What Types of Woods are Commonly Used for Outdoor Decking?

Types of Woods for Outdoor Decking

Outdoor decking is a popular choice for enhancing the aesthetic and functional aspects of outdoor spaces. The choice of wood for decking is crucial, as it affects durability, appearance, and maintenance requirements. The choice of wood for outdoor decking depends on your budget, aesthetic preferences, and maintenance capabilities. Each type of wood has its unique characteristics, so it’s important to consider factors like climate, local availability, and long-term maintenance when making your selection. Here are some common types of wood used for outdoor decking:

Composite Decking

Composite decking UK has become a popular choice for outdoor spaces due to its blend of wood fibres and recycled plastic. This innovative material offers the visual appeal of wood while requiring minimal maintenance. Composite decks are highly durable, resisting rot, insects, and weathering. They maintain their colour and appearance over time without the need for staining or sealing. This makes them a practical and cost-effective option for homeowners seeking a long-lasting, low-maintenance decking solution. 

Pressure-Treated Pine:

Pressure-treated pine is a popular choice for outdoor decking due to its affordability and effectiveness in resisting decay, insects, and moisture. This type of wood undergoes a treatment process where preservatives are forced into the wood fibres under pressure.

This treatment significantly enhances its durability, making it suitable for various climates. Pressure-treated pine typically has a light, natural appearance, which can be stained or painted to achieve a desired look. However, it’s important to note that it may require regular maintenance, including sealing and staining, to prevent issues like cracking and warping over time.

Cedar For Outdoor Decking:

Cedar is a highly favoured choice for outdoor decking due to its exceptional qualities. This wood species, known for its natural beauty and rich reddish-brown hue, not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of outdoor spaces but also boasts impressive durability. Cedar contains natural oils that make it naturally resistant to decay and insect infestations, reducing the need for chemical treatments.

Its aromatic scent adds to its charm. However, cedar decking does require some maintenance, such as periodic sealing, to preserve its appearance and protect it from weathering. While it tends to be more expensive than pressure-treated pine, many homeowners find its elegance and longevity well worth the investment.


Redwood, renowned for its natural beauty and durability, is a prized choice for outdoor decking. With its distinctive reddish-brown hue and fine grain, redwood lends an elegant aesthetic to any outdoor space. Beyond its visual appeal, this wood possesses inherent resistance to decay, insects, and the harsh effects of weather. Redwood’s eco-friendly reputation is bolstered by sustainable harvesting practices.

Though it tends to be on the higher end of the cost spectrum, the investment pays off in its long-lasting, low-maintenance qualities. Over time, redwood gracefully weathers to a silver-grey patina if left untreated, adding to its charm.

Redwood Outdoor Decking

Tropical Hardwoods:

Tropical hardwoods, such as Ipe and Cumaru, are prized for their exceptional durability and density, making them ideal choices for outdoor decking in harsh environments. Originating from the dense forests of South America, these woods exhibit natural resistance to decay, insects, and the rigours of weathering.

They are known for their striking appearance, characterised by deep reddish-brown to dark brown hues with intricate grain patterns. While their longevity and low-maintenance qualities make them desirable, their high cost and the need for specialised tools during installation are important considerations. 

Treated Hem-Fir:

Treated Hem-Fir is a popular choice for outdoor decking due to its affordability and durability. Hem-fir, a softwood species, is treated with preservatives to enhance its resistance to decay, insects, and harsh outdoor elements. This treatment process extends the wood’s lifespan, making it a practical option for those seeking a balance between cost and performance. Treated Hem-Fir maintains a natural wood appearance, and while it can withstand moisture and temperature fluctuations.

Bamboo Decking:

Bamboo decking is a sustainable and environmentally friendly choice for outdoor spaces. This material is derived from the fast-growing bamboo plant, making it a renewable resource. It boasts exceptional strength and durability, making it resistant to moisture, insects, and decay.

Bamboo decking is known for its unique appearance, which can vary from a light, natural colour to a rich, caramel hue. Its low maintenance requirements, combined with its eco-friendly credentials, make it an attractive option for those seeking an aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting outdoor deck that aligns with sustainable living principles.

Plastic Decking:

Plastic decking, a popular choice for outdoor spaces, is crafted entirely from plastic materials, offering several advantages. Its exceptional resistance to moisture, insects, and decay makes it a durable and low-maintenance option. Plastic decking comes in various colours and textures, although it may lack the natural appearance of wood. Its longevity and minimal upkeep requirements make it ideal for those seeking a hassle-free outdoor living space. Additionally, it’s an eco-friendly choice, as it often incorporates recycled materials. 

Regular cleaning, sealing, and staining, as well as proper installation, can significantly extend the lifespan of your outdoor deck, regardless of the wood type chosen.

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