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Choosing the Right Wood for Your Denver Outdoor Living Space

June 29, 2016

Denver decks and pergolas can take a beating from Colorado’s famously capricious weather, but having an outdoor structure is invaluable for a home. It not only increases your living space, it provides an area for relaxation and entertainment out in the open while protecting you from the elements.

The wood you choose for your structure will not only affect how it ages over the years, but how long it will last. The most popular options for building outdoor furniture are redwood, cedar, pine, teak, or oak. Appearance and durability are key factors in deciding which wood you’ll use, as environmental issues such as humidity and aridity will affect how the furniture in your Denver outdoor living space ages.

Redwood is has been synonymous with outdoor furniture for decades, particularly Adirondack chairs and decks. Forests were over-logged in the 1990s, however, so redwood isn’t as widely available as it once was. Heartwood, from the center of the tree, is all red in color; the sapwood, the part that surrounds the heartwood, is white. There are many different grades of redwood, established by the Redwood Inspection Service, to ensure good quality. Redwood is the longest-lasting wood, and can withstand decay for decades. It is not as resistant to insect damage as cedar or teak, and it can be rather expensive.

Another long-lasting wood, cedar is also resistant to insects and decay. The heartwood is a reddish-brown color and has that distinct smell cedar is known for; the sapwood is white, as with redwood. There are generally six different cedars to choose from, including Western Red Cedar, Atlantic Red Cedar, and Northern White Cedar. Cedar is popular for being lightweight and extremely durable outdoors.

One of the weakest options is pine, especially if left untreated. Moisture is an issue, which leads to rot. Building an outdoor structure with pine requires more upkeep through sealing and resealing over the years. Blonde in color with brown knots, pine is a softwood, and is therefore prone to showing damage. However, it is the most affordable option.

Teak is the most widely-used outdoor furniture and structures in the US. Most teak is harvested from plantations all around the world, replacing woods taken from rainforests. It’s a durable, tough wood that doesn’t cost as much as other hardwoods. It’s also naturally weatherproofed due to its high oil content, so teak doesn’t need to be treated or sealed, although of course those are available options.

Oak is a very grainy hardwood and can be light brown or yellow. It’s a strong hardwood that is resistant to moisture, insects, and rot. Oak needs to be treated, or its pale shade will fade to a streaky dark brown. Its hardness makes it harder to shape, but the strength and durability compensate for this. Oak is on the more expensive end of the wood spectrum.
The experts at Kona Construction can help you decide which option best suits your needs for your outdoor structure needs. Check out our project gallery for decks and pergolas  and call 720-935-4922 to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.