There are lumber alternatives that fall into 5 general categories
1. Wood products with different types of wood preservatives
Alkaline Copper Quaternary, or "Quat" for short is manufactured by Chemical Specialties, Inc. (CSI) replaces the toxic chromium and arsenic in the CCA treated pressure-treated lumber. There is also a treatment called ACZA. It stands for Ammoniacal Copper Zinc Arsenate. It still has arsenic , but the worst is CCA-treated woods.
2. Wood product that is naturally resistant to decay.
Naturally resistant woods such as redwood and cedar have limited availability and their environmental impact differ widely. Redwood is readily available in the West Coast, but mostly comes from clear-cut old-growth forests which represents depleted natural resources which cause serious environmental damage due to the loss of habitat and watershed.
These other products do not have the same type of life span and will require continued maintenance in order to get any kind of life out of the deck system. Softwoods such as Cedar to not hold up as well.
3. Using composites and PVC material that are man-made
The Ecology Center does not endorse plastic lumber for waste and health reasons. That being said composites do offer a great solution on many levels over pressure-treated lumber.
4. Lumber that has been recycled
You can use reclaimed and recycled lumber such as redwood or Cedar, which can be found at building material reuse centers. This does not have any impact on the environment and typically is going to cost you a little less money. If you decide to use a cheaper nonresistant wood that you seal with oils to add some resistance, then you have a labor cost and replacement cost that will happen more often.
5. Brazilian woods
Your absolute best solution is to use a Brazilian wood. It is the hardest densest wood in the world and it has a 75 to 100 year lifespan. Although it is going to cost you more on day one it will ultimately cost you less after 15 years than any other material that you might use. Your return on your investment is excellent since people recognize Brazilian decks as the highest level of decking available.
For additional information about all materials call one of our experts 770-587-3325