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What Wood Can Be Used For Outside Decking

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  • Hardwoods, Cedar, Moisture, Oak, Insects
  • Posted date:
  • 05-09-2022
What Wood Can Be Used For Outside Decking

Which Wood Is Best for Outdoor Decking?

Are you asking what wood can be used for outside decking? Find out more about the different types of wood to use for your garden decking. We explore the difference between softwood decking and hardwood  decking materials.


Redwood is another softwood that is widely used in western deck construction - it's equivalent to cedar in terms of hardness and durability. Redwood, like cedar, is naturally resistant to moisture, rot, and insects; redwood's natural oils and tannins, which also contribute to its aesthetic appeal, offer resilience. Redwood decks, like cedar decks, require annual pressure washing as part of their upkeep - it is critical to stain redwood every few years if you want it to seem natural. Redwood is frequently more costly than pressure-treated wood in most parts of the world.


Cedar is a popular decking material due to its longevity and resistance to humidity - one of the many benefits of cedar is that its moisture content adjusts to its environment, which is very important if you live in a cold climate. Despite its flexibility, cedar is more resistant to degradation and insect infestation than most other woods; cedar is more resistant to cracking and warping than other materials.

In terms of appearance, cedar is a great choice for a deck that appears natural and is easy to stain, giving you a lot of options. Cedar has an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years when properly cared for as well. Pressure wash the surface annually, and refinish and stain it every two to three years.

Pressure Treated Wood

For outdoor decks, pressure-treated wood is frequently the most affordable material. The two most typical kinds of wood that are pressure treated for decks are southern yellow pine and douglas fir. However, a few other species of wood can also be used. In essence, the company loads timber into a large chamber, closes it, and then applies pressure to inject waterborne chemicals into the wood.

The affordability and availability of pressure-treated wood are the main reasons for its popularity. Although it doesn't look as good as other alternatives, it is less expensive and has a longer lifespan. If you have your heart set on a wood deck, this is a fantastic low-cost choice. As should be expected, some upkeep is still necessary - pressure cleaning once a year and applying stains every few years are customary.  

What Wood Can Be Used For Outside Decking?

Tropical Hardwoods

Ipe and mahogany are the most typical types of tropical hardwoods that you will encounter. These woods will be by far the most costly alternatives for outdoor decks. Ipe and mahogany are excellent choices for decks because of their high resistance to warping, dampness, and insects. Tropical hardwoods are significantly more expensive due to a few drawbacks; without first creating a pilot hole, these woods cannot be screwed or fastened into place.

The accessibility of these woodlands is another thing to think about, they will be more difficult to locate at your neighbourhood lumberyard, and the expense of transporting them will drive up the cost of your deck even higher. If you can afford a tropical hardwood deck and aren't on a tight budget, you'll be rewarded with a stunning final product that will last for many years.

Composite Wood

A rapidly expanding trend in outdoor decks is composite wood decking. There are a few things that homeowners who want to install a deck find appealing. Polyvinyl chloride or polyethene are typically used to make composite decks - essentially, this is recycled plastic with added wood fibres. There are many colours and finish possibilities because it is composed of recycled plastic. Composite wood also has the benefit of requiring little to no upkeep.

One of the apparent drawbacks of composite wood is that it lacks the appeal, feel, and appearance of real wood. In addition, it can get quite hot in the heat and slick in the rain. If you overlook the drawbacks, it's a more affordable and simple to maintain alternative than the majority of other outdoor decking materials you'll discover.

The Different Types of Wood:

Softwood Decking Materials

Softwood is one of the most commonly used woods for decking. Softwood decking is the ideal type of wood to use if you have a limited budget - there are stronger, more robust, and more lasting woods available if you are ready to invest more money.

The Different Types of Wood

Softwood decking boards are made from fast-growing trees, making them inexpensive and widely accessible. While they may not be as durable as other types of wood, their quality is not inferior. Softwoods are used by many builders and homeowners to construct attractive and long-lasting softwoods.

Pine is one of the most used softwoods for decking. It's also one of the most affordable decking options. Pine boards are often lighter in colour, such as yellow, and darken gradually as they age. Cedar is another common wood decking material that is somewhat more costly but more durable than pine; it's more resistant to moisture and weather. Cedar is often red, yellow, or off-white - if cedar is sealed and treated, cedar will gradually turn grey as it ages.

Redwoods, like other forms of wood, come in a wide range of variations. Common decking material European Redwood is one of the most durable softwoods, even more so than cedar. It can withstand dampness, rot, and insects, allowing it to survive longer. Softwoods are often among the most affordable wood decking alternatives. Cedar and redwood are the ideal woods to utilise if you're on a tight budget. While wood is less durable, it is still a less expensive, feasible, and dependable alternative.

However, there are stronger, more robust, and longer-lasting wood decking options than softwoods. If you're ready to spend a little extra money, you could go for hardwoods instead.

Hardwood Decking Materials

Hardwood is the second type of lumber categorisation. Hardwood decking lasts far longer than softwood decking - they are, however, considerably uncommon than softwoods and come from slow-growing trees; as a result, they are often more costly than softwoods.

