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Community and Q&A

Decking material

GBA Editor | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I am building a home which will have a porch and a back deck. I am at the point where I need to make a decision on decking boards. I thought about using composite decking, but I have heard some brands literally fall apart after a few years. I really don’t want to use treated decking due to the maintenance. I also thought about cedar, but am not crazy about beautiful giant old trees being cut down for a place to walk on. Any suggestions?

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  1. SLSTech | | #1

    Correct Deck CX is the only composite I recommend with no reservations
    Ipe & Mahogany are good strong woods that are well known for being long lasting
    Pressure Treated wood will also last a while if stained & maintained properly

    One trick to make sure the deck lasts, is to wrap the top of double or triple joists with a membrane to prevent leaving an area where moisture & debris can get trapped has a few articles on a Correct Deck Reskin project, maintaining & inspecting your deck, etc...

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Not all cedar comes from giant old trees. Hear in the Northeast, we buy white cedar from local mills. White cedar is a durable wood that works well for decks.

    It is a common tree that grows in swamps and damp ground, and you don't need a large tree to make 2x4 or 5/4x4 deck boards. White cedar is not endangered.

  3. wjrobinson | | #3

    I should repost Sean's post... because I totally agree with it.

    I use Procell here which is similar to Correct Deck I believe along with the others mentioned.

  4. Christopher Briley | | #4

    I'm not a fan of the composites, myself. more from an aesthetic point of view. (I just don't like plastic houses, much). In addition to White Cedar, I have used FSC Cambara which is a Phillipean Mahogany. (beautiful old trees harvested and shipped to your door) I have also used Cambia which is a thermally modified hardwood. It's actually poplar (or any spicies you'd like if you're willing to wait) that has been cooked in an oxygen-free environment. It's local, low in embodied energy (for a decking material) and beautiful. Accoya is a treated wood. It's a pickled wood. (it actually smells like vinegar) but I 've never used it. I also like Timbersil which is pine pressure treated with a sodium silicate and kiln dried. It can be stained to look pretty cool. But the best recommendation would be to spring for a month of being a GBA Pro then you have access to the product guide which is designed exactly for questions like this one. :)

    One trick with natural wood decking is to install it so that the grain arc is facing up. Like a smile. You want happy wood. that way when the boards cup (and they will even if it's imperceptible) they will cup up so that water sheds instead of ponds and the edges are down to inhibit splintering and splitting with wear.

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