A Guide to Different Decking Materials, their Maintenance & Life Span

A well-designed deck can transform your outdoor space into a captivating and functional extension of your home. When it comes to choosing the right decking wood, there are several factors to consider, including durability, maintenance requirements, and life span. In this blog post, we will delve into different types of decking woods, their unique characteristics, maintenance tips, and the expected life span of each wood type, equipping you with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision for your deck project.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is one of the most common choices for decking due to its affordability and resistance to rot, decay, and insect infestation. It undergoes a treatment process where chemicals are forced into the wood fibres, enhancing its durability and resistance to the elements. This treatment creates a barrier against moisture, prolonging the life of the wood. However, pressure-treated wood requires regular maintenance, such as staining or sealing, to protect it from UV rays and maintain its appearance. With proper care, a pressure-treated wood deck can last around 15 to 20 years.

Cedar Wood

Cedar wood is renowned for its natural beauty, rich colour variations, and natural resistance to rot and insects. It possesses natural oils that act as preservatives, making it more resistant to decay and moisture damage. Cedar decks have a pleasant aroma and are generally more stable than other softwoods. To maintain its appearance and longevity, cedar wood decks require regular maintenance, including cleaning, staining, and sealing. With proper care, a cedar wood deck can last approximately 20 to 25 years.


Redwood is another popular choice for decking due to its exceptional durability, natural beauty, and resistance to rot and insects. It has a distinct reddish-brown colour that adds warmth and elegance to any outdoor space. Redwood contains natural tannins and oils that contribute to its resistance to decay and insect infestation. Similar to cedar, redwood decks require regular cleaning and protective treatments to preserve their appearance and extend their life span. With proper maintenance, a redwood deck can last anywhere from 25 to 30 years.

Tropical Hardwoods

Tropical hardwoods, such as Ipe, Tigerwood, and Cumaru, are renowned for their exceptional durability, density, and natural resistance to rot, decay, and insects. These woods originate from dense forests in tropical regions and are highly sought after for their longevity and beauty. They exhibit incredible strength and can withstand heavy foot traffic and harsh weather conditions. One of the key advantages of Ipe decking Toronto and other tropical hardwoods is their minimal maintenance requirements. Usually, periodic cleaning and the application of a protective oil finish are sufficient to preserve their natural beauty. With proper maintenance, tropical hardwood decks can last well over 30 years, even up to 50 years or more.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is a synthetic material composed of a blend of wood fibres and recycled plastic. It offers the look of natural wood without the maintenance requirements. Composite decks are highly resistant to rot, insects, and fading, and they require minimal maintenance, typically limited to regular cleaning. The life span of composite decking can vary depending on the brand and quality, but it is generally expected to last around 25 to 30 years or more.

Maintenance Tips for Decking Woods

Regardless of the type of decking wood you choose, proper maintenance is essential to prolong its life span and preserve its beauty. Here are some additional maintenance tips to keep in mind:

1. Regular Cleaning: Sweep away debris and clean the deck surface regularly to prevent dirt buildup, which can lead to discoloration and mould growth.

2. Staining or Sealing: Apply a protective stain or sealant to shield the wood from moisture, UV rays, and other environmental factors. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the frequency of staining or sealing.

3. Preventative Measures: Use mats or furniture pads to protect the deck surface from scratches caused by heavy furniture or foot traffic.

4. Inspect for Damage: Conduct regular inspections to identify any signs of damage, such as loose boards, protruding nails, or rot. Promptly address any issues to prevent further deterioration.

5. Maintain Proper Drainage: Ensure proper water drainage from the deck to prevent water pooling, which can lead to wood rot.

6. Avoid Harsh Cleaners: Use mild, environmentally-friendly cleaners when cleaning your deck to avoid damaging the wood fibres.

By following these maintenance tips and considering the unique characteristics and life span of different decking woods, you can make an informed choice that suits your budget, aesthetic preferences, and long-term maintenance capabilities.

Remember, selecting the right decking wood is just the first step. Regular maintenance and care will help extend the life of your deck, allowing you to enjoy its beauty and functionality for many years to come.

At Tropical Forest Products, we are dedicated to providing our customers with a wide range of exotic and domestic wood species, catering to both premium architectural-grade lumber and everyday project requirements. Our commitment to exceptional milling capacity allows us to offer value-added services, assisting customers with projects of any scale. From the everyday needs of lumber yards to custom-built large-scale projects, we are equipped to handle any job with expertise and professionalism.

By choosing our brand, you can trust that you’re investing in high-quality materials and receiving comprehensive support for your decking project. We understand the importance of selecting the right decking wood and maintaining it properly for long-lasting beauty and functionality. With our expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction, you can confidently create a captivating and functional outdoor space that will be enjoyed for years to come.

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