Keeping Your Cool: The Best Natural Decking Material for Hot New England Summers

best natural decking material

Coming off a 100º weekend and looking at a forecast filled with days in the high 80ºs and 90ºs, we’re reminded how important it is to consider the hot, humid New England weather when choosing the best specialty lumber for the exterior of your home. Specifically the best natural decking material, which you and your family need to be able to walk on without suffering third degree burns.

When customers come in to our lumberyard in search of the best natural decking material, they often have these requirements in mind:

1. Moisture-resistant

2. Durable & stable

3. Aesthetic—it has to look great!

To these customers, we often recommend the following decking materials, which will each stand up to the extreme heat and humidity of New England…and also look fantastic in your back yard.


Pronounced “ee-pay,” this type of wood comes from the rainforests of South America and has become wildly popular for use as decking material. Ipe is resistant to rot, insects, and fire, stays cool by rapidly dispersing the heat absorbed from the sun, does not require treatment, making it a more eco-friendly decking option, and requires minimal care and maintenance—it can last for years and years without cracking or splintering. On top of all that, ipe is a unique and beautiful looking wood.

Western Red Cedar

Moisture-resistant? Check. Durable? Check. Aesthetic? Of course. But Western Red Cedar is also pleasantly aromatic and a natural insect repellant. As if that weren’t enough, Western Red Cedar is also lightweight, easy to work with, and incredibly versatile.


On the West Coast, Redwood is the predominant decking material…and for the same reasons hey we recommend it to our customers. Redwood is resistant to warping and shrinking, more so than other softwoods. Why? Redwood actually absorbs the moisture from the air, allowing planks to stay safely in place for a long time. Bonus: a Redwood deck makes a real statement!

Southern Yellow Pine

The biggest benefit of Southern Yellow Pine is its price point. If the price tag of Cedar or Redwood decking doesn’t fit into your budget, then Southern Yellow Pine is a good alternative. It’s a strong wood that will last for many years, if treated properly. Southern Yellow Pine absorbs stains and pains beautifully, and stays nice and cool under those toes in the hot summer sun.

Barney & Carey has been the leading provider of specialty lumber and decking materials since 1922, delivering to Eastern MA and Cape Cod. Our team of expert craftsmen is always happy to help customers find the proper materials and tools for their project. Come in to our shop in Avon, MA and see why Barney & Carey has stood the test of time, supplying craftsmen, woodworkers, furniture makers and cabinetmakers with the high quality lumber they need to do what they do best.

Looking for a Specific Type of Lumber? Need a Specialty Bit or Blade? 

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