Why Wood?

Pressure-Treated Wood is the Popular Choice for Decks


There are some 30,000,000 wood decks in the United States, and that number increases with the demand for new homes, yards and outdoor living spaces. Even though there is an ongoing use of some naturally durable species of wood and several types of artificial wood, the number one chosen material for decks is pressure-treated wood.

There are many reasons that treated wood, which is sold in nearly every lumber outlet in North America, is chosen over other materials.

  • It has a natural appearance
  • Its resistance to termites and rot is well established
  • Wood is a plentiful and renewable resource
  • Treated wood is usually the most economical choice

According to national surveys, more than 80% of all U.S. decks are built entirely or partially with preserved wood. Because of its structural strength and ability to withstand deterioration in ground contact, even when composite decking, redwood or other materials are used for the deck platform, preserved wood is usually used for posts, beams, and joists.

Some treated wood is manufactured with a built-in water repellent which keeps the wood looking good longer. While regular preservative treatments protect wood against termites and rot, they do not slow down moisture damage which can cause warping, cracking, and deterioration of appearance. If you are looking for a water-repellent feature, Ecolife repels water for up to three years, and saves homeowners the time and money from having to seal their decks soon after installation.

Choosing the Right Renewable Wood

Ecolife is one of the most popular pressure-treated wood products used in backyard projects across America. A leading, pro-preferred, above-ground treated wood preservative, Ecolife treated lumber is pressure-treated with a stabilizer to repel water, minimize cracking and keep boards straighter. Pros choose Ecolife to build projects with the added value that only Ecolife offers. They know high-quality Ecolife creates beautiful projects unsurpassed in withstanding extremes in the weather.

Viance treated wood products are the value-added solutions for outdoor projects for these reasons:

  • Ecolife looks last. Homeowners love the look of wood and they want that beauty to last. Natural and sustainable wood treated with Ecolife can keep its beauty for years.
  • Ecolife, repels water for up to three years, which protects wood projects longer by minimizing cracking up to 50% and keeping boards straighter.
  • With seasonal temperature changes and weather extremes, Ecolife is unsurpassed when tested by Mother Nature.
  • Viance stands behind its added-value Ecolife line of products. Ecolife treated wood decking, railing and fencing products are backed by a Lifetime Limited Warranty against fungal decay and termite attack as long as you own your home. This is because Ecolife contains non-metallic preservatives and stabilizers with only a hint of copper to let you know it is treated.
  • Viance Wood preservatives systems; Ecolife (EL2), Preserve ACQ (ACQ) and Preserve CA (CA-C) are all NAHB Home Innovation Research Labs GREEN CERTIFIED PRODUCT[KC1] S for Resource Efficiency and are eligible to contribute points toward a building's certification under the National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS).
Question Real Wood Composite or Plastics What are the facts
Natural Appearance? Yes No There is no substitute for the look and feel of real wood. Wood decking provides a warm, natural look that blends beautifully with the landscape. Composites, even with faux wood grain, still look and feel artificial.
Comfortable under foot? Yes ? Wood is a naturally insulating material and does not conduct heat or cold like metal or composites. In direct sun, composite decking can become much hotter than wood, hot enough to burn or blister feet. In fact, this hazard is noted by some manufacturers on board end tags and some facilities post signs to warn pedestrians.
Economical? Yes No Wood is a very economical choice compared to plastic or composite decking, which may cost up to five times more.
Safe to Use? Yes Yes Pressure-treated wood is safe for people, pets and the environment. Furthermore, advanced preservative formulations contain no arsenic or chromium compounds, yet provide resistance to fungal decay and termite attack.
Renewable? Yes No Wood is the only building material that uses the sun's energy to renew itself in a continuous cycle. Sustainable forestry practices ensure that our supply of homegrown wood will be maintained for future generations. On the other hand, plastics are derived from finite petroleum resources.
Earth Friendly? Yes No The manufacture of wood products uses less energy and produces less air and water pollution than other building materials. The manufacture of plastic decking requires more energy to produce than a comparable piece of wood decking.
Strong? Yes No Wood can be up to four times stronger than plastic or composite products, and possesses up to nine times the stiffness of artificial decking. Wood decking is not affected by heat, which tends to promote creep (sagging) in composites over time.
Needs maintenance? Yes Yes Despite claims to the contrary, all decking requires maintenance. Periodic cleaning and application of a water-repellent sealer are all that is needed to keep a wood deck in top shape. A good scrubbing usually removes most stains on wood decking.
Decay / termite warranty? Lifetime limited Limited Wood preservative manufacturers typically offer a limited lifetime warranty against fungal decay and termite attack in residential use. Plastic or composite deck manufacturers typically offer a limited warranty.
Standardized product? Yes No Lumber production and pressure treating facilities are monitored by approved inspection agencies. These agencies operate under rigorous protocols to enforce uniform performance and quality standards approved by the American Lumber Standard Committee and/or the American Wood Protection Association.

