Category Archives: Outdoor Living

Best Wood for Outdoor Kitchens

Best Wood for Outdoor Kitchens

Ipe Wood Outdoor Kitchen

Building an outdoor kitchen is a major investment. You want to make sure you are using materials that are going to hold up to the outdoor environment as well as the abuse of kitchen wear and tear.

You are probably looking at spending thousands of dollars on top of the line stainless steel appliances for your outdoor kitchen.

The last thing you would want is to spend a lot of time and money on an outdoor kitchen and have your grill in your outdoor kitchen rust out after 5 years and force you to redo your outdoor kitchen.

Many homeowners want their appliances to sit in cabinets or an outdoor bar built out of a beautiful long lasting wood.

Woods You Should Not Use for an Outdoor Kitchen

We suggest staying away from softwoods such as pressure treated pine, cedar and redwood.

These softwoods are all susceptible to rot, wood boring insects and are can catch fire quickly. In addition they require yearly maintenance with waterproofing sealers that will peel off.

This will leave you scraping and sanding all the wood and then reapplying the sealer each year. Waterproofing sealers help keep water from penetrating the grain of softwoods which would lead to faster rot and decay.

Additionally your outdoor kitchen will more than likely be placed on a concrete slab foundation. Depending on the design of your outdoor kitchen your cabinets or bar will be sitting on top of the concrete.

Concrete wicks moisture so softwoods sitting on top of concrete will rot faster at the base.

These are just a few reasons why we don’t recommend these softwoods for an outdoor kitchen.

Best Woods for Outdoor Kitchens

There are a few species of wood that we’ve found to be proven to perform incredibly well in outdoor environments such as outdoor kitchens.

These species are Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa and Massaranduba. They all come from South America and have proven to last up to 75 years or more with very low maintenance.

Ipe wood decking and Ipe outdoor kitchen cabinets

Above you’ll see a picture of an outdoor kitchen built with Ipe wood deck boards. The deck is also built with Ipe wood decking.

Ipe wood decking is one of the most durable, long lasting decking woods available. It is more durable than teak and is more cost effective as well.

It is also naturally resistant to mold, mildew, rot and decay, wood boring insects can not chew through the wood, It has a Class A rating against flame spread, does not splinter like softwoods and it has proven to last 75+ year on commercial boardwalks like Coney Island boardwalk in New York.

Here’s another outdoor kitchen built with Ipe Wood:

The second most durable wood we recommend for outdoor kitchens is Cumaru which is also known as Brazilian Teak.

Cumaru is almost identical to Ipe it’s just got a little more color variation which ranges from golden brown to a reddish brown. Ipe is more consistent in color which is a chocolate brown.

Many people are drawn to Cumaru because it’s typically 30% cheaper and also a very beautiful and durable wood. It has all the similar properties like Class A rating against flame spread which makes it an excellent wood for outdoor kitchens.

While we don’t have pictures of an outdoor kitchen built with Cumaru wood most of the jobs we supply are used to build decks.

Just like Ipe wood is most commonly used to build decks both of these woods are great for a wide array of outdoor projects.

Here’s a picture of a deck built with Cumaru:

Cumaru Deck

Tigerwood Outdoor Kitchen

This is our 3rd most popular option for an exterior hardwood that is great for outdoor kitchens.

Tigerwood Outdoor Kitchen

Tigerwood is not quite as dense as Ipe or Cumaru but it’s still a very dense and durable hardwood that’s great for outdoor use. In fact Tigerwood is more than double the Janka hardness compared to Teak.

These 3 wood species are the best woods that we recommend for outdoor kitchens.

When building an outdoor kitchen with wood you can often use short length boards depending on your design of course.

We sell short length boards at a significant cost savings that can save you up to 50 percent. Click here to view these discounted hardwoods

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Best Wood for an Outdoor Table

Ipe Wood Outdoor Table

If you’re building an outdoor table you want to build something that will last for many years to come without degrading and tons of maintenance.

Not all woods are created equal.

Some woods when used outdoors and exposed to harsh weather and UV rays will degrade quickly. This leads to splinters, rot and decay and you’ll eventually have to rebuild your outdoor table.

The most common wood that people build with for outdoor use is pressure treated pine.

Pressure treated pine is the most affordable option available, as a result many people build outdoor tables such as picnic tables with it.

The downside of pressure treated pine is that it’s a softwood that requires annual maintenance with water sealers. Eventually the weather and UV rays will degrade the pressure treated pine.

You will experience checking, splinters and even rot and decay eventually. You can expect a 15 to 20 year lifespan if you properly maintain your outdoor table each year.

