The Pros and Cons of 3 Decking Timber Options

One of the most important decisions that you will have to make when you decide to construct a wooden deck in your home is the choice of a specific timber material. This article discusses the pros and cons of three timber options for your wooden deck. Use this information as you choose the most appropriate timber option for your deck.

Pressure-Treated Timber

Southern yellow pine is pressure treated with chemicals in order to make it resistant to rot, fungus and wood-boring insects.  This timber is affordable, and it is readily available. Pressure treated timber is also easy to work with. However, it easily splinters, rots or warps if it is not maintained appropriately (by refinishing it after a few years, for example). You also need to make sure that the pressure treated timber that you buy was not treated with toxic chemicals, such as chromate copper arsenate.

Tropical Hardwoods

Tropical hardwoods (ipe and cambara, for example) are beautiful and long lasting. They are also resistant to decay and insect-induced damage. Tropical hardwoods are also very dense. This makes them very strong decking materials. However, tropical hardwoods are very expensive to buy. They are also difficult to work with due to their density. Dark-coloured hardwood can also become very hot if it is used on a deck that is exposed to direct sunlight. Timber from tropical hardwoods also has a big carbon footprint due to the environmental impact (such as the fuel used by ships and trucks that are used to transport it over long distances) of importing that timber.

Cedar and Redwood

Cedar and redwood are softwoods that are commonly used as a decking material. They are naturally beautiful. They also contain tannins and natural oils that make the timber resistant to insect damage and rot. However, the magnitude of resistance to wood-boring insects and rot depends on how much heartwood is present in a specific piece of timber used on a deck. Cedar and redwood can also be expensive to buy. The cost of maintaining this decking timber can also be high. For example, you need to power wash it frequently (for instance, once each year) in order to remove surface contaminants before they penetrate the timber and cause it to deteriorate.

Each timber option has its unique benefits and drawbacks. Weigh those two sides carefully before you make a final choice. You may also consult a deck contractor so that he or she advises you on the best decking timber for your area.