How Long Do Wood Decks Last?
According to Washington D.C. based consulting firm Webb Analytics, roughly one-quarter of US homes have at least one deck on their property, with wood products making up nearly 77% of all the decking materials used today. That’s a lot of lumber! It also demonstrates just how this most beautiful and natural of materials has captured our imagination (and our wallets and purses).
A question that comes up on a regular basis is how long do wood decks lasts and linked to this question is the cost of maintenance and what part sustainability plays.
So, this blog is dedicated to how long you can expect your wood deck to last and also how Accoya® Color can give you great value for money and peace of mind. In addition to Accoya we will look at the two main types of wood that are used for decking, that is, softwoods and hardwoods.
Why don’t wood decks last forever?
In one word, ‘biology’. We’re talking about natural wood decking here in this blog, not plastic composite materials. As wood is an organic product, it will be subject to the same laws of nature as everything else that’s natural. All wood rots and decays in time – this process can be put off through treatment but it’s true to say that the softer the wood, the faster it will decay and break down. The lumber that is used for installations becomes food for insects such as termites and also for fungi. The mold that we see on old wood is the by-product of fungi feeding off our property! This mold can in time weaken the structure and some types of allergenic mold can be unhealthy with allergic reactions and asthma being triggered in some cases.
Another issue that has to be factored in is ‘weathering’ – all timber silvers down in time as the sun’s UV rays take an effect and although this is often a cosmetic issue it needs to be considered in overall maintenance.
Durability is the key here – that is, how tough the wood is and how much it resists the attention paid to it by insects such as termites and by fungi.
What is the maintenance needed?
It all depends on the type of wood being installed and how rigorously the maintenance schedule is followed (even the best-intentioned homeowner can fall behind in maintenance). The average lifespan of a wood deck is between 10 to 15 years, but this will vary with regards to the type of wood used. Softwoods such as cedar and redwoods won’t last as long and should be pressure treated first. Hardwoods such as Ipe and mahogany are more expensive because they grow slower than softwoods and they are denser – their durability is naturally increased (but many hardwoods such as Ipe are now considered unsustainable from over use).
Typical maintenance activities include regular inspection of the surface and substructure, looking for joist issues or excess moisture. Regular sweeping of the surface and cleaning with a deck cleaning solution to kill mold and bacteria is recommended. Sanding is also sometimes needed.
Is there a natural wood product that takes away this pain for me?
Yes, it’s called Accoya® Color and this natural timber is supplied with a warranty against rot and decay! If you love a real wood deck, then Accoya is for you. It’s made from highly sustainable FSC®-sourced timber that starts out life as a fast-growing softwood and is then modified using a unique patented process called acetylation that turns the wood into Accoya. This is the ultimate in environmentally friendly timber as the material is 100% organic wood and all of it can be recycled at the end of its very long life.
Accoya Color is supplied in a beautiful grey color that comes from a non-toxic color pigment that has been examined by The Danish Technological Institute that confirms no toxic elements are used. The coloring goes all the way through the wood and there is no need for a surface coating which is a real bonus for homeowners who are time-poor.
Accoya Color is supplied with a warranty against rot and decay, even in-ground installations. This means that the timber is ideal for humid locations such as swimming pool surrounds. Accoya timber has been used for years without any rot and so is ideal for decking too.
It’s also ready to use ‘straight out of the box’ which means no expensive pre-installation treatments against termites or mold and very little need for annual maintenance programs (apart from the usual sweeping up of leaf litter, etc). As it’s a low maintenance deck material, it means that homeowners have peace of mind as to lower costs after installation and a reassuring lack of chemical treatments needed to keep it looking pristine.
Low maintenance, highly sustainable and long-lasting…Accoya Color definitely takes the pain away.
What is the Most Sustainable Decking Material?
We’re exploring the critical issue of what is the most sustainable decking material on the market. This topic is now front and center for everyone when they choose their building materials and we’ll talk about the most sustainable decking timber choice of all, the natural Accoya® Color wood.
Everyone loves the look and feel of a real wooden deck on their property.
Let’s face it, when talking real estate, nothing beats a beautiful outdoor deck in your yard. A professionally installed and properly maintained wooden deck can add real emotional and financial value to your property. The same is true of the wooden decks that are found in corporate settings, where ‘biophilic designs’ bring nature into our working lives, improving our wellbeing and (it’s claimed) our productivity.
Learn more about biophilic designs.
