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A deck project is something that many people only do a couple of times in their lifetimes. Given the long lasting nature of decks, hopefully you will only need to make the investment a couple of times- so you want to choose something that will last. With as many options that are on the market, it’s hard to know what the best option is for your home. This short guide will go over the most common types of decking materials on the market!

What Are The Best Decking Materials Available?

Traditional Wood Decking

Wood decking is a great option for those looking to install a basic, cost efficient deck on their property. The two most common types of traditional wood decking are cedar and redwood. These two softwood species have been used as decking in North America for over one hundred years. Because cedar and redwood decking are milled in the Western United States and sourced locally, they tend to be cheaper and do not incur the extra shipping costs of composites and exotic hardwoods. 

Cedar Decking

Traditionally, decks built using cedar can last for many years. Cedar can handle a lot of wear and tear and does not split or warp in drier climates, making it an excellent choice for Colorado decks. It is durable, stable and has the beautiful look with wood grains and knots. Cedar does not easily absorb moisture, which is a concern when deciding on a material for your deck.

Redwood Decking

Redwood is a wonderful option for any deck in Colorado. It can last up to 30 years with a good maintenance routine. Did you know that redwood is also the most fire resistant decking material on the market? Redwood can handle repetitive staining throughout its lifespan, making it an affordable and sustainable option for your home!

Exotic Hardwood Decking

A common misconception is that if something is labeled as “exotic” that is must be expensive. That isn’t necessarily the case with the exotic hardwoods that we stock. Exotic hardwoods are also well known for being low-maintenance materials for decking. In most cases, you will only need to reseal it every other year as opposed to every year. The rate of fading in not as fast as other decking materials and staining only needs to be done when you see considerable fading. With options such as Ipe, Garapa, Tigerwood, Fijian Mahogany, Red Balau and Tigerwood- there are great choices that will fit into your budget!

Ipe Hardwood Decking

Ipe decking, pronounced “EE-PAY” is a very popular choice among Colorado homeowners. Also known as Brazilian Walnut, Ipe can be found originally in South America and some parts of Central America. Did you know that it is one of the densest hardwoods and is 3 times harder than cedar? It’s also a great choice because its resistant to mold, fire, weather, and is pest-resistant. Since it performs so well naturally, there are no added chemicals and it is commonly seen being used near bodies of water. Without the risk of water contamination, it is an excellent choice for coastal and lake towns. 

Garapa Hardwood Decking

Garapa decking is another excellent choice of the exotic hardwood variety. Hailing from South and Central America, many people describe it as a blonder version of traditional Ipe. Garapa can withstand harsh climates, resist insect damage and combat mold and decay. With proper maintenance and care, Garapa can last 30 years. Not many other decking materials can make that claim! When deciding between Garapa and Ipe, consider the color differences and realize that Garapa comes at about half the cost of traditional Ipe.

Fijian Mahogany Hardwood Decking

Mahogany has been on the scene as history’s oldest custom project wood because of its straight grain, availability, and ability to work with. At one point, the Mahogany in Brazil was unsustainably harvested, so the Fijian government stepped in now we have a readily available supply that is doing amazing things for the environment. People love the natural color of Mahogany that becomes richer with age. It darkens from a light orange-brown when fresh cut, to a deep mahogany color as it ages. Mahogany is one of the softer hardwoods of the group, making it easier to work with than dense woods such as Ipe. On the other hand, it is more durable than traditional decking options such as Cedar or Redwood. 

Keep reading – Part Two of Best Decking Options for your Home, where we explore the remaining most common exotic hardwoods as well as dive into the different types of composite decking on the market.