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· Registered
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi again. Here comes project three of my home and thanks for the help with the others. I know there are other posts that touch on this topic, but I was hoping to get one a little more specific.

I am looking to put a new set of stairs to my entry way of my home. I began looking at composite 5/4x6 boards as the top layer, but after reading a lot of posts on this site and others I really don't think that I will be going with composite any more. Unless someone can tell me differently.??

So I have changed my focus to real wood for the front steps. Pressure treated for all of the under body - joists, beams, ledger, etc. - but I am still trying to figure out the best type of wood for the actual boards one would walk on. It seems to be cedar. Is this the only wood that I can use? I also read about Ipe, but am unsure on the total cost for something exotic like this. Looks sweet though in some finished photos that I saw and it seems to last 25+ years, which I like.

The structure will only be 8 foot by 6 foot and only a total of 20 inches off of the ground to try to paint the picture in you minds, and that includes two steps.

So any advice on a species of wood that it durable, long lasting, allows for me to stain/paint whatever color/shade, would be very helpful. Trying to go for the combo of durability and also looks, so I would like to avoid the green tint of the pressure treated boards for the top layer if possible unless one can stain over this and have it still look good.

Also, any directions to some care instructions would be helpful also to take into account note only the upfront but the on going care needed as well. This was the draw at first to the composites in that they were "low maintainence" but after reading I figured this really wasn't the case. So with the wood, would it need to be stained each year, every other, etc.?

I am a MN resident so the temps swing from a balmy 40 degrees below zero in the winter to hot and humid in the summer, probably 90 degree days on occassion.

Thanks for all the help.

· Civil Engineer
5,832 Posts
I built my deck out of Ipe. The cost was $1.50 per lineal foot for 1x4x8 ft stock, which is comparable to cedar in my area. Ipe is much harder, a lot stronger, and stiffer. Also harder to drill, and impossible to glue. If you can get ipe at a reasonable price in your area, it is a good option. Cedar will last a long time, but it is on the soft side for steps, in my opinion.

· Stairguy
737 Posts
There is also mahogany. Its cheaper than ipe but more durable than cedar. With most hardwood decking, it is good to seal every 2 years. Here is a link of everything you need to know about ipe decking. There is also other available hardwoods to consider here. One more this to consider is solid pvc or pvc with a composite core. These are much better than regular composites and hence the higher price. personally I like wood. I like the feel and I like the more natural look of wood.
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