A good outside deck starts with the right decking material; no matter how skilled you are at assembling boards and planks and no matter how nice that lumber may look in the lumberyard, if you don't choose high-quality materials that are right for your deck in particular, you can soon see chips, cracks, warped areas and other problems with your deck. When you're ready to choose the best decking material for your home, note a few things you might be overlooking so you're sure to get the best lumber for the job.
Cost versus maintenance
Inexpensive pine can be a good choice for your deck, and you can opt for pressure-treated wood, which helps to protect it over time. However, many other hardwoods are more impervious to rot, fungus and insect infestation, as well as to mold and mildew growth. A denser choice like cedar or maple may be more expensive, but you may find that you need to do less work to address termites or ants, and these woods may need less repair due to wood rot. In turn, you may find that it's actually more cost effective to invest in these expensive hardwoods.
Tannin refers to a type of coloring that occurs naturally with wood and other such materials; tannin is found in grape skins and can give wine a certain flavor or dryness. However, tannin can also mean that certain woods bleed color when first cut and installed, and this color can rub off on furniture and materials under the deck, including stone pavers and concrete. You can clean this tannin with special cleaners that are meant for wood, but note that many hardwoods will have a high tannin count. Be prepared for this cleaning process or opt for a hardwood with a lower tannin count in order to protect your furniture and pavers.
Exotic hardwoods like tiger wood or mahogany can give your deck a very handsome and rich appearance. However, these hardwoods are usually very difficult to work with; you may not be able to easily cut and fabricate the wood or even attach a screw or bolt without first drilling. This can mean a challenge anytime you want to cut a new plank to replace an old one or even for creating your own deck. Note if the hardwood you choose may be too dense for working with on your own, and be sure you have the right tools and other equipment needed.