Keeping Your Carpets and Floors Clean

How to Choose the Right Timber for Your Home's Decking

Creating your own deck begins with the right timber decking materials, as no amount of work to seal or secure your deck slats and boards will compensate for poor-quality lumber that is likely to warp or that is likely to soon rot. Different timber species are also more durable against nicks and chips than others. Because the timber you select is so important, note a few tips on how to choose the best type for your home's deck and what to look for when at the lumberyard.

Pressure treated

Pressure-treated lumber will have a preservative added to it to give the boards strength and to protect them from rot, water damage, and softening over the years. Pressure-treated lumber will be marked according to the amount of preservative added to the wood; for rainy areas or for decking that will skim wet grass, you want the highest amount of preservative.

However, these measurements can be tricky, as they may be listed as below grade and above grade. You might assume that above-grade means something superior, as if it has a higher grade or rating. In truth, this refers to the grade or surface of the soil; above-grade lumber will have the lowest amount of preservative, as it's meant to be installed well above the ground. Below-grade lumber doesn't have a low rating, as if it's inferior quality, but will have more preservative added, so it can be used on or in the ground itself. For a deck that sits right on the ground or skims the grass or soil, choose below-grade lumber.

Dry wood

Be sure you only buy wood that is very dry. Wet wood weighs more than dry wood, so it may be more difficult to manage its installation on your own, and wet wood will also eventually dry out, especially after being exposed to direct sunlight. In turn, the timber may start to shrink, and gaps may form between the deck slats.


Exotic hardwoods like bamboo and teak are very dense and difficult to cut and fabricate on your own; if you want to choose these woods, select boards, joists, and other pieces that are already cut to size. A deck kit can also be a good option. Softwoods are easier to fabricate, but also easier to dent and ding, so be gentle on the deck's surface if you opt for pine and other such standard softwoods that are commonly used for decks.