Teak is one of the most often used hardwoods due to its durability. Teak has a lot of oil, which helps it withstand insects and deterioration; due to its great tensile strength, it is widely used. Nonetheless, it is considerably rarer and more expensive than other hardwoods. Oak is a popular timber for decking due to its strength and resistance to dampness. It's also one of the most affordable hardwood decking options; the two most popular varieties of oak are red and white oak.

Hardwood Decking Materials

Cumaru is a highly hard, thick, durable, and long-lasting hardwood. It is scratch, fire, and humidity resistant; it's also impervious to deterioration and insects - nevertheless, it is one of the most expensive varieties. When it comes to hardwood, nothing tops ipe. Many people say that ipe is the best hardwood material since it may last for decades with proper care and upkeep; it is the most resistant to fire, humidity, insects, and scratches.

Hardwoods are the ideal woods for decking if you choose durability and longevity over all else. They can withstand outdoor conditions and persist for decades. When it comes to hardwoods, ipe is without a doubt the greatest option; overall, it is the finest wood available.

Things to Consider when Choosing your Wooden Decking:  

The many varieties of wood have distinct appearances and textures. Pine, for example, is a very soft wood that has an organic appearance with visible grains of genuine timber. While cedar is tougher than pine, it is still softer than oak or iroko. When you cut into it, it has a unique scent that many people find attractive. Oak is a robust, solid wood that may be dyed or varnished and will last for many years. Iroko is the heaviest of these woods, with an oily finish and a deep colour.

Thermowood has a smooth look but is still durable since it is constructed of an engineered composition that is simpler to clean than other softwoods. The lightest, with a stunning silver colour, is Siberian larch, which is commonly used for decking, cladding, and fences; each style of wooden decking has a unique wood grain, lustre, and design.

When it comes to upkeep, you should pick your wooden decking wisely because certain decking requires routine maintenance. Softwoods, such as pine, should be treated with decking oil once a year to retain their beauty and suppleness. Harder, denser timbers will require less treatment, but may only work with certain oils. To avoid fungal degradation, some hardwoods will require special treatment, such as pressure treatment. Normal sealers and stains are also out since they will damage the surface of the exquisite wood.

To gain a real picture of cost, several factors must be addressed. Most people just consider the initial cost of wooden decking, but there are additional fees to consider in the long run. The cost of the wood must be examined and compared to how long it will survive. Softwoods are less expensive than hardwoods, but they only last approximately 25 years before decomposing, whereas a harder, denser wood like Iroko or Balau can survive for more than 50 years.

Installation charges vary depending on how difficult the wood is to work with and whether there are local professionals available to install it. Softwoods, like pine and cedar, are the least expensive decking materials on the market, but they require more upkeep than hardwoods, which raises their yearly cost significantly. Having said that, hardwoods will become significantly more costly over time owing to scarcity and difficulties in installation.

The humid and fluctuating climate of the United Kingdom may make it challenging to choose the ideal wood decking for your home. Softwoods will need to be treated every 1 to 3 years to prevent decay. Harder woods, such as iroko and Siberian larch, are more weather resistant and will last longer in tough conditions. Other wood species, such as balau or iroko, are more expensive than pine but survive longer due to their hardwood fibres, which make them less prone to splitting when stressed by circumstances such as strong winds.

When decking boards are damaged and twisted by the environment, splinters and other anomalies might occur. Softwoods, like pine, have long grains that might create splinters, but they are great for balancing the amount of moisture absorbed by your decking material, which is important if you want to avoid drying out too quickly during the colder months.

To get a particularly smooth surface, hardwoods can be sanded and even polished. They will keep their smooth textures for a longer amount of time because of their enhanced oil content and resistance to weathering. Softwoods are also good, but if not handled often, they can become harsh with time.

All hardwood decking has the potential to become slippery; the primary causes are all connected to moisture on the wood. Moisture may make decking slippery on its own, but the major cause of slippery decking is moss and algae development. A common misconception is that some woods, such as cedar, are more slip resistant than others; nevertheless, all of them must be treated with particular compounds to stay slip resistant.

You might also go for thermowood decks, which are particularly built to prevent slippage when wet, making it easier for persons who want assistance navigating around their property. There is no obvious winner in this category because all timber decking becomes slick if not cleaned and maintained. For long-lasting non-slip features, use composite decking, which does not absorb water like wood and does not allow algae to develop.

All of this information regarding hardwood being a wise investment has most likely piqued your curiosity about your beautiful iroko decking. This might be a problem because hardwoods are famously difficult to get and do not exist in a variety of shapes and sizes in the UK. There is no guarantee that you will be able to obtain replacement planks or that, if you do, they will match your current decking, so this can be a problem now and in the future. Softwood decking is widely accessible and made of the same wood as much of the timber used in construction, meaning that it will be available soon due to extensive global supply networks.

Are you looking for garden decking or composite decking near you? If you require garden decking in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire contact us today. 

Our garden design experts can supply and install beautiful garden decking for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.