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Pros and Cons of Traditional Wood Decks

wood decks, decks, wood deck railings

In this second part of our five part series on the pros and cons of different types of decking, we will look at the more traditional wood deck boards.

Wood Decking

There are two species of wood traditionally used by deck builders. Cedar has been a staple of deck builders for a long time due to it’s high acid content and natural weather resistance. On the East Coast, Pressure Treated Pine is the #1 type of wood used for decks.

Cedar Decking

A beautiful wood that resists rot and decay, Cedar wood is readily available at most lumber yards. However be very careful, the cedar wood you buy now is not the same as the stuff your Dad bought 20 years ago. Todays cedar trees are rushed along and harvested earlier, resulting in a softer, less durable wood. You can still buy good heartwood cedar, but you will pay a premium for it. Almost as much as hardwoods like Ipe or Cumuru. Cedar still makes a good deck railing, but we don’t like to use it for flooring anymore because of how soft it is.

Pros: Naturally resists rot & decay, nice real wood look, can be stained any color

Cons: Softest of all the wood decking, needs lots of maintenance, shorter life span

Pressure Treated Wood Decking

This is still a great option for your deck project. Readily available at all lumber yards, it comes in lots of shapes and sizes for decking and railing. It has changed very little over the years. In 2004 the Federal government mandated that wood treatment companies stop using arsenic in wood treatment. The new version of Pressure Treated wood is a little different, it seems to have more problems with surface cracking and warping than the old version did. However the long term durability doesn’t seem to be affected.

Pros: Readily available, easy to install, most affordable decking, can be stained any color

Cons: Needs to be cleaned and stained regularly, not as visually appealing as other woods

We have a lot more to say about Deck Material Options