It's patio season—that time of year when your backyard becomes another living space. A lot of people will be building decks this over the next few months, so here are some helpful tips we came across to help you pick the right materials for the job.

Whether you plan to do it yourself or hire a pro, the key to success is factoring in all the critical design issues, picking the right material for your budget, climate, and lifestyle, and building a structure that will stand the test of time. [This Old House]


  • The footings for your deck must meet local codes and be installed properly. The depth of your footings, which will be set in concrete.


  • Cedar resists moisture, rot and insect infestations.
  • Douglas fir is very strong, and handles to power tools well. It is also decay, mold and insect repellant.
  • Redwood is easy to work with, naturally decay-resistant and should avoid warping and splitting.
  • Exotic wood choices are the most durable but also more expensive. Most exotic options are environmentally-friendly as well.


  • Clear water sealer is a transparent finish that provides dampness protection for the wood without altering it's natural colour or grain.
  • Tinted waterproofer provides dampness protection with the added benefit of colour enhancement. Long-term protection recommends that you recoat every three years or so.
  • Solid stain offers a rich finish that covers wood completely, but with the benefits of a stain. Solid stains provide long-term protection from natural weathering.
  • Paint is a consideration for less expensive grades of wood, but just remember paint will likely need to be redone or touched up every couple of years.

There's even more guidance and more of a step-by-step information on the DIY Network website. Have you built your own deck before? Share your experience with us on social media!

Posted by Kirby Cox on
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