The Best Decking Materials for Your Rooftop Deck ProjectWritten by Liza Sivek on
When you are building a rooftop deck, your most important considerations might be strength and longevity. And, of course, a beautiful finished deck! Hardwood decking materials such as Ipe wood, Machiche wood decking, Garapa wood, and other hardwoods perform in all three categories. While there are plenty of synthetic decking materials to choose from, they don’t always stand up to the onslaught of UV rays, weather conditions and other elements that a roof deck is exposed to every day. Hardwood decking performs in rooftop deck areas naturally and beautifully.
Ipe Wood is the star of this rooftop deck and pergola in Boston, MA.
Why Hardwood Decking over Composite Decking?
Composite decking is a mixture of sawdust and plastic that is pressurized and extruded into decking boards. Composite decking materials are available in many colors and often look very nice at first. However, over a short period of time on the punishing conditions of a rooftop deck, composites and other synthetic decking materials tend to 'ugly out' rather quickly. And there's not a whole lot you can do to change their appearance. Composite decking cannot be sanded or refinished. It is what it is.
On the other hand, with high performance hardwood decking materials, you have options. Hardwood rooftop decking can stay beautiful for as long as you wish. if you want hardwood decking to look like new, you can oil it up as needed. Or, you can allow it top silver out naturally, and still look beautiful.
With naturally high density and amazing strength, exotic hardwood decking materials boast an inherently high resistance to rot, mold, and even insect damage. This means no worries about regular repairs or high maintenance to maintain the deck and its good looks. Unlike composite and synthetic decking, the performance of high density hardwood decking is "grown" in with excellent resistance to the elements, naturally.
Architects and home designers like the deck design flexibility of wood decking. Natural wood can be used for the deck surface, the railings, planters, overhangs, and even built-in furniture. Mataverde hardwood decking can be used in long lengths, patterns, and architectural features that synthetics can't match.
An Ipe rooftop deck created with multilevel built-in seating, walls, planters, and a pergola to form a gorgeous urban escape above New York City.
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A Low Maintenance Rooftop Decking Option
Wanting the “just installed" wood look to last? Since rooftop decks are up high, with very little shade, there is a higher amount of UV exposure bearing down on it all day, every day. Protect your deck surface from the elements with an initial coat of Penofin Oil Based UV Protectant, or a similar product. This oil finish is designed to block the UV rays and minimize the damage from harmful UV exposure. It can be easily reapplied as needed.
Alternatively, if you prefer the silver-gray patina as many do, all hardwoods can be allowed to “silver out” in the sun without degrading their strength or durability. Simply do not reapply the UV protectant after installation and allow the decking to weather gracefully on its own.
A weathered FSC Certified Machiche wood deck is still as strong as it is beautiful over the Bay Area.
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All decking materials need to be cleaned regularly to maintain their good looks.
- With composite decking materials on a rooftop deck, your only option is to clean your deck as needed. Composite decking cannot be refinished or sanded. When composite decking starts to fade or degrade, your options are limited to covering it up or replacing it at the end of its lifecycle.
- When using softwoods and pressure treated wood decking, the UV rays will gray the surface but will also damage it unless annually stained, painted or sealed. Hardwoods will retain their amazing strength after turning silver, without applying any additional product. And without the cupping, checking, or splitting that plagues softer wood decking materials as they weather.
- All hardwood decking needs is a quick cleaning when desired. This makes the” grayed out” hardwood deck the lowest maintenance option, an option not found in softwood or synthetic wood decking material.
An Easier, More Durable Rooftop Deck Installation
When combined with the Mataverde Eurotec Rooftop Deck System, any of these decking materials are easier and faster to install. The Eurotec deck system uses adjustable rooftop deck pedestals to follow roof slope or height changes easily. This ensures adequate drainage under your deck and the spacing allows your deck boards to "breathe". Since the Eurotec system uses aluminum rails instead of wood, it prevents potential threats to your rooftop deck underneath the surface like water damage, warping, and rot.
A Eurotec rooftop deck in progress: Aluminum rails and adjustable rooftop deck pedestals readied for a hardwood deck install.