Once upon a time…
Decks throughout the US come in many forms, backyard, front porch, docks leading down to the river and so on. Redwood, Cedar and Ipe have been the traditional woods used in deck construction for hundreds of years. But, the first two require periodic treatment to seal and protect against moisture and of course the use of Ipe is now frowned upon due to potential illegal logging practices. Until recently, there was little thought given as to what we now call the ‘provenance’ or source of the timber and also the long-term sustainability of this precious decking material.
The devastation of deforestation
Without getting too pessimistic, it’s worth noting that the clearing of tropical rainforests is still happening at an alarming rate, despite the best endeavors of governments around the world. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN estimates that the world has lost a billion acres of forest since 1990, mostly in Africa and South America. The Amazon Conservation group reports that destruction rose by 21 percent in 2020. Much of this unregulated illegal activity may find its way into the back yards of innocent consumers.
Read more here on deforestation.
So, what is the most sustainable timber for decking?
Thankfully, we live in different and more enlightened times and these days virtually all construction materials come under the eco-spotlight from regulators, architects, installers and of course domestic dwellers who pay the bills. Talking of consumers, it’s people like you who are taking the lead in interrogating the eco-credentials of building materials (especially when thinking of selling your property in the future). Sustainable decking material is the way to go.
We’re discounting wood-plastic composite decking materials here because, as their name implies, they contain plastic elements and so our focus is on real wood. Many of the hardwoods that have been used in decking for so long take decades to grow slowly in tropical climes (sometimes eighty or ninety years) and it’s very difficult for them to be replaced; when they are cut down there is a huge corresponding loss in biodiversity in the forest around them. Most, if not all softwoods are not suitable on their own as they’re not durable enough, they require treatment to prevent premature rot and decay.
Ideally, consumers and timber installers in the US need a beautiful, natural timber that grows very fast and quickly in managed sustainable plantations. This needs to be an eco-friendly timber with impeccable credentials that is both legal and ethical. Oh, and it helps if it comes with a 25-year warranty against rot and decay, even in water, and is grey-colored all the way through to the core!
Accoya Color to the rescue
Accoya Color is ideal for timber decking projects in the US. Unlike slow-grown hardwoods it is sourced from sustainably sourced softwood that is FSC® certified with 100% proof of provenance. This natural softwood is then modified using our famous patented acetylation process that results in Accoya wood – in this decking product it is also now colored a beautiful grey through to the core…Accoya® Color. To achieve this, after acetylation, the newly modified timber goes through an extra dyeing process in a purpose-built facility using organic non-toxic color pigment.
Important elements for wooden decking are the durability of the material and the degree of maintenance required after installation, most of which involve chemical treatments of some kind or other. Accoya Color is just like its traditional Accoya stablemate in that it’s very low maintenance. There is no need for additional coatings (although it coats very well) and its grey color anticipates the natural silvering of wood when exposed to weathering over the years.
As Accoya Color comes with a warranty against rot and decay, even when installed in ground (a unique feature), it results in an eco-friendly timber that lasts for decades and consequently locks away carbon too. These wooden decks are 100% recyclable too after their decking life, further increasing their sustainable street-cred.
Accoya Color is available to buy in the US from a range of our official lumberyard partners that can be found on the link below.
What is the best timber to use for decking?
A real wooden deck, expertly laid by professionals, is one of life’s joys to see and touch, especially in bare feet on a hot summer day. Who doesn’t love the thought of family and friends enjoying an impromptu gathering around an outdoor table, who knows, perhaps creating memories for life? So, what is the best timber to use for decking and why? In this blog we’ll look at various options and introduce you to our new high grade timber for decking with a beautiful built-in grey that we call Accoya® Color.
How to choose decking?
When laying down or replacing a deck there are many options for the professional builder or homeowner to consider such as the deck board material to use, color, coatings, weathering, plus of course safety concerns such as possible slips and splinters. This is a big endeavor and likely to cost money and effort, so it pays to do your homework.
Sometimes there are too many choices in life, and this is especially true when you are looking to create or replace your deck. What material to choose, what color stain, if any, and perhaps considering other types of coatings too. So let’s narrow down the choices straight away by taking out the composite ‘wood’ decks that usually feature a mix of wood and plastic materials. These may last a long time, but nothing beats a natural real wood deck. So, in relation to wood decking, one of the major choice factors is durability, how long your chosen wood will last out in the open before rotting or decaying.
So, what is the best timber to use for decking and why?
