A Natural Choice for Decking
For centuries, cypress has been known as one of nature’s most durable woods and has long been a popular material used for exterior applications, such as siding, fencing, shingles, furniture, and other landscape design elements. Recently, this penchant for durability has gained cypress newfound popularity as a decking product, especially as concerns have arisen about the chemicals used in pressure-treated wood.
As more and more health-conscious homeowners are discovering, cypress comes by its durability naturally, thanks to a preservative oil called cypressene, which is produced in cypress heartwood and makes it resistant to insects, decay, chemical corrosion and other damaging elements. But what especially sets cypress apart, in the eyes of many homeowners and design professionals, is its stunning good looks.
Readily available in a number of visual grades, any cypress graded #2 or better should be sufficient to meet all your deck’s structural requirements. But for visible portions of the deck, such as balusters and handrails, select-grade cypress will yield the most attractive appearance.
Important to know:
- Use cypress decking materials that are clean and have been dried to the proper moisture content. Prior to installation, store the material in a dry place. Installing cypress decking while it is “green” or wet has the potential to lead to cracking, splintering and warping.
- Do not use cypress boards wider than 6” for any application that lies flat, such as deck flooring, seating or railing
- The maximum span for cypress radius-edge decking (R.E.D.) and two-inch dimension lumber should not exceed 16” on center.