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Pressure treated wood, Western red cedar, Trex (composite) or Ipe wood, what's my best choice?

To determine the choice of the wood species for your project it is important to ask a few questions:

  • My budget?
  • The current architecture of my backyard?
  • Do we want a wood that requires lots of maintenance?
  • Do we want a durable patio which will keep a good value if I sell my home?
  • What are the different properties and costs between these species of wood?

  • My budget : It is important to establish a budget, and to facilitate this, you must start with a plan, even a rough handmade one. Draw what you have in mind and then call us. It will be a pleasure to meet and advise you. You can come to our offices and showroom in Laval to see the different options of types of wood we offer and several drawings of projects and accessories. Our consultants will be happy to assist and guide you in developing your project. If desired, our team of designers/estimators can meet you at your residence.

  • B) The current architecture of my backyard : Before beginning a project of wood decking or a roof terrace, or around a swimming pool, or others, make sure the essence of wood that you choose will marry well with the existing architecture or any future changes. Consider the value of your home, adjacent finishing materials: (stones, fences, pool, spa, landscaping) already in place, and try to choose the most appropriate wood finishing.

  • C) Do we want a wood patio which requires lots of maintenance? Who loves scraping, sanding, staining, painting... not many people. Learn about the maintenance of the wood you choose, it is quite important. (See table)

  • Do we want a durable patio which will keep a good value if we sell our home?

    What is the reason for this patio, is it temporary?

    Do we want a patio that will last a lifetime?

    Do we want a patio which will keep its beauty and strength, so that we could get a big part of our investment back, in the event of selling the property?

    How do we know which wood we need?

  • What are the different properties and costs between these species of wood?

    Briefly, we are presenting you the various aspects between these available wood species

    Treated Pine wood : is pressure-treated with the ecological preservative ACQ (alkaline copper Quaternary) agent. Although treated pine wood is not considered the most beautiful, it is the most common; it is its low cost that makes it popular for patios and terraces.

    Benefits : Economical

    Disadvantages : Chemically treated, maintenance, appearance, longevity.

    Western Red cedar : is popular most of all for its appearance. It contains natural oils that make it resistant to moisture, insects and decay. It is light, easy to work with and easily accepts a range of finishes including paint, stains...

    Benefits : Economical, nice appearance, natural...

    Disadvantages : Maintenance, softwood.

    Trex (composite) : A wood and plastic combination, a perfect wood imitation.

    A good alternative, great color choices and wood imitations, will not warp, rot or split,

    mold & mildew resistant, termite resistant, fade and stain resistant…

    For more infos:

    Ipe Wood : Probably the most resistant, durable and beautiful hardwood available worldwide, for patios and terraces. This exotic wood comes from South America, it is extremely dense and durable, and it can last 100 years. You could apply an oil to enjoy its beautiful bright natural colors, and if you want, you can let it age without any maintenance; it will become a beautiful silver- grey patina over time without losing its strength. 4 times harder than pressure treated wood or western red cedar, 2 - 3 times harder than torrefied wood, Ipe wood is certainly the better choice if we want to consider the quality / price ratio; an Ipe wood deck or terrace, will last 2 to 3 times longer than other woods. A more economical choice in the long run. For more infos:

    Benefits : Stability and extreme resistance. Naturally resistant to termites, insects, fungus, mould, fire resistance, perfect for marine borders, (lakes, swimming pools...), it has been proven in our climate in Quebec, its natural wood colors are beautiful, no chemical treatments, and especially it requires no maintenance.

    Disadvantages : Its extreme hardness prolongs installation time, and more powerful tools are needed.

    An example showing the cost of a single patio project, finished with these above-mentioned wood species, is added in the last line of the "comparison chart". In the example, materials required for the support, structure, wood finishing and labor for installation are included (turnkey project). This should be a good guide to help you choose your wood species.

Comparison Chart
Wood species
Pressure treated (Pine)
Western red cedar
Trex (composite)
Exotic Ipe wood
for termites /
Insects / decay / mildew
10-15 years
Variable upon treatment
10-15 years
20-25 years +++
40 years and
more +++
Movement in service
Very Low
Very Low
Local climate resistance.
Medium / Good
Hardness (Janka).
870 pounds
Low / Medium
580 pounds
Medium / Good
No data available
Excellent / Very Hard
3,680 pounds
Fire resistance NFPA
Low (C - D)
Low (B - C)
Medium (B - C)
High (A)
Like metal or cement
Level of maintenance
Medium / High
Low / none
Low / none
Beauty / Aesthetic
Medium / Good
Life span
15-20 years.
With regular maintenance.
15-25 years.
With regular maintenance.
25 years and more
50 years and more
Little or no maintenance
The example demonstrates the different costs, based on a patio of 192 square feet (12'x 16'), rectangular in shape, at 7" from the ground. The structure (joists, beams) is in pressure treated pine.
Total cost :
$ 2,880.00 or
$15.00 sq. ft.
Total cost :
$ 3,264.00 or
$17.00 sq. ft.
Total cost :
$ 4,608.00 or
$ 24.00 sq. ft.
Total cost :
$ 4,608.00 or
$ 24.00 sq. ft.
Note : Above prices are as an exemple only, to show the cost difference between wood species and composite.

These notes are based on data, statistics and feedback found and available on Internet.
Wood Decking/Patios & Terraces cannot guarantee their validity and assumes no responsibility in the accuracy of this data.
Wood Decking/Patios & Terraces is a division of    ♦   RBQ : 8328-0370-06