If you live in Southern California, you know all about the year-round sunny days and gorgeous warm weather. While this is exactly what gives us all the amazing SoCal lifestyle, all that sun can also cause real damage to any home’s outdoor deck.
If you’re planning on adding, updating or building an outdoor deck, you need to take the effects of the sun very, very seriously. Sun damage affects decks differently than moisture but can result in just as much harm. Without using the right materials, too much exposure to sunlight will eventually wear down your deck, and cause it to lose its structural integrity.
With so many deck material options out there, it can be hard to choose the right one. Here is a guide to the best outdoor decking materials for Southern California.
A real wood deck brings a classic and elevated appearance to any home, which is why redwood is one of the most commonly used decking materials in California. It’s low maintenance, is less likely to warp over time, and brings a unique color to any home. Redwood also absorbs moisture in the air, allowing it to not only withstand the sun but the rainy months as well.
For Southern California living, or anywhere else that gets a lot of direct sun, tropical hardwoods are going to be the best option to create a deck that can stand up to the heat. Ipe is one of the highest quality hardwoods and will withstand more aging than other types of wood. It does come with a higher price tag and more upkeep, but it’s a worthwhile investment that will deliver in its longevity and ability to stand up to the heat.
Well known for its ability to fare rainy conditions, teak is also great in sunny climates. It’s very dense, making it extremely durable and less prone to splitting, and can handle rot and mold without breaking down. It also will maintain its color over time, especially when a stain is added, however, it does requires frequent care.
Pine is one of the most popular deck materials, and for good reason. Treated softwoods are a cost-effective option that still stands the test of the elements. A lighter color such as yellow pine will keep your feet cool on hot days, even after the deck has been exposed to direct sunlight. Pine is very resistant to decay, is easy to use for construction, and will hold up for years to come.
If you still want to retain an authentic wood-look without the added maintenance or cost, composite is the way to go. This modern material doesn’t require as much maintenance as real wood and is designed to withstand the elements. It won’t warp or crack easily and will last much longer than wood, both structurally and aesthetically, with minimal upkeep. Composite can be hot to the touch so you may want to opt for a lighter color and test out a few small pieces first. Not all composites are the same, so be sure to choose one that’s high quality and has UV protection to keep your deck looking new, even through those hot and sunny months.
Other Sun Protection Methods
In addition to choosing the right deck material for sunny climates, you should also take extra precautions to make sure it’s protected. Creating a shaded environment by adding a sunshade cover over your deck or planting trees that will help block the sun and reduce damage to your deck. It’s always essential to add a sealant over your deck to protect against all types of weather and make sure it stays preserved by keeping up with routine maintenance.
Getting professional inspections is an important part of upkeep on your deck. The professionals at WICR can add sealant, and perform regular inspections and repairs, to ensure your deck is in tip-top condition – so you can enjoy those sunny days worry-free.