If you don't think that wood decking can be a low maintenance decking material, please read on. Wood decking is an all natural, renewable resource - and some species can truly be a low maintenance real wood decking option. When outdoor wood is exposed to the direct UV rays a chemical reaction occurs. Some wood decking species can take the punishment for decades. Most other woods cannot. See more here.
High density tropical hardwoods like Ipe, Jatoba, Garapa, Machiche and Cumaru are in a class of their own. These tropical wood species grow very quickly and their high density makes them very resistant to outdoor weather punishment. The top surface of decking materials oxidizes when exposed to direct sunlight. The ultraviolet rays from the sun cause chemical reactions in the woods that start the natural "graying process" that all wood decking materials experience.
With softwood decking, the UV damage over time can be devastating. Most softwood decking will rot over time if they are not refinished. With high density hardwood decking you do not have to refinish your decking. It's totally an appearance option whether or not you want to re-finish. The same ultraviolet rays cause synthetic decking surfaces (composite decking and plastic decking) to fade out and become chalky and dull in appearance.
We did a real test with different decking materials to see how long they would last without refinishing. Please see for yourself what happens to high density hardwood decking species Ipe:
If you are a naturalist and simply love the charm and beauty of real wood products, there are low maintenance wood decking materials available to you. Softwood decking materials (such as fir decking, cedar decking, treated pine decking) have a tendency to split, check and crack and require annual or biannual painting, sealing or staining to keep them in good repair and prevent them from rotting. Compare low maintenance Cumaru hardwood to other wood decking materials
High density hardwood decking can be a true low maintenance wood decking material. The same natural characteristics that make high density hardwood decking long lasting, stable and incredibly strong protect the surface from deterioration. With high density hardwood decking materials, the oxidation (natural silvering) is only "skin deep". To minimize this appearance, a penetrating oil can be applied to the surface of the deck boards every year or two to keep the hardwood deck looking like furniture. If you like the look of the natural silvery patina, then simply allow the high density decking to develop this mellow appearance. More information about the low maintenance hardwood decking option.
If you have a problem with your decking such as a pet scratches or furniture gouges or oxidation or a cigar or cigarette burn, high density hardwood decking can be sanded.to a "like new" finish. You just have to learn to live with these imperfections with a composite decking or plastic decking material. Many consumers are hypnotized by the "low maintenance, low fade" advertising claims of many of the composite decking material manufacturers. Please read the fine print of the limited warranties of the various brands of composite decking before making your final decision about decking material. Compare low maintenance Garapa hardwood decking to composite decking. Compare low maintenance Cumaru hardwood decking to synthetic decking.
Please don't let anyone tell you otherwise...All decking materials require some maintenance. As a bare minimum, all decking materials should be thoroughly cleaned at least once every year, or more often if needed. While there may be no "perfect decking material", there certainly are decking materials that are lower maintenance than others. High density hardwood decking species are the low maintenance wood decking materials of choice. The best high density hardwood decking materials available are Ipe decking, Cumaru decking, Garapa decking and Machiche decking.
If you would like to learn a little more about decking material options click the link- more information about choosing the right decking materials.
For a comprehensive whitepaper about selecting the decking material that is just right for you, please download "The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Right Decking Material"