Whether you are in the market for new outdoor furniture or a do-it-yourself enthusiast planning to build a new deck, it is important to know the best materials for outdoor use.
Choosing a type of lumber for your outdoor needs can seem intimidating when you don’t know the pros and cons of each type. Here are four good reasons to choose redwood for your next outdoor project.
1. Redwood is naturally durable
Outdoor wood has to be able to get wet and dry repeatedly without becoming damaged. It is common for wood to begin to shrink in certain areas and swell in others, which leads to an uneven surface. Not only is this unattractive, but it can also affect the structural strength of your deck or furniture.
To deal with this problem, many popular woods — including pine — require a preservative treatment before they can be trusted to stand up to the elements. These pressure treatments can often involve a worrying cocktail of chemicals even including arsenic in some cases.
Redwood is different. It has natural moisture resistant properties that help it avoid the warping that other woods experience. This is particularly important when building a deck since uneven beams will not line up properly.
The large amount of tannin in redwood is what gives the wood its signature reddish color. Tannin also has many useful qualities. It make redwood naturally resistant to insects such as bothersome termites. The tannin also gives redwood some resistance to UV rays that can bleach or damage outdoor wood.
2. Redwood is environmentally friendly
There is a common misconception that redwood is not an environmentally friendly wood choice because of how long it takes redwood trees to mature. This is simply not true. In fact, the vast majority of redwood lumber is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as an environmentally friendly lumber choice.
Not only do redwood trees absorb significantly more carbon than they produce, but they also continue to keep that carbon out of the environment as lumber. This means that producing redwood lumber actually lowers our carbon footprint and helps to reduce air pollution.
Consider plastic decking products as a different example. FSC found that a deck made with plastic products takes 97 percent more energy to produce than a deck made with redwood.
Redwood lumber is very sustainable. Forests that produce redwood lumber are actually able to grow more trees than they cut down. It is also easy to recycle and has very little waste. Even the bark is a popular material for ground covering and mulch.
3. Redwood is easy to clean
Many types of wood and composite materials used outdoors are very porous. This means that they can be hard to clean. If you aren’t careful, porous building materials can unexpectedly absorb liquid cleaners and become warped.
Redwood, on the other hand, can be cleaned very easily. It is resistant to absorbing moisture, so you never have to worry about damaging your outdoor redwood by cleaning it. This also means that it is very stain resistant in general.
A regular rinse with a garden hose is often enough to keep redwood products clean. For stubborn stains, you can feel comfortable scrubbing redwood with soap and a stiff brush or even bleach if necessary.
4. Redwood has a unique appearance
Most popular outdoor wood choices have a naturally yellowish tone. Redwood has a deep reddish-brown color that gives outdoor areas a very unique look.
The signature reddish tone of redwood adds a lot of warmth and comfort to furniture or decking. Redwood lumber also has a very tight and straight grain that gives it a uniform look. This makes redwood products naturally look sleek and high-end.
Even without a finish, redwood has a luxurious look that makes it a great choice for anyone hoping to add value to their home or improve the appeal of their outdoor sitting area.
When unsealed, redwood’s natural red color will gradually fade over the years into a pleasant silvery color. The deep red color can also be restored or maintained with a simple finish or sealant.