In the past, pressure-treated pine was the standard deck material. Inexpensive, rot resistant and insect proof, it was used extensively in the U.S. But concerns over the safety of the pressure-treating process have made the lumber undesirable. There are many better choices at the lumber yard today.
Cedar does not readily absorb water, so boards do not warp. Be sure to look for premium grades. Cedar can be stained and should be sealed yearly for maximum life.
Redwood is a soft wood that resists rot. It should be sealed yearly to prolong its life. Redwood is graded for quality: choose heartwood, the top grade, for best performance.
A wood with very tight grain, mahogany resists rot and insect damage. It can be oiled or left natural.
Ipe is quite expensive, but it may be the best deck wood available. It requires virtually no maintenance and it is highly resistant to decay, insects, splintering--even fire.
Teak is very hard so it resists dents and damage. It is expensive, however, and is being replaced with synthetics.
Bamboo is not technically a wood but a grass that has been woven and bonded under pressure into planks. It is sustainable and renewable so it is becoming very popular indoors and out.
About this Author
Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on eHow.com, GardenGuides.com and VetInfo.com.