The best type of hardwood used for outdoor structures is that which is resistant to excessive climatic conditions. Wood treated with preservatives and weather-resistant sealants (oil or acrylic based) add to its durability and life expectancy—making it structurally adaptable for outdoor use. Most untreated wood decomposes quickly under unfavorable temperatures, high moisture and parasitic attack. Treating wood eliminates the chances of decay and decomposition, enabling it to last decades for its intended use.
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Treated Southern Pine
Southern pine makes one of the strongest and most adaptable wood for structural applications. The wood is treated with preservatives, making it resistant to parasitic microorganisms, termites and fungi. Southern pine includes four species of versatile trees, namely longleaf, shortleaf, slash and lobiolly.
Natural cedar is an alternative to chemically treated timber. It is moisture resistant and comes in various textures, colors, and sizes. Cedar is available in several lumber grades, including clear grades and knotty grades. Clear grades of cedar have a smooth, fine finish and are devoid of blemishes and knots. Well-maintained clear cedar has a life expectancy of 40 years. Knotty cedar (also called tight knot cedar) costs less than its clear grade alternative. The wood gives a blemished appearance and is used when a country look is desired. Knotty cedar gates and fences have a lower life expectancy than clear cedar.
Durable Western red cedar is the most commonly used variety of cedar for gates and fences.
Oak is an ideal choice in areas where privacy and safety are concerns. Oak privacy fences add a solid barrier, contributing structurally and aesthetically to any outdoor space. Oak timber is resistant to fungus, insects and other parasites due to its high tannin concentration. Common types of oak used for fences and gates include Tasmanian oak, European oak, Asian oak, Northern red oak, and white oak.
Teak is one of the strongest hardwoods in the world. Its moisture-resistant properties, durability, longevity, resistance to extreme weather conditions and insects make it an ideal choice for outdoor wood structures. Wood of older teak trees is of higher quality than that of trees younger than 40 years. Teak is graded A, B and C, with A graded teak being the highest in density and have the least knots, splits and cracks. Types of teak include Bojonegoro teak, Dahat teak, Banuywangi teak and Philippine teak.