When researching various decking materials, the main features to focus on factors such as durability, longevity, and, resistance. Ask the following questions:
- Is this decking material durable?
- How long does it last?
- Can it naturally resist mold and my area's climate?
The answers to these questions will directly impact the installation, longevity of your deck not too mention how much you enjoy spending time on it with your friends and loved ones.
To help you compare options, we've provided an overview of several types of decking below, so making the right choice is easy.
CumaruBending Strength: 14,793 psi
Janka Hardness: 3540
Description: Beautiful, rich colors ranging from golden tan to warm red/brown.
Durability: Very durable and naturally resistant to decay, mold and insects. Offers over a 50 year life span without constant maintenance or repairs. Cumaru decking features many benefits over teak, including a splinter-free and slip-free surface that stays cool in the summer, is safe for bare feet, and a more affordable price tag.
Douglas FirBending Strength: 12,400 psi
Janka Hardness: 670
Description: A pale reddish-brown color accented by a generally straight grain.
Durability: Non-durable. Must be painted or stained to prevent decay. Typical life span in temperate climates ranges from 3-10 years.
Pressure Treated PineBending Strength: 14,500 psi
Janka Hardness: 690
Description: Very pronounced grain across a dusty yellowish-green color that results from chemical treatment of the wood.
Durability: There are 2 commonly used chemical preservatives, MCA (Micronized Copper Azole) and ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary). These chemicals are forced into the wood to help reduce decay but there are some potential health concerns with these treatments. While pressure treated decking does resist termites, it is highly prone to checks, splits, and looks worn just after 3 years.
California RedwoodBending Strength: 10,000 psi
Janka Hardness: 480
Description: Appearance and quality varies greatly depending on the grade. A fine, consistent texture with a straight grain pattern. Color varies from bright red to a warm dark brown.
Durability: While premium grades are more durable than most woods in common use and resistant to decay, the lumber is relatively soft and quick to weather. Preservative measures are recommended. This is not the redwood of legend. California redwood borders on being a "softwood" and is 7 times weaker than Cumaru decking.
Western CedarBending Strength: 7,500 psi
Janka Hardness: 580
Description: Salmon pink when freshly cut, and turns a coffee brown hue over time. Species is generally straight grained.
Durability: Like redwood, this species is more durable than other woods and naturally resistant to decay, but it is soft and will weather quickly, so protective treatments are recommended. Cedar is about 6 times weaker than Cumaru. It also offers a paler looking deck surface.
Philippine MahoganyBending Strength: 12,000 psi
Janka Hardness: 760
Description: A medium to dark brown color with an interlocked grain, similar to true mahogany, but with a courser texture.
Durability: Only the dark red species are resistant to decay. Although more durable than cedar and redwood, it is still relatively soft and is 4 1/2 times weaker than cumaru decking.
Description: Made from a mixture of wood fibers and plastic, composite decking attempts to imitate a number of different species, but still looks fake.
Physical Properties: Different manufacturers create different qualities of decking, but all of them share a weakness that comes from the porous nature of composite decking. Boards are prone to breaking, peeling, and decay, which can lead to injuries.
Durability: In spite of promises to the contrary, composites are not as durable as hardwood, and are susceptible to mold, breaking, fading, and peeling.