Contractors and DIY enthusiasts often use treated wood to build decks, but you have several other options for your Virginia deck. Composite wood products and exotic woods tend to be expensive, but cedar wood presents several benefits to Virginia residents, making it a great choice for your backyard living space. Compare deck materials and choose the best option for your property.
# 1 – Cedar Weathers Well
Cedar heartwood is used for decking materials and provides natural resistance to rot. Although decking contractors recommend using treated wood for the in-ground applications (framing and posts), cedar deck boards, stairs and railing materials should last 15 to 20 years without major structural decay. And that’s without applying any stain or treatment products–a good quality cedar stain could extend that life by a decade or more.
Left to weather naturally, cedar turns a silver color. This attractive appearance matches well with modern and traditional homes and provides a casual atmosphere for your outdoor living space. Many Virginia homeowners want this look and cedar delivers with minimal effort. For those consumers who want to maintain the rich red color of new cedar, annual cleaning and staining are required.
# 2 – Cedar Presents Fewer Splinters
Many deck installers prefer to handle cedar, as it tends to present fewer splinters. This may appeal to young families and pet owners in particular. Cedar decking surfaces remain smooth and comfortable for years.
Cedar sawdust may trigger an allergic reaction in some people, but it does not contain any chemicals and can be safely composted. Scrap cedar can be burned (where allowed by local bylaws) and this wood can be safely used for indoor and outdoor applications.
# 3 – Cedar Costs Less Than Other Premium Products
Cedar decks are more expensive than those designed using standard treated lumber. Expect to pay about 40 to 50 percent more to finish your Virginia deck in cedar wood. But this added cost is much less than composite wood, which runs closer to double or even triple the cost of standard treated lumber.
# 4 – Cedar Allows for Flexible Deck Designs
Are you dreaming of a round deck design or something with a little personal flare? Cedar is fairly flexible and can be used to construct decks of varying sizes, shapes and designs. A soft wood that allows for bending and cutting, cedar provides a skilled craftsman with hundreds of design possibilities. When compared to hardwoods, treated wood and composite products, cedar allows for more variation in your design.
# 5 – Cedar Presents Less Cupping and Warping
Cedar does not absorb moisture as much as spruce, pine or fir (woods used in treated lumber). This natural property means that cedar does not split or crack as readily and quickly as treated wood. You’ll find less cupping and warping on a cedar deck, allowing for a more professional appearance now and over time. Cedar may grow mold or mildew, when left in the shade, but it will perform very well in all other areas.
Talk to your contractor about using cedar wood for your Virginia deck. This building material provides several benefits and is well worth the additional investment.