
Top hardwood decking options include:
Teak is a very strong, durable and highly attractive lumber. Its natural oil content makes it resistant to moisture and insect attack. The lumber can survive harsh weathering conditions and can be used outside without any treatment. It will also retain its natural color for a long time. Teak is one of the expensive hardwood options.
Oak is one of the most popular decking woods because of its excellent durability in terms of moisture resistance. It is also quite strong and hard and it doesn’t scratch or tear easily. Compared to teak, it is more affordable.
One of the hardest and rarest woods in the world, Ipe wood is prized for its incredible strength and durability. The wood is resistant to water, insects, scratches, tear, and even fire. It is a popular choice for premium decking, including outdoor decks. As a rare hardwood, Ipe wood, however, is not very easily available and it can be quite expensive to buy Ipe wood.
Other popular wood options for decking include mahogany, cumaru, Douglas fir, and garapa.
Mahogany is a very famous but expensive hardwood for decking. It is popular for its beautiful appearance and high durability, which makes the deck to last very long. However, mahogany can be extremely pricey and is commonly used in small places.
Hardwoods for decks are generally more expensive than other options. This is also because some of them are too dense to be nailed or screwed in. This may further increase the cost of labour and installation.
Composite Vs Solid Wood Decking
The third most common option for wood decks is composite decking, which refers to decking made with composite material.
Composite material is made by combining different materials, including wood fibre, plastic, and glueing agents. Essentially, wood fibre and recycled plastic is mixed and bonded together using high-quality glue under specific pressure & temperature conditions to produce a strong, solid material that is also durable and lightweight.
Because of the limited availability, high cost and high maintenance needs of solid wood for decks, many people these days prefer to use composite decking, which can offer a similar appearance to wood with better properties in terms of strength & durability and low maintenance requirements.
Composite decks needs very little maintenance, especially when compared to solid wood decking. It is also cheaper than timber decking and more durable.
However, composite decking cannot offer the real feel and warmth of solid wood under your feet. The appearance may also look unreal to some people.
While composite deck is strong and durable, it may not be very stable, especially low-grade composites, which can easily warp and shrink
Pressure-Treated Wood Decking
Most of the wood decking available today is pressure-treated, which helps enhance the durability of wood and provides better protection against rot and insect attack.
Pressure-treated wood decking is low-durability wood that has been treated to enhance its durability. It is generally less expensive than regular wood decking because it is made using cheap softwoods such as pine and Douglas fir that are pressure treated to make them more durable and suitable for use.
Pressure-treatment is often used to build the structure for wood decks to provide a strong support system that can hold the decking well. It doesn’t look as nice or natural as solid wood, but it’s cheaper and easily available. Moreover, pressure-treated decks can last for decades with little maintenance.
Where to Buy Best Wood for Decking Online?
Looking to buy the best solid hardwood or softwood for your decking project? Visit White Knight Consulting LTD or contact us to get the best price for high-quality, durable woods suitable for decks and other outdoor applications.
At White Knight Consulting Ltd, you can choose from over 40 species of hardwood and softwood that are sustainably produced and processed by skilled woodworkers and supplied all over the world. Contact us to send your enquiries.