If you've got the kind of friends who are more likely to show up for an afternoon of barbecue and chilled Dogfish Head than a weekend of deck For homeowners who want to use real wood, there are low-maintenance options — durable and pest-resistant tropical hardwoods such as ipe can last 20 to 50

If you're a traditionalist who's leaning towards wood, however, the most common choice for wood deck materials is pressure-treated or "PT" lumber. are tropical woods like ipe (pronounced e-pay), which are extremely dense and pest resistant and considered to be some of the most beautiful decking materials available.

Heartwood grows closer to the center of the tree, and is relatively hard and very resistant to decay. Sapwood grows in the outer part of the tree, near the bark, and is softer and more susceptible to decay. Award-winning deck builder Scott Padgett, of Idyllwild, Calif., uses redwood exclusively for decking. ("Composite decking

The hardness is about 40% less than , but still much harder than many domestic species. It is durable and carries the same class A fire ratings of many of the South American decking species. Many overcome the color issue by applying stains and dyes to make Garapa look more like . 6. CAMBARA: Often sold as a

Dealing with a reputable supplier or deck contractor is important as wood quality and performance can vary considerably. The best performing species are very strong, dense, and hard, and very resistant to decay and insects, making them ideal for deck surfaces. The hardest, densest woods are the most durable and most

When it comes to high quality decking, is typically considered the finest option, but the lesser-known Tali is a great sustainable alternative. . , an ironwood from South America, is well-known as a top-of-the-line option for decking. As one of the hardest and most durable woods in the world, is a great choice for a

Choose zinc-coated or other corrosion-resistant fasteners, and use the right fasteners for composites. Also consider hidden fasteners or systems that hide While wood is the most popular type of decking, other materials are catching on with homeowners. Here are four types of decking material to consider.

The answer depends on the type of decking wood you use. Pressure-treated pine resists rot and repels pests, but the green or yellow-tinged lumber can be unsightly and the pesticides it contains may be unhealthy. For a safer, more attractive deck or porch, choose an attractive yet still durable wood for the