Buying Guide

Decking Materials Buying Guide

Cedar
A deck made of cedar stained to bring out its natural color.

Cedar is a soft yet very durable wood. It adjusts to moisture in the air around it, making it less likely to warp or crack during colder temperatures.


  • Resists moisture, rot and insects
  • Easy to seal or stain surface
  • Weathers to silvery gray if left untreated
  • Typically available and used in the Pacific Northwest


Tip: The Home Depot sources responsibly and does not purchase any decking products from old growth forests and rainforests. See our Wood Purchasing Policy for more information. 

Redwood
A deck made of redwood boards and railings provides ample space for outdoor seating.

Redwood is a tight-grained wood that’s red to dark red in color. It weathers to yellowish gray or gray. Some redwoods will turn black over time when exposed to water, so consider applying a sealant. 


  • Rarely warps or splits; holds its shape
  • Resists insects, mildew and rot 
  • Easily absorbs and retains all types of finishes
  • Typically available and used in the Pacific Southwest


Tip: When building a wood deck or other outside space use corrosion-resistant metal screws, fasteners and joist hangers that can stand up to the elements. 

Southern Yellow Pine
A deck made of Southern yellow pine has a staircase that goes down into the backyard.

Southern Pine is known for its load-bearing strength and durability. It is one of the most popular, least expensive woods per square foot and is often used to make pressure-treated lumber.


  • Pale in color, easy to work with 
  • Pattern accentuates landscape designs 
  • Resists rot and termites when treated for outdoor use 
  • Common throughout Northern, Southern, Midwestern and Western U.S. 


Tip: Pressure-treated lumber can develop a greenish tint when exposed to the elements. Consider using it primarily for framing and choose other woods for deck boards and rails. 

Wood-Alternative Decking Options
A deck built of composite or synthetic boards looks out over the ocean.

Unlike wood, alternatives like composite, plastic or vinyl decking require little maintenance and are relatively inexpensive. 


Composite decking looks a lot like wood and comes in a wide variety of colors. It is made of recycled wood fibers and a synthetic like polyethylene. 


  • Never needs painting, staining or refinishing
  • Easier and less expensive to maintain
  • Won't split, warp, crack or splinter


Tip: Rather resurface than build or replace your deck? Figure out exactly the amount of resurfacing deck materials you need with our handy calculator