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Cedar Decking, Pine Decking or Ipe Decking & Why?

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Decking is one of the most popular home improvements a homeowner will make. This undertaking requires several decisions on the part of the homemaker. These decisions include how much room is available, how much decking to make, what decking materials to use and of course how much money to invest. The deck boards are a very important part of the decision making process with many choices available. In the past the choice had predominately been pressure treated pine but now with new technology the choices are abundant. Let?s take a look at several wood decks and the reasons for and against them.

Pine decking has been a popular choice for many reasons. Readily available, this wood is pressure treated to ensure insect control and resistance to decay. Earth friendly properties of this wood include the fact it produces less energy and air/water pollution than other building materials. Pine is four times stronger than plastic and is fairly easy to install with no special tools required. Southern pine decking is comfortable under foot when the sun is out compared to the blistering temperature of many composite or artificial decks. The drawbacks of course are the chemical outgas and replacement of this deck is usually 10-15 years if annually maintained.

Cedar decking has gained popularity due to its density and rich warm tones. This decking requires no chemical treatment for insect resistance. The price is about twice that of pressure treated lumber and also widely used. This deck requires stainless steel screws but no predrilling. Lifetime is about 9-20 years with regular maintenance, must purchase clear grade. The wood properties are equally earth friendly as the pine decks. You can span more board in cedar than you can in a composite deck board due to strength. The downfall is it may still be too soft for outdoor application and the clear grade is very pricey to purchase.

Ipe decking has a growing demand mainly due to it?s strength, it has a janka hardness of 3680 compared to Cedar at 350. This gives you an idea of just how hard this exotic hardwood is. Ipe also known as Ironwood is originally from South America, Central America and parts of the Caribbean. This hardwood has been used in many commercial applications such as the boardwalk in Miami for its resiliency and longevity. Naturally resistant to insects, mold, fungus and decay, Ipe also has a fire spread rating same as concrete. Lifetime of this material is over 40 years with no treatment. If you apply a UV inhibitor to this deck you can get over 100 year life expectancy. This deck will require very little maintenance and you and your future generations can actually enjoy more time entertaining and relaxing and less time maintaining your deck area. This wood product provides all the same benefits as above plus more. The cost is also more than pressure treated lumber and this board does have to be predrilled due to the density of the board but the longevity will more than make up for the initial labor as you will not have to remove and reinstall a new deck in 10 -15 years.

 

 

 

 

One Response so far.

  1. Leo says:

    Hi there, I keep reading your blog and really enjoy the fact that you really go into the differences between varying types of decking materials.

    If you could do me a favor….can you tell me more about composite decking? I’ve done some research and many people out there say that composite decking is awful and has a lot of problems. Is that the case?

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