Your Deck, A Place to Create Memories

Memories of time spent in your yard with loved ones will stick with you for a lifetime. They are the basis upon which all outdoor memories are built. That time can include nothing more than grilling out and having good conversation, playing games in the yard with your family, friends or pets, lying down and looking up at the stars, soaking in the jacuzzi in the early evening hours or just simply enjoying the glories of outdoor living.

There is one key element that is the heart of bringing all of these memories together and that is a good, solid deck. It is where you relax when you finish your outdoor activities. It is where you sip your favorite beverage while enjoying the great outdoors. It might even be the place where you can slip into your jacuzzi for a few relaxing moments of time. If your deck is the heart of bringing your memories together, then what should that key element be made of? The answer is simple. It should be constructed of natural, genuine, real and beautiful renewable pressure-treated wood.

But why should you choose pressure-treated wood decking? Here is a list of 16 different reasons why pressure-treated wood is the popular choice for decks:

  • Renewability

    Wood is our only major renewable building product so you can feel good about using it in your building projects. It is an environmentally responsible choice because the trees used are plentiful and fast-growing. The forest industry plants more trees than are harvested each year on managed timberlands. That means that wood, as a renewable resource, will be around for generations. These forests keep reproducing this exceptional building product. Not only that, but wood requires less energy to produce than alternative building products and the preservatives for pressure-treated lumber are manufactured, in large part, from recycled materials.

  • True Green

    Because of its environmental benefits, the USDA has recently recognized wood as a true “green” material in green building design. Viance’s very own Ecolife Stabilized Weather-Resistant Wood was also the first decking product of any kind to receive Green Certified Product recognition by the NAHB Home Innovation Research Labs as a NGBS Green Certified Product for Resource Efficiency.

    You can feel good about the environmentally responsible choice you have made when you choose treated wood for the construction of your deck because wood is our only major renewable building material. The trees used to make your treated wood are grown in managed forests and are plentiful and fast-growing. Moreover, treated wood requires less energy to produce than alternative building products, and recycled materials make up the bulk of the preservatives used in the manufacturing process.

  • Beauty

    Many of the composite decking products on the market have surfaces that are embossed to “look” like real wood. However, that is not the reality because it is not real wood. There is only one product that gives us the natural beauty with all of its grains, knots and whirls and that is real wood. Whether it is stained, painted or left in its natural state, the beauty of real wood is hard to mimic.

  • Appearance

    Treated wood retains its characteristic wood appearance, whereas composite decking may fade and scratch; and in just a few years, the appearance of your composite deck surface may not be what you expected. On the other hand, with effective refinishing, treated wood decking can regain its original look even after years of frequent use, provided there is the right attention to detail and care. Treated wood can also be found a variety of lumber grades making it a very versatile building product when you want to add variety to the appearance of your deck. It can be found in forms from knot-free, close-grained grades to grades that contain more knots and splits or even more wane, which is where there are missing corners where bark once existed. Pressure treating lumber has little effect on its appearance other than giving it a slightly greenish or brownish hue from the treatment process which makes the wood last longer regardless of its appearance.

  • Easy to Use

    When using pressure-treated lumber, there are no special skills, special safety requirements or specialized tools required. It is easy to cut and install. In building, you can’t get much simpler than that. Additionally, replacing surface-mounted deck boards is easy compared to replacing interlocked pieces or deck boards with hidden fastener systems. In those systems, if one of the boards needs to be replaced, you may have to remove a large amount of them to get everything put back together just to replace that one board. Moreover, wood decking boards are a structural material and can span longer spaces than composites can; and if you are going to resurface your deck with composite decking, you might want to check to make sure that you don’t need to spend more money and time to install additional joists to support the composite material.

  • Affordable

    Pressure-treated wood decking is the value choice. Composite decking usually costs three to five times more than treated wood decking. According to the Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report for projects, wood decking retains more value than composite decking. Additionally, a leading consumer product evaluation report lists wood decking as a best buy. So, save money and still get a beautiful deck.

  • Earth Friendly

    In determining which product is better for the environment, we need to look at life cycle assessments. Recent assessments show that the production of composite decking is significantly more damaging to the environment than is the production of pressure-treated wood decking. Most composite materials use the earth’s finite resources such as oil, gas, and petroleum in their production cycles. Since these elements are finite resources, when they are gone, that’s it. They are depleted, never to be restored. On the other hand, trees are planted and grow in managed forests every year, creating healthier forests than we had 100 years ago.

