Decks, Gazebos and Pergolas
Selecting Softwoods for the Rocky Mountains
Pine vs. Cedar Wood Decking
For many homeowners, outdoor living spaces often bridge the homes interior and exterior. Some examples include fire pits, outdoor kitchens, sunrooms, and areas around pools and natural features.
Many of the homeowners utilize outdoor features such as decks, gondolas and pergolas; luckily, there are no shortages of options when it comes to wood decking material and creative ideas. Things to be considered for wood decks include cost, beauty and durability of the type of wood. We’ll talk about softwoods here.
Softwood comes from faster growing coniferous trees. Just like hardwoods, softwood is naturally attractive and comes in many patterns and colors that look great for decks. It fits just about every home design styles. Wood is also accessible – you can find many wood types locally including pre-cut and assembled items like stairs and railings.
However, when it comes to building your substructure (posts, beams and joists), pressure-treated lumber is the most commonly used material because of its strength and affordability.
So you have many options for the softwood decking. Here are some examples of types of wood more commonly used.
Pressure Treated Wood Decking
Benefits include: Is the most affordable in the short term, resistant to rot, making it one of the more popular choices for decking. However it has a shorter lifespan as it becomes more susceptible to warping, cracking, and splitting.
To slow down the aging process annual maintenance is necessary to keep it looking nice, while improving its ability to stand up to outdoor conditions here in Summit County, the two most popular type of wood are pine and Douglas fir. Maintenance may include a scrubbing, power washing staining or sealing.
With its natural beauty and colors, it resists rot and insect damage better than most other wood softwoods. However, cedar is a softwood, and is prone to splinters and cracks so regular maintenance is necessary to prolong its life and reduce splitting. The lifespan of cedar decking can be 15-20 years if the wood is taken care of correctly, which includes pressure washing yearly and refinishing/staining every two to three years.
This is another inexpensive option that’s also easy to work with and install. This type of decking is often pressure treated before kiln-drying to make it more resistant to warping. It’s often much lighter, so a great choice when working on ladders.
Benefits of softwood decking include:
- Affordable type of decking material
- Great value for money
- Strength and durability
- Easily available in several types of wood
- Boards are often pressure treated and/or kiln dried
- Can be stained in a wide variety of colors
- Cut from coniferous trees which are quicker growing and therefore more economical
- Come in a variety of patterns