There are three types of wood suitable for decking:
- treated softwoods
- modified wood (e.g. Accoya)
The Timber Decking & Cladding Association recommends that only timber that will last a minimum of 15 years be used for your deck (15 years would be a good return on your investment). Hardwoods that are classed as ‘very durable’ are popular. There are also some softwoods that can be used but they have to be pressure treated to reach that high grade. The last category includes Accoya of course – an award-winning product that starts out life as a sustainable softwood and is then modified to last for decades.
Another choice factor is maintenance. All real wood will weather in time if left outside and there can be issues such as splits and cupping as well, especially in harsher hot climates. It makes good financial sense to choose a low maintenance timber if possible (you don’t want to have to replace individual boards that fail).
Additionally, the sustainability of your chosen wood has now become one of the major factors, with good reason. Tropical hardwoods, although beautiful to see and touch, are increasingly being discounted for legal and ethical reasons. Which leads us to a beautiful, highly durable and very sustainable alternative…
Introducing Accoya Color
Accoya boards have been used for wood decking for years to great acclaim – let’s face it, thousands of architects, builders and landscape designers around the world can’t all be wrong! The boards combine the beauty of real wood with scientifically-proven durability that will last for years. Due to its incredible ability to withstand rot and decay, even in water, Accoya has become the standout choice for decking timber projects.
There is now a new addition to the Accoya family, Accoya Color, which has all the advantages of our traditional modified timber but with a beautiful and consistent grey color all the way through to the core. Accoya Color has gone through a patented color impregnation and fixation process at the dedicated Accsys Accoya Color plant.
Keeping it real
Accoya Color is a natural wood with ultra-high performance and boasts excellent dimensional stability (it’s classified as a small movement timber and that’s ideal for deck projects). It is barefoot-friendly, which means that you and your family can safely walk on the boards without the fear of splinters. It is not only easy to install, but requires very little maintenance throughout its lifespan.
Its beautiful grey color goes all the way through the wood; a great feature is that the deck boards are straighter and easier to fix than alternative wood deck boards which means less waste during the build stage. There is also no cupping which can be a problem in other types of wood…when that happens individual boards have to be taken up and replaced, usually at great cost, but this isn’t an issue with Accoya Color.
Although Accoya Color is durable, it is also lighter in weight than alternative woods such as Ipe and even composite materials.
Keeping it green (or grey actually!)
Unlike deck boards that come from illegally cut hardwoods, Accoya Color is made from sustainably-sourced forestry and the wood is guaranteed, for extra peace of mind. The long product life also means that the naturally-occurring carbon within the wood is retained within the product for the duration of its lifecycle. An organic and non-toxic grey color pigment is used for the coloring process so Accoya Color wood is also 100% recyclable at the end of its life.
Where to buy
Accoya Color is available to buy in the US from a range of our official distribution partners that can be found here.
Project Collection now live on accoya.com
The Accoya Project Collection provides an extensive look at some of the most inspirational uses of Accoya from around the Globe. From the stunning architectural design of Barangaroo House in Sydney, Australia, to the glorious Banff Observation Deck in Canada.
You’ll find a range of projects showcasing the use of Accoya in Siding, Decking and Windows & Doors.
Other articles of interest
A series of architectural feats and firsts from Accoya® Wood
Guest blog by RO&AD architects
Walking through Water – 12 interesting facts about the Moses Bridge.
International Women’s Day
Celebrating the impacts and achievements of female architects
Marking 14 years of the Accoya journey
Marking 14 years exactly since the first ever batch of Accoya wood was produced.
10 Wood Deck Swimming Pools You Want to Experience This Summer
Swimming pool wood deck design ideas
Wood swimming pool deck and pool surround for the perfect backyard retreat
There is nothing better than an Accoya swimming pool deckPool Decking. It’s perfect to cool down on a hot summer day and the ideal place to relax and forget the stress of a busy week. As we swim through the cool water, it’s like we are on vacation and all our worries feel far away. Ideally, sitting on the wooden pool surround while dangling our feet in the water.
Here are some of the best swimming pools with wood decking to get you dreaming this summer. And if you are looking to build your own swimming pool, let’s get inspired by some of the swimming pool deck design ideas…
Swimming pool wood deck designs
The advantages of wood swimming pool decks made from Accoya
Is Accoya the best wood for swimming pool decks?
Choose natural wood and give your swimming pool decking a special charm; only genuine wood can deliver this authentic look and pleasant feel. In our backyard, we also only want to use environmentally friendly materials that are in harmony with nature.
Thanks to its exceptional performance benefits, especially when in contact with water, Accoya is ideal for swimming pool decks. Accoya decking and pool surrounds are very durable, low maintenance and resistant to rot and decay. Accoya wood decking and swimming pool surrounds come with a 25-year warranty, even when installed with direct contact to water.
