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PATIO DECK MATERIALS

Decks and fences can be made from different materials.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of some of them.


WESTERN RED CEDAR

For centuries, carpenters and craftsmen valued Western Red Cedar for its natural beauty and durability. The red cedar we use is from Western Canada, where logging is regulated to ensure the resource is sustained.

Western Red cedar is popular most of all for its appearance and durability. Its fine, straight grain, outstanding strength/weight ratio and low rate of expansion and contraction make it a much sought-after species. It is an environmentally-friendly product since it does not need to be treated. Red cedar contains natural oils that make it resistant to moisture, insects and decay. As well, it is highly resistant to warping and cracking.

Advantages :

  • A natural product that resists decay, mold and insect damage, it does not require chemical treatment.
  • Lifespan of more than 25 years in exterior construction.
  • Resistant to cracking and warping.
  • Fine, uniform grain.
  • Light and easy to work with.
  • Centuries of proven performance in construction.
  • Easy to clean off food, grease and liquid stains.
  • Low expansion and contraction.
  • Does not heat up in the summer.
  • Pleasant fragrance.
  • Warm colours ranging from pale amber to honey brown.
  • Exceptional strength/weight ratio.
  • Natural beauty, without equal.
  • Renewable material.
  • Very low environmental impact. (see study no. 1, see study no. 2)


Disadvantages :

  • More expensive than treated wood.
  • Stain must be applied every three to five years.



western red cedar decking

TREATED WOOD

Woods such as pine, fir and spruce are commonly pressure-treated with alkaline copper quaternary, a chemical preservative that prolongs the lifespan of wood used in exterior construction.

Advantages :

  • Less expensive than red cedar.
  • Outdoor lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
  • Used primarily in deck structural supports and the manufacture of low-cost fencing.
  • Easy to clean off food, grease and liquid stains.
  • Renewable material.


Disadvantages :

  • Splintering and cracking while drying after installation, most commonly with fir and spruce.
  • Frequent warping caused by its large and non-uniform grain.
  • Since 2004, treated wood contains new chemical products whose long-term toxicity and environmental effects are unknown.
  • Stain must be applied every three to five years.



pressure treated wood decking

POLYMERS AND SYNTHETIC COMPOSITES

Manufactured from various combinations of waste wood fibres, recycled plastic and artificial polymers, composites and synthetic polymers have become very popular in the last 10 years.

Advantages :

  • Outdoor lifespan of more than 25 years.
  • Less cracking and warping than wood.
  • Uses recycled products.
  • High resistance to decay and insect damage.
  • No staining is required.

Disadvantages :

  • Approximately double the price of red cedar.
  • Non-biodegradable, accumulates in dumps and landfills after use.
  • Contains non-renewable materials.
  • Difficult to clean off food, grease and liquid stains.
  • Mold spots tend to occur due to accumulation of humidity in wood fibres, enveloped by synthetic polymers. (see examples)
  • Cannot be used as structural material due to its weak strength/weight ratio. For this reason treated wood is normally used as supporting material.
  • Many supporting beams are needed to compensate for the material’s structural weakness.
  • Joints commonly open and close from expansion and contraction of wooden structure according to humidity and temperature.
  • Ultraviolet light changes material’s colours, and material cannot be dyed or stained.
  • High environmental impact. (see study)

Please note that Patios et Clôtures Beaulieu no longer uses composite materials or synthetic polymers in its decks and fences. We believe that their disadvantages and environmental impacts are too great, and therefore do not suit our business vision.

composite and synthetic polymer decking

(COMING SOON) EXOTIC WOOD