When having a deck built, you have no doubt taken some time to compare the different decking materials that are available to you. Many different types of natural and manufactured wood planks and posts are more suited for year round outdoor conditions than others.

Many homeowners will look for naturally stunning wood such as redwood for the aesthetics, while others will focus on the more budget friendly option of pressure treated lumber.

Both wood types offer excellent results when used for outdoor decking, but let’s compare them more closely and see which will last longer under normal outdoor use.

Pros and Cons of Pressure Treated Lumber

Pressure treated lumber, also called PT lumber, is the most common decking material found on the market today. It can also be the most affordable, and is easily found in almost all home improvement stores. This wood is commonly made from white pine that has been treated with a number of different chemicals to provide weather resistance and stability when used outdoors.

Due to the chemical treatment of this lumber, it is an excellent choice for decking and other outdoor build projects. It is also around 40% cheaper on average than redwood and other hardwoods, which means you can build a larger deck for the same or a lower price than if you used redwood.

When maintained properly by staining this wood in a quality outdoor wood stain, pressure treated lumber can last 30-40 years on average. Unmaintained wood will quickly start to splinter and may also warp and bend in the sun and rain.

Pros and Cons of Redwood Lumber

Redwood is an aesthetically pleasing choice when it comes to your deck. The wood is naturally rot and decay resistant, and can be very resistant to insect damage. Planks and posts made from redwood can also be much lighter than pressure treated lumber.

When properly maintained by coating your redwood deck in a fresh layer of deck stain every few years, the wood can last and look beautiful for 30 years or longer. If the natural red tone of this wood is too vibrant or dark for you, lighter shades of stain can be found to help lighten it up.

The biggest downside to redwood is that some lumber is sourced from old growth forests. The trees in these forests can be 100 years old or older, and cutting them down for lumber is damaging to the environment.

In order to enjoy natural redwood without harming the ecosystems from the areas where these forests are growing, look for redwood that is from sustainably managed forests and has the Forest Stewardship Council certification.

Which Lasts the Longest?

Both redwood and pressure treated lumber are excellent choices for outdoor decking. As far as their longevity goes, if stained every few years and given normal maintenance such as pressure washing to remove any mildew buildups in humid areas, both wood types can last for 30 years or more.

One of our dedicated deck builders in Berkeley can help you choose the right deck for your needs.