The most obvious advantage of a cedar wood deck becomes apparent to anyone who sees the finished product: cedar is a naturally beautiful wood that needs no staining or painting to enhance its visual appeal. A cedar deck is a great addition to any home to improve the aesthetic of the house or yard. Beyond looks, however, cedar is a great choice of decking material because it is also naturally resistant to weather damage such as UV exposure, rot from moisture, mold build-up, and mildewing.
Wood can be impregnated with a variety of preservative chemicals to prevent rot and insect infestation in exterior applications like decks. Several species of wood can be treated, but a regionally available species usually predominates in any particular locale. Pressure treated lumber is ideal for outdoor construction as it has a long, useful life span and is much less expensive than alternatives. Treated wood can last more than 40 years. The treatment process involves placing a load of lumber in a huge cylindrical chamber called a retort with a door on one end that can be sealed airtight and then forcing waterborne chemicals into the wood under pressure
There's a reason they build boardwalks out of tropical hardwood: It's dense and hard enough to shrug off the insults of skateboards, high heels, hail, and just about anything else you or Ma Nature can muster. Ipe (pronounced EE-pay), the most durable and best known of the Brazilian hardwoods, is three and a half times as hard as teak. Its natural oils deter pests, rot, and decay so well that you could pound a stake of it into the dirt, come back 25 years later, and expect to find it intact. Above ground, ipe can last up to a century-longer than it takes to grow in the first place-making it one of the greenest choices available (assuming it's sustainably harvested). Incredibly, this wood has the same fire rating as steel and concrete.
Add in its rich brown luster, and ipe is the ideal material for decking. Such performance comes at a price, of course, but anyone who decides to make the investment in hardwood decking has other choices, too. Lesser-known tropical species such as cumaru, garapa, cambara, massaranduba, and tigerwood are nearly as amazing. A relatively new candidate for a deck that's as durable as it is attractive comes from Thermory, which takes domestically harvested white ash-the stuff of baseball bats-and heat-treats it in such a way that it's rendered rot resistant and extremely stable