There are several important things to consider before you go out and buy any old wood to build your patio stairs. Some woods are naturally better than others, and certain woods will need more care and attention in order to get your money’s worth out of them. Below are three tips on how to go about selecting the right wood for your patio stairs.
Consider the Pros and Cons
Every type of lumber has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of outdoor use. The first thing you should always do is conduct a little research to find out what the best possible wood is for your design. Of course, you also need to check out what types of lumber are actually available in your area, and how much they cost. Prices will vary slightly depending on where you shop, but for the most part, you will get what you pay for anywhere you go.
You can find out the pros and cons by researching on the internet, or asking an employee at a home improvement store with a good lumber selection. Be wary of major price gaps between expensive and cheap woods. If one type of lumber is drastically lower in price than another, there is bound to be a critical disadvantage that may or may not affect your choice to use it for your wood patio steps.
Treating, Painting and Staining
Some woods are naturally more resilient to the elements than others, but any wood will benefit from being pressure treated and sealed with either paint or stain. Regardless of the type of wood you have, sooner or later it is going to be affected by water and sun damage, as well as general wear and tear. Buying pressure treated wood is the first step in protecting against water. Staining will further protect it against water, and some stains will also offer UV protection. If your patio steps won’t have any shade, you may want to consider painting though, as it offers the best water and UV protection.
Once you know which you want to do, be sure to select materials that are good for use on the specific wood you’ve chosen to work with.
Preferred Outdoor Woods
There is a wide range of wood that is acceptable for outdoor use when combined with the right sealant. Two types of wood widely considered the best for outdoor building of any kind are redwood and cedar. This is because they are both naturally resistant to weather damage, are easy to work with, and have a reputation for being long lasting wood even when not treated, stained, or painted. Bear in mind though, that no wood is going to last as long as you probably want it to without some degree of treatment, stain, or paint.
It is genuinely hard to actually purchase wood that would be bad for outdoor use. However, always be sure to ask about a particular wood at the store before actually purchasing it, just in case.