What to Consider When Building a Wood Deck

Adding a nice deck to your house can increase its value. However, when making a material choice, you need to review a number of criteria first to get the most for your dollar. Here is a checklist of questions to ask before you select what kind of wood you will use to build your deck.

  1. Will the wood need to be treated? What type of maintenance will it require?
  2. Can the wood stand up to the temperature extremes of northern climates?
  3. What is the fire rating for the wood?
  4. Does the wood tend to fade in sunlight?
  5. Is the wood resistant to infestation, mold, splintering, or cracking?
  6. Is the wood mold-resistant?

Also, think about how the wood matches the architectural style of your home. While cedar and pine are beautiful woods, they may not be quite the right fit, say, for a home with a Victorian or more traditional facade.

Redwood DeckDecking Materials


Cedar is soft and resistant to infestation. However, it can become spotted after a heavy rain, with the condition prevailing for about three years, or until the wood becomes fully acclimated to its environment. Cedar needs to be sealed to safeguard it from the elements.


Redwood looks similar to cedar but with a reddish hue. It should be treated to prevent water damage and the resulting effects, such as cupping or cracking.

Pressure-treated Pine

When pine is pressure-treated, chemicals are applied to reduce deterioration or infestation. Although pressure-treated pine is less costly than redwood or cedar, it has the tendency to split or discolor over time.

Therefore, just like cedar and redwood, it’s best to have pine cleaned and sealed to maintain the wood’s looks and integrity.

Ipe Wood: A Durable Decking Material

The common woods used for decking materials (redwood, pine, and cedar) are considered softwoods. For the extremes in the Canadian climate, consider using ipe wood. Harvested in Central and South America, this wood is ideal for outdoor building. The walnut-colored wood naturally resists attacks by insects and does not succumb to the splinters, molds, or cracks that are brought on by the northern elements. It’s also fire and sun resistant.

What to Consider when Building a Wood DeckKeeping Costs Down

The average per-square-foot cost for a deck is currently around $5.00. To ensure that the installation is done properly and at an equitable cost then, make sure the builder of your deck is licensed and bonded.

Or, you might also consider securing the services of a roofing contractor who has a background in wood deck installation too.

How to Save on Installation

Cost estimates include the price for the deck’s foundation, frame, UV surface finishing, and fastenings.

To save money on the project, secure bids from several vendors. Have each contractor outline the details of the project. You can save even further on the job if you schedule to have the work done during slow periods for the contractor.

Getting ready to buy or sell a home?  Visit ComFree.com today to see how we can help!


Tony Shlacter is a Pomona College graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English. In his free time, he enjoys writing, playing basketball and rock climbing. Heaps of thanks to painters from El Gato Painting for helping with the content for this article.

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