Understanding How Long Different Types of Wood Decks Last

Even with the introduction of composite deck boards, wood decks remain the most popular choice among homeowners in the United States of America. Decks are particularly common in temperate regions like the American Southeast. Homeowners in states like North Carolina and South Carolina often find themselves using their decks as true extensions of their indoor living areas.


Choosing the right decking material for your home, though, can be easier said than done. Even if you’ve decided for sure that you want a wood deck, you might be surprised to learn how many types of wood are available. In this helpful guide, you will discover details about some of the most popular sorts of wooden decking available on the market today. 


What impacts deck lifespan overall?


No matter where in the Carolinas you reside, there are a few overarching factors that will play into the lifespan of your new deck, no matter what type of wood you ultimately select. The more sunlight and moisture your decking boards are exposed to, for example, the shorter their lifespan is likely to be. 


Furthermore, the height of your deck can actually play a role in how long it lasts — this is something many homeowners fail to take into consideration at first. The higher off the ground your deck is, the less likely it is that it will soak up moisture from the ground or become a breeding ground for insects, worms, and vermin. 


What types of wood do people use for decks?


Tropical hardwoods – Tropical hardwoods, like ipe, are the most expensive wood decking option, but they are also extremely durable and long-lasting — not to mention their aesthetic appeal. Tigerwood, ipe, and other woods in their class are naturally resistant to rot and do not sustain water damage as easily as other types of wood because they come from the rainforest. 


Tropical hardwoods generally have gorgeous natural color and do not require staining, but a clear UV-ray resistant finish is a great way to protect your investment. Tropical hardwood decks come at a price, but they generally last for anywhere from 30 to 50 years. 


Redwood and cedar wood – The wood from both redwood and cedar trees is an excellent decking option that is less expensive than any tropical hardwood species, but still provides beautiful natural color and durability. When the heartwood of redwood and cedar trees are used to make deck boards, they still offer both rot and pest resistance, though not quite at the level of ipe and its ilk. 


It is important to note that redwood and cedar are not resistant to water damage, so it is necessary to seal them annually in order to keep them in tip-top shape, particularly if you get snow in your region of the Carolinas. Well-kept redwood and cedar decks can last for about 25 years, but poorly maintained ones often have to be replaced after about a decade.


Treated lumber – For decades, pressure-treated lumber was nearly the only material option for homeowners who wanted decks. It is important to note, however, that if you remember older green-tinted boards, the world of treated lumber has changed! Many contractors now use much higher end pressure-treated lumber decking that has an appealing natural color — and still costs less than any other type of wood.


Another benefit of this type of decking, though, is that it is easy to stain or paint. Because treated lumber does not resist rot, pests, and water, though, it does need preventative maintenance on an annual basis. Properly maintained treated lumber decks can last as long as 40 years.


If you’re ready to have a deck added onto your North Carolina or South Carolina home, contact the expert team at Hatch Homes today to get started. We look forward to working with you!

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