I recently had the opportunity to visit the beautiful redwood forests of California with my family. Viewing these incredibly tall and majestic trees got me thinking about why redwoods make one of the best deck building materials.
I often recommend redwood decks to my clients, because redwood lumber is highly resistant to insects and fungi and is also well-known for its higher-than-average longevity.
There are hundreds of different insects that feed on wood. Common woods used in decking like oak and pine are high susceptible to most of these creatures, especially termites which are responsible for billions of dollars of structural damage in the United States each year (see my previous blog post on decks and termites).
Amazingly, redwood lumber has shown a consistent resistance to termite and other insect attacks. The reason is thought to be the presence of a chemical known as tannin in redwoods. Tannin is what gives the redwood its reddish pigment. Termites and other insects seem to be repelled by tannin, making a redwood deck a great bet when termite season comes around.
The high percentage of tannin contained in redwood lumber is also thought to make it resistant to fungus, another enemy of decks everywhere. Fungi feed on wood, causing it to slowly decay if the fungus infection is not caught in time. Once fungus starts to spread, it can mean the end of your deck.
With its natural resistance to fungus, a redwood deck gives its owner one less thing to worry about.
Because wood is a natural, organic substance, it will break down over time, no matter how well you care for it. Redwood lumber, however, is one of the longest-lasting wood species in my experience. The same properties that help it repel insects and fungus mean that it will usually outlast many other types of wood.
Redwood lumber is the perfect material for a homeowner looking to build a high-quality deck that will last for decades to come (assuming that the homeowner gives their deck the proper maintenance and care).
So, in summary, I like building with redwood a lot. Not only does it make a great decking material for all the reasons I listed above, but it is also a handsome-looking wood that will provide pleasing ascetic results as well.
Also, if you get a chance, I highly recommend visiting the redwood forests. It will remind you of the natural beauty of our country.