If you’re looking for the best wood than pressure treated pine is not the best choice.

Cedar is the next most common wood option for outdoor use.

It’s known to many as a premium wood compared to pressure treated pine. It does offer some natural resistance to rot and decay.

However Cedar is still a softwood and will rot, decay, splinter and have all the same problems as pressure treated pine. This will also need a waterproofing sealer applied each year.

You can also expect a lifespan of 15 to 20 years if the proper maintenance is done each year.

The Best Wood for Outdoor Use and Tables

Deck with Fire Pit and Pavers
Deck built with Ipe wood

Ipe wood (pronounced EE-pay) is a South American hardwood that has proven to last on many commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk for 75+ years with no treatment.

Here are some of the outstanding benefits of Ipe:

  • Lasts up to 75+ years
  • Low maintenance
  • Termite Resistant
  • No knots!!
  • Tight grain = No worry of slivers
  • Can outlast composite material
  • High density resist scratches
  • Nearly twice as strong as Oak
  • Better than teak
  • Environmentally friendly
  • One of the strongest woods in the world
  • Up to a Class A fire rating for flame spread
  • Mold & Fungi resistant
  • High slip resistance

We also recommend a few other species that have very similar properties to Ipe and offer different grain and colors.

The following woods are also extremely durable outdoors and are more affordable than Ipe.

Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa and Massaranduba

This outdoor table was handcrafted using Ipe and Tigerwood and it’s absolutely stunning.

Outdoor Table made with Ipe Wood and Tigerwood

If you are looking to build an outdoor table that will last a lifetime these woods will not disappoint you.

You can purchase them directly online from our website. We also have many deeply discounted shorter length boards that work great for outdoor furniture.

Since we primarily sell a lot of long length boards for decks we sell the shorter boards for a deep discount. Click here to see our discounted hardwood decking

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Best Decking For Above Ground Pools

A quality American made above ground pool can last 10 – 20 years if not more depending on the conditions.

You want to make sure your deck will last just as long without all the common issues associated with some decking options.

In this article we’ll discuss all your decking options for your above ground pools and highlight the pros and cons of each.

The first most affordable and most common decking option is:

Pressure Treated Pine Decking

Above Ground Pool with Pressure Treated Pine Decking – 5 Years Old

Most above ground pool decks are built using pressure treated pine because it’s readily available at almost every building material supplier near you and its the most affordable option.

This is a real wood option that requires consistent maintenance to ensure the longest lifespan possible.

Pine is a softwood that is susceptible to rot, decay, mold, mildew and insect attack. In addition pressure treated pine also typically experiences repeated cycles of thermal expansion and contraction (especially if you live in the north and get harsh winters).

Softwoods require the use of deck stains and water sealers that help keep the water out of the wood grain which accelerates rot, decay and insect attack.

Treated pine commonly gives off splinters and slivers in your feet since most of the time you’ll be using your above ground pool deck with bare feet. So be prepared for annoyed guests and crying kids.

The average life expectancy for a pressure treated pine pool deck is 15 – 20 years. Many will see something more like 10 – 15 years. It really depends on how good you kept up with the maintenance each year.

Pools decks obviously are constantly getting saturated with pool water especially if you have little kids who like keep getting out and jumping in the pool doing cannonballs.

The next real wood option is:

Cedar Wood Decking

cedar deck repair

This is another softwood option however cedar does offer some natural resistance to rot and decay but will eventually rot and decay as time goes on.

In the picture above you can see this homeowner is replacing on of the deck boards and the others have splinters and checking that can cause splinters and slivers in your feet.

Cedar also requires a waterproofing sealer to help ensure a longer lifespan especially around pool decks with the constant exposure to water.

If maintained yearly you could expect a life expectancy of 20 – 25 years. Again this all depends on the wear and tear the deck sees as well as the annual maintenance.

The third option that most home owners think will be the best is:

Composite Decking

composite deck fading
Composite Deck with Extreme Fading
Composite Decking Falling Apart

Many homeowners think that composite decking will be “maintenance free”. In the early years when composite decking was first made, many manufacturers spent millions of dollars on advertising bragging that their products were “maintenance free”.

Unfortunately many people found out the hard way there really is no such thing as maintenance free. As a result there was several class action lawsuits for false advertising and other issues.

Composite decking has many issues including severe fading as shown in first picture as well as deteriorating and crumbling as shown in the second picture.

Many homeowners also complain about composites being extremely hot to walk on in your bare feet which is not good around pools. Another common problem is that it can be very slippery when wet which would not be good around a pool.

Homeowners should do a Google search for “composite decking complaints” and “composite decking problems”. We get calls from homeowners each week that need to replace their composite decking after only a year or two of having their deck installed.

