Determining what kind of wood is best for your deck involves a fine balance between budget, beauty, and durability. The weather and climate are factors as well – frigid New Jersey winters and hot, humid summers can take a toll on your deck, so it’s important to choose wood that stands up to the elements. The building professionals at Jaeger Lumber can help you select the kind of wood decking that meets your specific needs, lifestyle, and preferences.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Decking
When it comes to building a deck, there is a wide range of composite and lumber products available. Natural wood decking often consists of pressure-treated wood that must be stained or painted and sealed. Untreated wood is available in a variety of species that vary widely in cost, appearance, and durability, which are the three main factors to consider when choosing decking.
Pressure-treated wood is usually the most affordable type of decking. It’s often made of pine or fir and is treated with chemicals that make it resistant to pests, mold, and rot. Its versatility makes it a popular option, as it can be stained or painted any color you like. If left uncoated, it has a green or brown hue, which when left to weather may become greener or dark gray.
Regardless of whether wood is pressure-treated or not, you should always put outdoor sealant on your deck to shield it from the effects of rain, snow, ice, and sunlight. Any type of natural wood decking requires regular cleaning and should be resealed at least every year or two. Make sure to use a cleaner and sealer or paint that is specially made for deck maintenance.
Untreated Wood Decking
Because there are so many types of wood species, the cost of natural wood decking can vary significantly. Some of the most popular include:
Cedar and Redwood Decking
Cedar and redwood are soft yet durable, and provide a rich, natural look. Western softwoods like cedar and redwood adjust well to moisture levels in the air, so they’re less likely to crack or warp than other types of wood. This type of wood decking can be left untreated but sealing it will help it preserve its color and help it last longer. However, because these are softer woods, they can be scratched or dented easily.
Cedar and redwood can be much more costly than pressure-treated lumber or composite decking. One way to cut down on total costs is to use pressure-treated wood for framing and another type of wood for the decking surface and rails.
If money is no object, you may want to consider tropical hardwoods for your deck. Two of the most common are mahogany and ipe, which are great for decking because they’re attractive, sturdy, and particularly resistant to moisture, insects, and warping. However, because they are imported, they are much more costly than pressure-treated wood and native species of hardwood.
Before building a tropical hardwood deck, you must predrill holes for every screw, otherwise, the wood can split and become loose over time. If you’re hiring professional installers to build your deck, this may increase labor costs. If you’re building your deck yourself, always use corrosion-resistant metal screws and hardware that won’t rust, regardless of which decking material you use.
Composite decking consists of a blend of wood and plastic, and often incorporates recycled materials. Specific elements and ratios of materials in composite decking vary by manufacturer. Although more expensive than pressure-treated wood and some hardwoods, composite requires much less maintenance. Giving it a thorough cleaning a few times a year is pretty much all you need to do to maintain it. No sanding, staining, or sealing is needed. It’s also great if you have kids or pets, as there’s no danger of them getting splinters and it’s super easy to clean up messes on a composite deck.
However, if you have your heart set on the authentic, natural beauty of wood, composite decking may not be the right material for you. Although it comes in a multitude of colors and resembles wood, it can’t be stained.
The Kind of Wood You Choose for Your Deck Depends on Your Preferences
There’s no specific answer to which kind of wood is best for your deck – each person has their own tastes, lifestyle, and budget. The best way to pick decking material is to do your research, check out local showrooms, and seek advice from experienced building professionals. No matter which kind of decking you choose, with proper care and maintenance you and your loved ones will enjoy it for many years to come.
Contact Us to Learn More About Wood Decking in New Jersey
Since 1937, Jaeger Lumber has provided quality materials and top-notch services to builders, contractors, and homeowners throughout New Jersey. We’re proud to offer a wide range of decking options – to learn more, contact us today. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to serve you at any of our eight convenient locations.