The decking industry offers many options when it comes to building a deck. Wood decks can be built using pressure treated decking made from Southern Yellow pine, hard woods such as Ipe grown in, and imported from, the amazon region of Central and South America, or other exotic woods. Various types of exotic wood decking include: Ipe decking, cedar decking, bamboo decking, and redwood decking.
Decks built from exotic wood decking are beautiful, but the initial cost is relatively high, in some cases as much as 10 times what you would expect to pay for pressure treated decking. Exotic wood decking, such as Ipe wood decking, is made from hard woods and is durable and long-lasting. It resists fading, rot, discoloration, and deterioration, and is resistant to word boring insects.
Ipe is hard wood that grows in marshes, riverbanks and ridge tops throughout the amazon region of Central and South America. The trees may grow up to 140 feet high with a trunk diameter of up to six feet. Ipe wood decking is chemical free. If building with Ipe decking, smaller planks are recommended to reduce chance of warping. Ipe decking is about 4 times more expensive than pressure treated decking based on price per square foot.
If you like the look of ipe or even teak check out Trex tropical collection here.
Spanish Cedar, Clear Western Red Cedar, and Japanese Cedar are a few varieties of cedar wood.
Cedar heartwood is rot resistant. Moisture causes splitting and twisting to occur in hard wood decking, and since cedar doesn’t readily absorb moisture, cedar decking lies flat and straight. The life span for cedar decking is 15 – 20 years unless used for ground-level or shaded decks. Decks built with cedar decking require cleaning and resealing every one or two years to retain its color. The cost to build a deck using cedar decking is somewhere between pressure treated decking and composite decking.
Bamboo is harder and more durable than most woods. It is fast growing and sustainable, so therefore considered a environmentally friendly. That said, decking made from strand-woven bamboo contains chemicals from the adhesive used in processing.
Bamboo decking is either strand or non-strand woven bamboo. Bamboo decking made from strand woven bamboo decking is much stronger (and therefore we do not typically recommend non-strand woven bamboo), but care must be taken to properly seal it because the process it undergoes does not weatherproof it or even properly seal it from standard water damage. With proper care and maintenance though strand woven bamboo decking has an average life span of 20 years.
Bamboo decking will perform better in hot moist climates and not so well in cold rainy climates. Decks built with bamboo decking will require proper sealing at installation and maintenance similar to other wood decking – annual cleaning and staining or sealing every other year. The cost of using bamboo decking is less expensive than hard woods.
There are different grades of redwood lumber that fall under two principle categories Architectural and Garden. Redwood lumber that is graded Architectural contains only heartwood, and no sapwood. If you are considering redwood decking to build your new deck then confirm that the redwood decking is made from redwood lumber graded Architectural so it will have all the best qualities attributable to heartwood.
Redwood decking made from redwood lumber graded Architectural will be straight and stable. It also weathers well and is resistance to wood boring insects. Splitting is minimized because of its low shrinkage rate. Redwood decking is easily painted or stained. Use a protective finish to repel water, mildew and UV damage.
If well-maintained, redwood decking can last up to about 30 years. Redwood decking is usually one of the most expensive options due to environmental concerns and limited supply.
If you love the look of exotic wood, but you understand the impact on the environment as well as your pocket book, ask us to show you composite decking choices that are equally stunning, but eco-friendly and low-maintenance which guarantees to save you time and money over time.