We have yet to find a composite decking product that will meet or exceed our customers expectations so we do not sell any composite or plastic decking materials for now.

Last but not least your other option is:

Hardwood Decking

When we say hardwood we are talking about some of the hardest most durable woods on earth. In fact they are harder and more durable than Teak and cheaper too.

The decking species we recommend for above ground pool decks are:

  • Ipe
  • Cumaru
  • Tigerwood
  • Garapa
  • Massaranduba

These South American hardwoods are sustainably harvested and have proven to last up to 75 years with very low maintenance.

They are also naturally resistant to rot, decay, mold, mildew, splinter, class A rating against flame spread, resistant to wood boring insects, naturally slip resistant and not hot to walk on bare foot.

All of these qualities make them excellent around pools!

The only maintenance that’s required is cleaning the dirt and debris off the surface which is required by all decking manufacturers (especially composites).

Pollen, dirt, leaves, rain and other debris will land on all decks so a light power washing is a good idea when needed.

The only other maintenance that many homeowners choose to do is oiling the wood usually once a year. UV rays from the sun will bleach the color out of the wood and turn it grey.

Some homeowners like they grey look so they don’t have to do anything other than an occasional cleaning.

Oiling the wood will keep the beautiful color of the woods and enhance the beautiful grain. Once you see the beauty of these woods most homeowners want to maintain that look.

Do not be confused oiling hardwoods is incredibly easy and it’s not a top coat like water sealers for soft woods that will eventually peel off and leave you with a lot of maintenance.

The oil you simply roll on with a paint roller after that you wipe up any that did not soak into the wood. These woods are so dense they will only absorb so much oil. It will eventually fade away (usually spring time the following year). Then you just apply more oil.

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Best Wood for Outdoor Use

Do you have an outdoor project you want to build and want the best wood for outdoor use?

When most people think about exterior grade wood they think of pressure treated pine and cedar. Both of these woods require annual maintenance with a water sealer that will peel off.

How about a wood that…

Won’t rot, won’t leave you scraping, sanding and sealing every year and can last 75+ years outdoors.

There are several Exotic lumber species that hold up outdoors better than Teak, are more attractive looking than Teak and are significantly cheaper as well.

These species are Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa, Massaranduba

These wood species have proven to last 75+ years outdoors with very little maintenance on commercial applications such as the Coney Island Boardwalk.

In addition these wood species are:

  • One of the strongest woods in the world
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Low maintenance
  • Up to a Class A fire rating for flame spread
  • Termite, Mold & Fungi resistant
  • Safe to walk on barefoot
  • High scratch & slip resistance
  • Can outlast composite material
  • Twice as strong as Oak
  • Time proven on many commercial projects
  • More durable than teak
  • Great for decks, docks, gazebos, benches, tables, siding, fencing
  • Comparably priced with composite decking choices
  • Not hot to walk on like composite material

Check out these projects built with these durable species of outdoor wood


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Portable Deck Built With Deck Tiles

portable deck

One of our customers is working and living on a remote job site in Texas. He setup his camper as a home away from home, however when we wanted to grill after work and relax after a hard days work he found the desert like ground less than appealing. He wanted an outdoor living area that was comfortable enough to walk on barefoot but portable like his camper. After searching online he found our deck tiles and thought they would be the perfect solution for his portable camper deck. He used 36 of our 24″ x 24″ Tigerwood deck tiles and used 6 x 6 stone pavers he purchased locally for a sturdy base.

He simply shimmed and scraped the ground as needed to make everything level then placed the deck tiles on top and snapped them together with about 36 DeckWise tile connectors. He said it was very simple to install and he wanted to share this picture with us because he was so thrilled with how it turned out. The tiles and connectors needed for the job were just over $900.

No project is to big or small we have four stocking factories in the US and two in Brazil to meet your shipping needs no matter how remote your location or the size of your job we can get it there.

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Night Lights for Your Deck!

We’ve already discussed fire pits and how they can make a great addition to your deck and outdoor living space, but the fire pit alone may not be enough to create the idyllic environment you’re aiming to create. In order to maximize the evening hours and to make your deck even more inviting, the addition of lighting is very important and will prolong the evening ambiance while keeping everyone safe.

Summertime tips for your Deck!

Summer is right around the corner, and you know what that means!  Barbeque grills will be coming out, the cooler will be filled with cold, refreshing beverages and family and friends will be invited over to enjoy the backyard. It’s a wonderful sight to see and even better to enjoy, but before you invite everyone over, here are a few tips to ensure your outdoor living space is ready.
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