If you are considering building or replacing a deck, there is not a better choice than redwood. It is lighter than plastic composite and tropical hardwoods; it can be cut and drilled with regular woodworking blades and bits. Redwood is one of the strongest natural building materials and is five times stronger than plastic deck products.
Redwood stands up to the elements as it is naturally resistant to insects and decay. It does not warp and split easily, and it stays comfortable on your feet on a hot day. Redwood takes some simple care and maintenance but can last decades providing a great value and excellent performance.
There’s something cool about redwood. It has a rich, warm color that is very soothing. Over time, it ages gracefully with lasting character while other deck materials tend to fade and lose their character.
Redwood is locally grown and is a green building material and can be purchased with an FSC label. FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council. FSC certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. FSC certification and standards are widely considered to be among the world’s most stringent.
Plastic decking products often produce pollution as a byproduct and can end up in landfills whereas redwood can be recycled throughout its useful life. Redwood bark, for example, is often recycled into beautiful mulch and ground cover.
At the end of its useful life, Humboldt Redwood will biodegrade and re-enter the earth from where it came. Plastics often do not decompose and may remain in landfills indefinitely.
Redwood is harvested from local forests. Compare that to tropical hardwoods which are often harvested so the land can be used for plantations or grazing.
Reduce greenhouse gases
Managed redwood forests are effective at removing carbon dioxide from the air, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gases. Because trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, a fast-growing species like redwood makes a big impact. Through the process of photosynthesis, carbon is absorbed into the wood fibers and oxygen is released back into the air. This is known as carbon sequestration.
Even as redwood trees are harvested and made into the lumber, the carbon remains sequestered in the wood. The average redwood deck holds about a half-ton of carbon; wood is 50% carbon by weight. We can grow more trees than we harvest each year and so the net amount of carbon sequestered each year increases. This continued cycle of carbon removal and storage is a crucial process in reducing greenhouse gases. Many manufactured, artificial building materials are energy intensive and release carbon into the atmosphere.
When it comes to the look and feel of real wood, nothing compares to redwood decking. No artificial material like plastic can mimic the way natural wood grain feels to the touch of bare feet.
Redwood vs. Tropical Hardwoods
In our area many folks are using Ipe to build decks. Tropical hardwoods like Ipe are more expensive than redwood to purchase and to install. They come from places that are a long way away in south America. They are dense and require carbide tipped bits and blades. Fastener holes have to be pre-drilled, requiring more labor for installation.
Disappearing rainforests and reduced native habitat for indigenous people and wildlife are the result of destructive harvesting practices. Because redwood is 100% grown and harvested in the U.S., consumers can be assured that state and federal forestry regulations are strictly adhered to.
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