Redwood Decking

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Redwood decking comes in different grades. Each grade has its own price range as well as recommended uses. The most expensive grades are architectural grades, while garden grades are less expensive and very good for building decks. The part of the redwood tree used for outdoor deck construction is heartwood (sometimes called "all heartwood"). Heartwood is the inner core of the tree.

As opposed to sapwood, which is still living and growing, heartwood is composed of non-living wood cells. Because these cells are dead, heartwood is the portion of the tree that's the hardest, most durable, and most resistant to insects and water rot. It is also the most physically perfect part of the tree, making it easier to work with. Even though it may be garden grade, however, heartwood is still the more expensive part of the wood.

Redwood Decking and Budgeting Tips

For this reason, when building your deck, you don't want to waste money by using expensive wood inappropriately. Heartwood is most appropriate for construction of deck parts that come into direct contact with the ground. Ground soil, with its constant moisture, can destroy less durable and less water resistant woods.

Other parts of the deck can be constructed with other parts of the redwood tree without sacrificing quality or stability. For instance, the upper deck boards can be cut from cheaper sapwood rather than heartwood. The reason is because, well off the ground, sapwood boards won't be exposed to constant contact with damp earth and the bugs that go with it. Yet they will still be hard and durable enough for their purpose.

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