Any homeowner will find a classic wood deck indispensable. It will give any home a stylish flair and a practical space in which they can unwind. It also adds value to a house should the owner decide to sell it. While wood might prove to be more aesthetically pleasing compared to composites, vinyl, and other materials that can be used to build a deck, you need to choose the kind of wood you for the structure very carefully. You have to consider what you’ll use the deck for, as well as the climate of the area where you live. Let’s take a look at a few kinds of wood deck materials that you can choose from.
1) Pressure-treated (PT) softwood deck
Materials: Pressure-treated (PT) lumber is made from softwood species such as pine, fir, and spruce. The wood from these plants is immersed in a chemical preservative under high pressure to make the chemicals seep deeper into the wood fibres. This technique distinguishes PT wood from other chemically-treated wood, which is merely coated on the surface. Chemicals in PT wood, such as copper, are toxic to insects and fungi that may cause rot and damage, extending the lifespan of this option.
Cost and durability: PT wood’s affordability makes it among the most popular kinds of lumber used to build decks. Homeowners who want to build a sturdy deck within their means turn to PT wood. Although PT wood’s upfront costs are cheaper compared to other wooden deck materials, the maintenance necessities, such as annual sealing and regular power washing, can make it costly in the long run. While PT wood is resistant to insects, it is not impervious to moisture. Decks made from this wood will only have an average lifespan of only nine years in wet climates, compared to decks made of hardwoods and modified wood.
Downsides: The chemicals in PT decks can be harmful when humans and pets regularly come into direct contact with its surface. Splinters from PT decks can lead to infections since these types of wood have chemical substances infused in them.
2) Hardwoods: Redwood and cedar
Materials: Boards made of hardwoods come from trees like cedar and redwood. These woods have more beautiful wood grain and have no knots. Although these two types of lumber differ in colour, both take on a silvery brown colour as they age.
Cost and durability: Hardwoods, especially those made from rare heartwood lumber, can be expensive. The fact that the UK imports these materials make hardwoods even more costly.
Downsides: Contrary to what most people think, only heartwood lumber is inherently resistant to insects and rot. Since most commercial hardwoods sold in the market are grown on timber plantations, these trees have no time to form heartwood before they are cut down and sold. Consequently, most lumber products marketed as “hardwood” are actually sapwood, which might need chemical treatments and annual maintenance measures to be rot-resistant like heartwood.
3) Thermally-modified wood
Materials: In contrast with the chemical infusion involved in PT wood, thermally-modified wood undergoes heat treatment. This basically involves drying the wood to make it resistant to moisture, fungi, and insect infestations. While any timber can undergo thermal modification, most manufacturers use softwood species that are easy to grow and replace, making the process sustainable. Since it does not contain the harsh chemicals PT wood does, thermally-modified wood is a safer choice for households with pets and kids. When it ages, it produces the same sleek look as aged hardwoods.
Cost and durability: Of these three types of materials, thermally-modified wood is the only one resistant to moisture. Hence, decks made out of this type of timber require less maintenance compared to PT wood and hardwood, in turn meaning less long-term costs.
Downsides: Heat tends to denature plant proteins. Thus, thermally-modified wood is less durable than hardwood.
If you’re looking for a timber supplier in your area, Timber 2 U Direct is your best option. Get in
touch with us today to see how we can help.