You can also feel the benefits of Accoya decking: Accoya decking is very barefoot-friendly, as it will not noticeably crack or splinter even after decades. It also doesn’t get too hot in the sun and remains cool on your skin, perfect to spend hours lounging by the pool.
Here are 10 beautiful examples of Accoya wood swimming pool decks to be inspired by. Let’s take a plunge…
Swimming pool surrounded by wood decking
In this property in Nottwil, Switzerland, the swimming pool is surrounded by a beautiful Accoya wood deck, which achieves a very harmonic appearance. The wood swimming pool deck and pool surround was installed uncoated and therefore went through a natural weathering and graying process. The gray decking boards look beautiful in contrast with the blue water, especially in such a beautiful evening atmosphere, as in the photo.
The swimming pool deck was supplied by Herzog-Elmiger AG.
Swimming pool made out of Accoya wood
For this project, wood was not only used for the swimming pool deck but also the pool itself.
Natura specializes in swimming pools and whirlpools that are made entirely of wood. They use Accoya as the solid wood is durable and rot-proof, does not warp and comes with a warranty of 25 years even when immersed in water. Thanks to the high dimensional stability, Accoya can easily withstand high water pressure and ground movements. To ensure that the pool is watertight, Natura has developed a special membrane that is installed below the Accoya wood.
Natural pool surrounded by curvy wood decking
When building this natural pool, it was important to only use natural and environmentally friendly materials. Therefore, Accoya wood decking was used to build a pool surround along with various natural stones. The pool surround and wood swimming pool deck was designed in round shapes, to draw inspiration from natural shapes found in the outdoors. These tailor-made shapes were no problem for the manufacturer, as the brilliant machinability of Accoya mean it can be processed as desired. The Accoya swimming pool deck was installed without coating and will naturally weather and build a beautiful silver-gray patina over time.
This wood swimming pool deck and pool surround was installed by M. Hechenblaickner and its partners.
Photos: ©M. Hechenblaickner
Dark coated swimming pool wood deck design
In Israel, Accoya was used for the wood swimming pool deck, pool surround and an underwater platform to build this beautiful swimming pool.
Due to the high UV radiation in Israel, coated wood decking usually needs constant repainting. Due to its high dimensional stability, Accoya is resistant to deforming, splintering and cracking, which puts much less stress on the coating. Homeowners can therefore enjoy their coated decking for much longer before they need to repaint.
The Accoya warranty of 25 years includes applications that are immersed in water, which ensures that the underwater platform will last for decades.
A Blanchon oil was applied to the Accoya wood swimming pool deck boards. The underwater platform was left uncoated and will turn gray over time.
Accoya wood swimming pool deck in the Pyrenees
A wood swimming pool deck made of Accoya was installed in the French Pyrenees. The project was carried out by Gaius, who choose Accoya for their swimming pool wood deck designs, as they only work with materials that are highly sustainable and have a long service life.
This is a prime example of an idyllic garden retreat that can be built with wood swimming pool decks for inground pools.
Elegant wood swimming pool deck in Puglia
A beautiful Accoya wood swimming pool deck was built in a private residence in Puglia, Southern Italy. The private residence is part of the Trulli of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which are very popular for tourist visiting the area.
The Accoya decking boards were wire brushed before installation, to achieve a textured distressed looking finish.
Versatile Accoya for wood swimming pool deck and pool surround
Example of creative wood swimming pool decks above ground designs
The natural wood was not only used for the swimming pool deck, but also the wooden pool surround. There is even some Accoya cladding on the above ground pool surround, which has two waterfalls embedded, for a special swimming pool deck design. The high humidity and regular contact with water are no problem for the wood decking and pool surround, as Accoya has a 25-year warranty even when installed with direct contact to water. The durable Accoya wood is highly water resistant, and should be chosen when looking for the best wood for a swimming pool deck.
photos: ©M. Hechenblaickner
Biarritz swimming pool and wood decking
Accoya swimming pool deck in Cannes
Accoya was chosen for the wood swimming pool deck and pool surround of the beautiful Villa Carat in Cannes.
Accoya wood was specified by Woodstone Project due to its exceptional performance: It’s very durable, stable, rot free and sustainable, all whilst adding the charm of natural solid wood. An essential benefit was also, that the swimming pool deck is barefoot friendly: Accoya remains cool even on the hottest day.
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Best wood for swimming pool deck
Inspiration for your Swimming pool wood deck design ideas
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