When deciding on rooftop decking, here are the top wood decking materials to think about:
Ipe Wood Rooftop Decking
- Highest rated hardwood for durability, strength and longevity, Ipe is the standard other woods are compared to.
- Excellent for high traffic rooftop decks.
- Assessed and proven to last without degrading quality up to 20 years (or more) with extraordinarily little maintenance.
- Beautiful light brown to deep brown shades with a variety of graining.
- It can be allowed to age to a mellow silver-gray patina without losing the exotic patterns.
Mataverde Ipe Wood decking out performs all other wood decking naturally and is the densest wood available. Highly resistant to scratching or gouging, it is perfect for rooftop decks used frequently or for large gatherings.
Ipe wood decking was placed on angles for visual interest, and showcases the natural beauty of the decking material.
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FSC Certified Machiche Wood Rooftop Decking
- Machiche decking is a ‘hidden gem” hardwood rooftop decking material.
- A lower price point than Ipe decking.
- Rated at 80% of Ipe hardness, which is equivalent to two times the strength of oak.
- Machiche has a higher bending strength than Ipe.
- Mataverde Machiche is FSC® Certified to be a sustainably harvested material.
- High resistance to rot, mold, and insects.
- Beautiful light to dark reddish-brown shades with beautiful graining.
- Can age to a silver-gray patina and keep its good looks.
FSC Certified hardwood decking is frequently requested by architects and property owners in rooftop deck projects. Mataverde FSC Machiche decking can fulfill that request and give you benefits comparable to Ipe wood. And yes, Machiche is a lower price point than Ipe but performs just as well. It is scratch resistant, splinter resistant, and will not “ugly out” with checking and cupping in extreme weather.
The freshly installed look of Machiche on the Bay Area rooftop deck. This deck was planned to silver out, as shown earlier. Or you can choose to easily maintain the "like new" colors in your project.
Machiche’s light chocolaty brown to dark reddish-brown shades are a popular look for a rooftop deck. The shades are a pretty contrast underfoot and Machiche has very exotic figuring that stands out in a finished deck. Machiche can also naturally age to a silver patina, if you chose. Or maintain as needed with a coat of Penofin UV oil protectant to keep its natural colors.
Cumaru Wood Rooftop Decking
- Very resistant to rot, mold, and insect damage.
- Resistant to checking, and scratching.
- A popular choice for at a mid-range hardwood price point with many of the durable features of Ipe.
- Beautiful light to dark brown shades with a variety of elegant figuring.
- Can age to a silver-gray patina keeping the subtle graining and good looks.
Architects and deck designers choose Mataverde Cumaru decking for its attractive light to medium to darker brown wood shades. The grain and figuring are sophisticated and gorgeous. And it is as strong as it is handsome: Cumaru will not dull and scratch from use and it can sustain years of extreme weather like storms and strong UV without checking or cupping.
A magnificent city-edge oasis created with welcoming, natural wood. A rooftop living space with outdoor kitchen, pool deck, railings, and soffits, all made with Cumaru.
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Garapa Wood Rooftop Decking
- Garapa is a very affordable hardwood option for your rooftop deck project.
- A gorgeous range of light to golden brown shades with interesting figuring.
- Garapa has a soft grain in golden tones.
- Garapa decking is a popular choice when the designer or homeowner prefers a lighter color shade.
- A stronger and more stable option than softwoods and comparable in features to Ipe and Machiche.
- Can age to a silver-gray patina like the others without losing strength and durability.
Mataverde Garapa decking is often chosen by designers for projects that call for a natural hardwood longevity, but at a price point comparable to, or lower than, engineered and synthetic decking. The grain is soft and satiny, even if left to age to silver.
Why just design in straight, flat lines? This Garapa rooftop boasts modern multilevel benches and planters between meandering walkways.
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Could a hardwood decking material be the solution to your next rooftop deck project? Hardwood and Eurotec meet design and functionality in a rooftop deck project, with added longevity and benefits. If we can help get you started, contact our expert team today.
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