When you’re constructing a deck or building outdoor furniture for your backyard, you want to make sure you choose a wood that can stand up to the elements.  While many people go straight to treated yellow pine for outdoor projects (it is the cheapest and most common option), there are plenty of wood species that hold up at least as well even when left untreated.  Here are a few woods to consider for your next outdoor project.

Ipe

This tropical hardwood from Central and South America makes an excellent choice for outdoor projects, including decking.  Ipe is very hard and dense and resists warping, cracking, and decay extremely well.  Its oil and extractive content makes it highly resistant to insects and fungi, and untreated ipe can last up to 40 years outdoors.  Its density makes it fairly impervious to denting and foot traffic, but also hard to cut. learn more

Teak

This has always been a popular choice for boat building, teak is another good candidate for outdoor applications.  Teak is prized for its beauty as well as its durability outdoors, and you can expect to pay a premium for it.  Teak’s high stability means it won’t shrink or expand much with changes in humidity, and its natural oils and extractives repel water and deter insects.  Unlike ipe, teak works easily.  We stock only teak from sustainable sources. learn more

African Mahogany

Less expensive than teak but more expensive than ipe, African mahogany is another top of the line choice for outdoor applications.  African mahogany is a durable hardwood that resists decay, infestation, and warping and is easy to work.  Left untreated, its durability will endure a very long time, but its beautiful reddish color will fade to gray. learn more

VG Fir

Vertical Grain (VG) Fir has been a traditional choice for porches for over a century due to its wide availability and durability, both of which still make it a good choice today. VG fir is quite dimensionally stable, so it expands and contracts evenly and is unlikely to warp.  Naturally resistant to decay and insects, VG fir can last 10-15 years outdoors untreated, and is an affordable choice. learn more

Cypress

Cypress trees make cypressene, a naturally occurring preservative oil. It makes cypress heartwood resistant to insects, decay, chemical corrosion and other damaging elements. People who work with cypress on a regular basis say the wood’s natural durability is a plus for exterior applications, including fence posts, shingles, clapboards, exterior trim, shutters, window boxes, and landscape design elements. learn more

Tali

Tali, sometimes called Sasswood (formal name: Erythrophleum suaveolens), is a plentiful and sustainable wood from Central and West Africa. Tali Decking is a durable, stable, long-lasting outdoor decking product imported from Africa. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to Ipe and Cumari and is the preferred decking choice in many European countries. Tali has an appealing mahogany-like grain character. The structure of the wood is very uniform without any distinctive markings. learn more

Thermally Modified Wood

Thermally modified wood comes in many species – poplar, ash, sweet gum, and more. When hardwood is thermally modified, the process permanently alters the wood’s chemical and physical properties when temperatures over 400˚F are reached. The thermal modification process reduces the equilibrium wood moisture content down to a very low range of 5-6% and also makes the wood durable for outdoor use since it no longer absorbs water after treatment. learn more