  • Performance

    It is hard not to believe the hype about pressure-treated wood decking being high maintenance. However, there is no truth in the hype. Just like with a maintenance program for anything else that you own such as your car, a pressure-treated wood deck is easy to maintain with a simple maintenance program. It is important to note here that all treated wood is not the same! While the preservative treatment protects wood against termites and rot, it does not prevent damage from moisture which can cause warping, cracking and deterioration of the appearance of the wood. Some treated wood is produced with built-in water repellent which keeps the wood looking good longer.

    Our Ecolife Stabilized Weather-Resistant Wood (EL2) is an innovative wood stabilizing preservative system that protects the natural beauty of above-ground exterior wood from the harmful effects of decay and termite attack. Its built-in water repellency is pressure-treated throughout the wood making the framing and deck surface more stable, with up to 50% less surface cracking and checking as compared to ordinary treated wood. Look for the water repellent feature which is marked on the wood and noted on store signs. The best way to be sure of water repellency is to buy our Ecolife Stabilized Weather-Resistant Wood with EL2 noted on the end tags.

    See the performance difference video on our Ecolife page.

  • Easily Painted or Stained

    Whether you like it natural or stained to complement your home, your wood decking will hold good quality water or oil-based stain/sealer of your choice for years. With the multitude of beautiful stain options available for wood decking; ideally, a good penetrating stain designed for outdoor wood is best for foot traffic vs. film or paint products that can wear off much quicker from decking surfaces.

  • The Natural Choice

    Did you ever walk barefoot onto a paved driveway or plastic surface in the hot summer sun? Wood decking has a much more natural and cooler feel than other decking options. Real wood retains less heat and is less apt to burn your feet than are other decking materials. Wood is also the natural choice for your backyard environment, which probably includes beautiful green grass and perhaps a few trees, flowers, plants. A wood deck is a complement to the natural beauty of these components and provides a natural accent to an environment of hardscapes.

  • Protection

    Coming into contact with the ground makes wood more susceptible to termite and rot damage than wood which remains above ground. When wood is immersed in seawater, it has an even greater vulnerability. There are standard levels of protection established by the wood preservation industry. These standards, which refer to the amount of chemical retained in wood after treatment, or retention, and is measured in pounds of preservative per cubic foot of wood, are adequate for different hazard conditions. The higher the retention level, the more the wood is enabled to withstand more demanding conditions. Look for its intended use on the wood, which stipulates whether it is for above ground, ground contact, etc.

  • Longevity

    Pressure-treated wood resists damage from termites and fungal decay for decades, and Viance backs Ecolife and Preserve products with warranties that extend for the life of the purchaser.

  • Availability of Sizes

    Treated wood products are available in a full range of sizes, lengths and even in plywood. You can buy 1” x 4” boards all the way up to 6” x 6” timbers. A popular thickness for decking material is 5/4”, which has rounded edges for a distinctive look. You can even find many specialty products in treated lumber such as handrails, spindles, lattice, step stringers and ball tops, making it possible to beautify your project while, at the same time, making construction easier.

  • Different Grades

    Unlike other decking materials, lumber has different grades which are determined by certified graders at sawmills prior to the lumber being treated. The grade of lumber is stamped on each piece of wood. For the parts of a deck where the wood will not be seen such as the joists, or in cases where you might want a more rustic look such as in a retaining wall, you can purchase Standard or No. 2 grade lumber, which is also a more economical choice. Likewise, in those parts of a deck where the wood is readily visible, you can select a better grade of lumber such as premium or No. 1.

  • Maintenance

    While pressure-treated lumber is not maintenance-free, it is easy to maintain. Like all decking materials, it requires some form of maintenance, even if it is for nothing else but cleaning. While pressure-treatment provides long-term protection against termites and rot, the wood that is treated is still subject to moisture damage. To protect it against weather damage and premature aging, it is advisable to coat the wood with an effective brand of water repellent as soon as possible and to coat it again every two years. For Ecolife, because it is pressure-treated with a water repellent and stabilizer, there is no need to seal it for up to three years after installation.

  • Safer Preservative Methods

    Residential lumber is now protected by newer, safer preservatives such as copper azole (CA) and alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ), whereas in the past, almost all deck lumber was impregnated with a chromated copper arsenate (CCA) preservative, now prohibited for residential use except in special applications. The wood treated with the newer preservatives is available from lumber dealers under the Ecolife and Preserve brands. Even more importantly for homeowners, these new treatment options extend the life of the wood thus enabling a deck to last longer which, at the same time, reduces demands on forests and other resources.