The onset of the Gold Rush in California in 1848 brought thousands of prospective people to the state, hastily setting up structures and settlements in short periods of time. Looking up at the massive redwood trees foresting Northern California, the gold prospectors must have thought they struck gold in terms of building material!
What are the top sustainable wood choices for outside?
Anthology Woods is receiving increasing inquiries about the best woods to use for decking that will have long-lasting durability and a beautiful look while protecting our environment. The same species selected for Decking also make excellent choices for exterior siding in classic and rain screen applications, as well as soffit cladding. We've compiled a quick list of your best bets in terms of beautiful woods excelling in exterior durability & sustainability.
1. POST-CONSUMER RECLAIMED TROPICAL WOODS (the finest ALTERNATIVEs TO RAINFOREST IPE)
As we discussed in a previous post, the immense market demand for newly harvested tropical hardwoods for exterior applications has caused unprecedented deforestation in the Amazon Basin and elsewhere in the world. It's no wonder these woods are desirable - tropical hardwoods stand up exceptionally well to the cycles of sun, wind, rain and repeated abuse. Luckily, there are a few post-consumer reclaimed options (meaning the wood is entirely recycled from a previous use, and no trees are currently being cut to provide for your project)! You can either opt to finish your reclaimed tropical hardwood with an exterior finish or to leave it unfinished and allow it to weather. Finished wood will always last longer, regardless of species.
Reclaimed Sakhay Teak is a premium old-growth Teak reclaimed from vintage structures in Southeast Asia. The rich brown color tones & lively grain of Teak are distinctive to this species, and the natural oil & silica content in the wood makes it an exceptional choice for exterior projects.
Reclaimed Dinizia is originally from Brazil, with rock-hard density, extreme durability and excellent resistance to decay and insects. Along with Teak, Dinizia is in the class of woods that can last for decades outside.
With a Reclaimed tropical hardwood you are getting the ultimate: the best sustainability and the best durability. Your reclaimed wood comes with reclaimed character to testify visually to your part in preserving our planet, too!
2. POST CONSUMER RECLAIMED DOMESTIC WOODS PROVIDE REGIONAL AND LOCAL OPTIONS
Domestic species from reclaimed sources are very sustainable, though they are not in the same A+ class for long-lasting durability as the tropical woods are. Species like Redwood & Cedar are suitable for decking and siding, and Fir is often used in soffits or on siding with an exterior finish. Unfinished Fir will age rapidly, though it is used frequently in the northwest.
3. SALVAGED OR FSC SUSTAINABLE WOODS
Another great source can be salvaged or sustainable harvest woods. Anthology Woods has begun working with partners to bring salvaged and sustainable woods to market including domestics like redwood & cedar, and tropical Mahogany. Sources include urban, industrial, water or forest floor salvage, or in some instances, wood from sustainably managed forests. These are often excellent woods in terms of lasting service & beauty, though they seldom match the sustainability of a truly recycled wood, and rarely have as interesting of a story. Their advantage is often longer & more consistent lengths than are common for reclaimed woods.
Please contact Anthology Woods with any questions about sustainable decking, siding, or soffit wood and we'll be happy to support your project with our expertise & wide range of options!