hardwood deck and waterfall spa

If you want to build a deck or are considering updating an old one, you’ll want to decide which type of wood to use. In fact, materials selection is the most important part of your deck’s plan. Whether you opt for softwoods like cedar or seeking an easy-to-maintain wood like mahogany, you’ll want to learn about the pros and cons of each wood type. While your contractor can help provide you with added information, the following will give you a basic rundown of what you need to know regarding wood selection for your deck.

Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure treated wood, often made from Southern yellow pine, is one of the most common types of wood chosen for deck construction. It is an inexpensive option; however, it does require maintenance and is toxic because of its chemical composition (used to prevent rot and termites). Therefore, when you work with this wood you should wear gloves and a mask. Chemicals aside, this is a popularly chosen material for building a deck.


Tropical Hardwoods

Woods such as ipe, mahogany, or red balau are incredibly durable and insect resistant. While tropical hardwood is not cheap, it is a solid choice in terms of durability. Moreover, it is quite lovely to behold. If you do choose to go with a hardwood, be sure it has the ‘FSC’ trademark so you know the wood has been harvested responsibly.



Cedar is a popular wood choice because it has natural protections from insects and rot. While a cedar deck may not last as long as a hardwood structure, it will hold up nearly as long with proper maintenance. Since it is soft, however, it can be more easily worn by heavy foot traffic. Even so, many people enjoy the look and smell of cedar.


While there are also some engineered wood options, composite materials, and other materials you might choose for your deck, these wood choices are among the most popularly chosen. If you have trouble deciding on what type of wood is best for your deck, talk to your contractor about what you intend to use your deck for.. Your contractor is likely to have some helpful suggestions for you.