What Wood Should I Use for My Deck?

Are you interested in building a wooden deck on your property? One of the first steps you take should be determining exactly which type of wood you’ll be using in the project.

In most cases, the structure of the deck (all the supports and beams) is going to be made with pressure-treated lumber or even steel to give you some extra durability. But the actual decking, the wood that you walk on and that provides most of the attractive appearance of the deck, is where you have a few more options with regard to the types of wood you use.

The most common choices for wood decks are pressure-treated wood, cedar and redwood. Here’s some information about each of them from a lumber store in Franklin County, MA.

Pressure-treated lumber

Pressure-treated lumber can come in a variety of wood species, though it’s often fir or pine. The biggest benefit of pressure-treated wood is that it is highly resistant to rot and insect damage. It’s also significantly cheaper than other common types of wood used, like cedar and redwood, and generally more widely available.

As we mentioned already, pressure-treated wood is commonly used for the support systems, because it gets covered up by the flooring and it holds up well to weathering.

The downsides of pressure-treated lumber are that it can potentially be unstable, especially if you cheap out on the wood you get—it’s not uncommon for pressure-treated wood to shrink, warp and twist at lower grades. In addition, it doesn’t necessarily look as good as other types of wood, especially when using a transparent stain. Redwood and cedar are generally just better-looking woods.


Cedar has been used for fences and decking for many years, as it has a natural resistance to rot and insect damage. It might be a little too soft for decking, though, depending on the way you plan to use your deck. As such, it has a tendency to scratch and splinter a little more easily than other types of decking materials.

At the very least, cedar is an excellent choice for vertical elements of the deck and for railings, as well as for privacy structures such as fencing and pergolas.


Redwood is an absolutely gorgeous wood that looks even better when stained and sealed. However, it’s also much more expensive than other types of wood, especially if you don’t live near the West Coast, where it’s more commonly found. However, it is a highly stable decking material capable of lasting for years without warping. It contains few resins, which allows it to hold stain better and longer than many other types of woods.

With supplies dwindling, however, your redwood deck may cost you a premium. There are major limits in place on redwood harvesting, which adds to the costs.

For more information about the most common types of deck materials and what might be best for your deck project, we encourage you to contact Forest Products Associates or pay a visit to our lumber store in Franklin County, MA today.