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.

05.04.2022

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?

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 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.

Where to Buy

You can buy Accoya and Accoya products from our selection of distributors or manufacturers in your region. Use our map search tool to find your nearest Accoya supplier.

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