LESLIE: Billy in Texas is on the line with some deck-building questions. What can we do for you today?
BILLY: My question is what wood should I build it out of to last longer: redwood, the treated timber or – I don’t know. I’ve had buddies tell me I needed to go with the Louisiana wood that they …
TOM: Yeah. I mean your options are treated wood, a decay- or disease-resistant wood like redwood or cedar or a composite. You wouldn’t use untreated wood because it would rot quickly.
But here’s the thing: if you like real natural-looking wood, then there’s no reason not to use treated wood. If you want to step it up a little bit, you could use redwood or cedar; it’s going to be an expensive upgrade. But no matter what kind of wood you use, you will have to treat it. Because even if you use redwood or cedar, if you don’t put a seal or a stain on there, it’s going to fade because of the sun and it’s going to splinter and break down and crack. So if you’re going to go with wood, you’re going to have to use a solid-color stain on there to make sure it’s preserved.
Now, the other option – what you didn’t mention – is composite. And if you go with composite decking, then there’s really almost no maintenance that you have to do to it. Sometimes it gets a little dirty and has to be scrubbed but it doesn’t crack, it doesn’t check, it doesn’t twist. It’s always comfortable under bare feet. It’s going to be a little more expensive but when you add up the cost of the wood and the maintenance and the stain and all of that, maybe …
LESLIE: And the physical cost of actually doing the maintenance.
TOM: That’s right. Maybe not so much.
So, those would be the pros and cons of going with wood versus composite. But if you want something that’s not going to have a lot of maintenance headaches and it’s going to last a long time, I would definitely go with composite.
Billy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.