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What is the Best Wood to Use for Decking?

For many years, wood has been the first choice for construction, especially for building decking.

Many use it for its timeless beauty and aesthetics, while others love it for its affordable cost. However, as with many other home improvements, planning is the key to having a perfect outcome. One of the things you’ll want to decide is what wood to use.

But what is the best wood to use for your decking?

The Different Types of Wood

There is a wide variety of wood decking materials you can use for decking. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. For decking, there are two classifications of wood: softwoods and hardwoods. What are they? And which is the best one to use?

1 Softwood Decking Materials

Softwoods are among the most common varieties of wood used in decking. If you are on a budget, softwood decking is the best wood to use.

Softwood decking boards come from fast-growing trees, which makes them cheap and readily available. While they may not be as durable as other types of wood, that doesn’t mean that their quality is undesirable. Many builders and homeowners use softwood to create beautiful and durable decking.

Here are a few types of softwood that you may often see used for wood decking.

Pine: Pine is one of the most common types of softwoods used for decking. It’s also among the cheapest varieties you can find for decking. Pine boards usually tend to have lighter shades, like yellow, turning slightly darker as they age.

Cedar: Cedar is another popular choice for wood decking, which is slightly more expensive yet more durable than pine. It has better resistance to moisture and weather. Cedar typically comes in red, yellow, or off-white shades. As Cedar ages, it will slowly turn grey unless sealed and stained

Redwood: As with other types of wood, there are many varieties of Redwoods. European Redwood, a common decking material, is one of the most durable softwoods, more so than Cedar. It can resist moisture, rotting, and insects, helping it to last longer.

In general, softwoods are among the cheapest wood decking options. If you are on a budget, the best woods you can use are Cedar and Redwood. While pine is less durable, it is a cheaper, viable,  and reliable option.

However, if you want stronger, more durable, and longer-lasting wood decking, there are better ones than softwoods. If you are willing to spend more money, it is worth using hardwood instead.

2 Hardwood Decking Materials

The second classification of lumber is hardwood. Hardwood decking is much more durable than softwood decking. However, unlike softwoods, they are much rarer and come from slow-growing trees. Because of this, they are generally more expensive than softwood.

Like softwoods, there are a variety of hardwoods that you can choose from. Here are some of the most common types you may often see used for decking:

Teak: Teak is one of the most commonly used hardwoods due to its durability. Teak has a high oil content, which helps protect it from insects and rotting. Many also use it for its excellent tensile strength. However, it is significantly rarer and more expensive than most hardwoods.

Oak: Oak is one of the most popular hardwoods for decking due to its strength and moisture resistance. It’s also one of the most cost-efficient hardwood decking options. Oak typically comes in two varieties: red and white oak.

Cumaru: Cumaru is one of the hardest, densest, most durable, and longest-lasting hardwoods you can use. It’s scratch, fire, and moisture-resistant. It also has a high resistance to rotting and insects. However, it is also one of the most expensive varieties.

IPE: When it comes to hardwood, nothing can beat IPE. Many agree that IPE is the best hardwood material since a deck made from IPE can last for decades with proper care and maintenance. It has the best resistance to fire, moisture, insects, and scratches.

If you value durability and lifespan above all else, hardwoods are one of the best woods you can use for decking, as they can last for decades and can resist outdoor conditions better than softwood. 

The Best Wood to Use for Decking

People may have varying opinions when it comes to the best wood for decking. If you value cost over quality, Redwood is one of the best softwoods you can choose. But if your priority is quality, durability, and longevity, nothing beats the quality of many hardwoods. Among all of them, IPE is the best wood you can use. However, you will need to prepare to spend a lot more, as they are so much more expensive than softwoods.

Other Alternatives

Apart from softwood and hardwood options, there is an alterative solution, if eco friendly and authenticity is key. Aluminium and PVC options in some customers view lacks the natural authenticity or environmentally friendly option in which using wood can bring. The other option in this case is composite, most composite decking sold in the U.K is a mix of wood and recycled plastic, they provide many benefits when compared against wood. Some of these benefits include low maintenance, longer life span, fade, stain and moisture resistance all working towards provide a longer lasting decking solution for your garden.

As for authenticity and eco friendly, new composite decking is extremely authentic with many of them now capturing exotic wood look of unique wood grain patterns and mixed colours and when it comes to environmentally friendly there arguably better than than wood cousin, there are produced with no treatments or chemicals and to top it made from recycled plastic and wood.

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