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Published: Wednesday, 5/10/2006

Cypress Is a Natural Choice For Wood Decking

When it comes to wood decking, more Americans are saying cypress is a natural choice.

Ben Lewis, a college professor and homeowner in Franklin, Ohio, designed and built his own cypress deck because of the wood s beauty and durability.

In the early stages of designing my deck, I was overwhelmed by the many different woods available, explains Lewis. I did a lot of research, and that ultimately led me to cypress. The more I learned about cypress deep coloring and ease of workability, my decision was clear. It was also great to be able to use a material that wasn t loaded with chemicals.

That kind of research is leading thousands of like-minded homeowners to expand beyond using cypress traditionally just for siding, according to Chuck Harris of Custom Lumber Company, a cypress manufacturer in Dothan, Alabama.

Cypress is a durable, natural decking material that requires little maintenance. But Harris advises that homeowners should consider two simple rules for deck maintenance.

The first, Harris said, is to regularly keep the deck clear of leaves and debris that may cause deterioration if left to collect on top of the wood. The second is to apply a good water repellent each year.

Homeowners should also keep the following thoughts in mind:

Since cypress is not a pressure-treated wood, it should not be used on the portions of structures that are in contact with the ground.

Cypress is versatile. In addition to decks, it can be painted or stained and used for porches, gazebos, fence pickets and railings, clapboards, shingles, exterior trim, shutters, window boxes and landscape design elements.

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