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Old 02-19-2009, 10:20 AM   #1
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Outdoor Structures - which is best material?


What is the best type of building material to use for decking, fences, gazebos, etc.? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages?

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Old 02-19-2009, 01:58 PM   #2
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Outdoor Structures - which is best material?


At the low end, ACQ treated lumber. It will last for years, but won't look good for more than several years depending on weather exposure. Any weather-exposed framing will be pressure treated, and can be concealed with non-structural lumber for good appearance.

In the middle is Cedar. It costs more than ACQ treated does. It is much nicer looking and will stay that way much longer with maintenance. Nicer fences are usually cedar, cheaper ones are treated lumber.

At the high end are various composite materials (Trex, CorrectDeck, etc). They're expensive. Some are junk, some are nice. Some fade, some dont. To me they all look like plastic wood. There are a lot of complaints and lawsuits having to do with many of these brands not meeting peoples' long-term expectations.

Another high-end option for decks and similar projects is Ipe, Tigerwood, and similar South American hardwood decking. Ipe is a long-term product that is incredibly weather resistant. They used to use it on the decks of battleships, and it is in use on Ellis Island, various famous seaside boardwalks, etc. It will turn grayish if left untreated, and looks a lot like mahogany depending on the stain used.

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Old 02-19-2009, 06:40 PM   #3
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Outdoor Structures - which is best material?


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
At the low end, ACQ treated lumber. It will last for years, but won't look good for more than several years depending on weather exposure. Any weather-exposed framing will be pressure treated, and can be concealed with non-structural lumber for good appearance.

In the middle is Cedar. It costs more than ACQ treated does. It is much nicer looking and will stay that way much longer with maintenance. Nicer fences are usually cedar, cheaper ones are treated lumber.

At the high end are various composite materials (Trex, CorrectDeck, etc). They're expensive. Some are junk, some are nice. Some fade, some dont. To me they all look like plastic wood. There are a lot of complaints and lawsuits having to do with many of these brands not meeting peoples' long-term expectations.

Another high-end option for decks and similar projects is Ipe, Tigerwood, and similar South American hardwood decking. Ipe is a long-term product that is incredibly weather resistant. They used to use it on the decks of battleships, and it is in use on Ellis Island, various famous seaside boardwalks, etc. It will turn grayish if left untreated, and looks a lot like mahogany depending on the stain used.
Here is a combo of all of those...ACQ, IPE, CEDAR, although here Cedar is much more expensive than most composites.
Cedar - pergola & siding
IPE - decking
ACQ - for all framing
AZEK - (composite) for all the trim



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