I'm replacing an old deck in my backyard. The existing deck is about 15X15 and is at ground level. I'm trying to decide between treated pine (Ac2) and cedar. Synthetic/composite wood is too expensive and I like the look/feel of real wood. I live in Minnesota, so we get a good amount of harsh weather. Cedar is a bit more expensive, but I just love the appearance. Treated pine lasts about the same amount of time, and is cheaper (or so I'm told). Does one material require less maintenance than the other? Is it suggested that I stain/seal either material?

  • This really depends on the finish you want to give it. Also cedar needs to be heavily heavily sanded. So not only is it more costly but it is a longer install.
    – DMoore
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 21:20
  • 1
    My experience is cedar last longer than pine.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 21:29
  • @EdBeal - if the pine is left unpainted. You prime pine and hit it with an oil based paint and touch it up properly and you will get 30-40 years a board.
    – DMoore
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 22:32
  • The OP wants natural wood. I currently work in the industry and the reason cedar is more expensive is it will outlast everything except redwood. (wood protucts not composite)
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 22:38
  • Cedar has natural oils all through it that extend its life out in the elements with its bark stripped off. Pressure treated pine will probably outlast cedar, but if you want completely natural-looking wood, you'll probably prefer cedar. Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


Definitely Cedar & 1-1/2" thick, if possible. Thicker stuff won't cup & if you had any bounce or flex between joists before due to thinner stock, that will be gone.

The best & most natural finish I've found is One-Time Wood Protector. Though, it must be Sun or UV cured to work.

But, with Cedar you want to let it season for 6-months before you coat it with anything. You lumber supplier can tell you everything you ever wanted to know & may have other & even better options.

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