5 Potential Wood Types Suitable for Outdoor Applications

Are you thinking about updating or redesigning your home’s outdoor space to make it more functional? Then you’ll need durable and attractive wood.

Natural wood can add texture and warmth to outdoor spaces like patios and decks. But with so many types available, it can be difficult to choose the right option.

And while some woods can be used outdoors, others don’t stand up well to external elements. That’s why it’s important to know the differences between them to make the right choice.

To help you decide, let’s explore some of the most popular wood species used in outdoor spaces.

Best Types of Wood for Outdoor Living Spaces

The following wood species are suitable for outdoor applications.

1. Acacia

This fairly durable and thick hardwood is abundant which makes it an affordable option. Its environmental impact is also minimal as it’s a fast-growing hardwood that can be replenished faster than many other varieties.

Since acacia has a high oil content, it is resistant to insects and rot. It also prevents water from being absorbed, making it suitable for outdoor applications. When this type of hardwood flooring is sealed, it gets a dark, rich golden-brown colour. Failing to seal it as soon as it’s installed can result in the material absorbing moisture.

2. Ipe

This tropical hardwood grows in South and Central America and is great for outdoor projects like flooring for porches and decks. The material is dense and sturdy enough to resist cracking, decay, and warping, even after years of use. Its extractives and oil content makes it resistant to fungi and insects. Even left untreated, it can last as long as 40 years without showing signs of decay. Furthermore, its density makes it virtually impervious to foot traffic and denting.

3. Tamarack

This softwood belonging to the Pinaceae family has coarsely-textured spiral grains that are slightly oily, making it somewhat waxy to the touch. Tamarack flooring is resistant to compression and bending owing to its density and has a high level of elasticity that is often compared to hardwood.

Moreover, the trees are easy to saw and dry, although the latter takes time. They loses their needles in autumn, making them easier to distinguish than other varieties in winter and can be found all over Canada. Its earlywood and latewood have lighter and darker tones, respectively, creating a lovely striped pattern.

4. Teak

Teak is another hardwood species suitable for outdoor living as it’s dense and rot-resistant. It has a straight-grained appearance that doesn’t crack or warp over time. Instead, the planks darken and offer a richer appearance as they age. So, if you are looking for hardwood flooring in Canada for your outdoor space, this is another great option.

Teak also contains natural oils and extractives that protect it against insects and moisture. Furthermore, it provides superior stability than other wood species in that it doesn’t expand or contract with changes in temperature and humidity. Less swelling and shrinking means your planks are less likely to crack over time, which can lead to moisture accumulation that may damage the wood. This is because excessive moisture makes wooden planks susceptible to mould, mildew, and fungi, and attracts insects. However, teak does require periodic sealing (at least once a year) so make sure you consider maintenance before choosing it.

5. Cedar

Cedar is popularly used for decks owing to its moisture resistance and durability. While a softwood, it can resist insect infestation and rot fairly well compared to other species. Another key quality is that the moisture content can change according to the atmosphere it’s used in, making it suitable for areas prone to colder temperatures and freezing. Moreover, the wood won’t crack or warp.

Cedar can be stained according to your liking, giving you numerous options. On average, it lasts about 15 to 20 years when looked after properly. However, you may need to pressure wash it from time to time and stain or refinish it every two to three years to maintain its beauty.

Your home’s outdoor spaces will of course be exposed to the elements, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a variety of wood species with which you can work. This list should help you get started with your research. Now that you have the necessary information, hopefully, you will make the right choice for your living space.

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