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Treated Wood vs Cedar Decking and Fencing - Which is Better?

When it comes to decking and fencing materials, there are many readily available types and styles to choose from. The two most common wood types available for decking are Treated wood and Cedar. These readily available wood materials make for great quality decks and fences that can last a long time, even decades, if taken care of properly.

We'll be going over the Pros and Cons of treated wood and cedar wood. This information will help you make the decision of which decking or fence material is right for you.

Treated Wood

Pressure treated wood is a pine wood that has been chemically treated to increase rot resistances and lifespan as well as help prevent damage from insects. Treated wood will last 20 - 23+ years if maintained properly.

Pros of Treated Wood


Treated wood is the most cost effective deck and fence wood option. It's used on the substructure on most decks and is a very common material used for decking and fencing as well. This cost makes it an attractive choice when it comes to selecting a material.


Treated wood can be used throughout every stage of the deck building process. It can also be used for multiple features on the same deck, including pergolas, benches, privacy screens, etc.


Treated wood has come a long way over the years. It holds up well to the elements as long as its maintained properly and can last decades.


Many treated wood manufacturers offer warranty on treated wood these days. With the advancements in staining and treating wood, they're confident their product will last.

Easy to Repair

If there's damage or an issue with the decking, fencing or treated structures down the road, it's an easy and quick process to find the same materials and install it promptly.

Rot and Insect Resistance

Treated wood is resistance to rotting and insects. The treatment repels water and insects that are prone to damage wood.

Readily Available

Treated wood is readily available at most local hardware stores. If you need to fix or add on to a deck, it won't take long to get the materials.

Cons of Treated Wood

Fading and Discoloration

While in the sun and weather, treated wood is prone to fading and discoloration, as such, it requires regular staining every 2-3 years.

Splits and Checking

With the harsh weather conditions and freeze thaw cycle, water can enter the pores of the treated wood and cause the wood to expand and contract which in turn causes cracks and splitting in the wood. Applying a sealant will help with this process.


Treated wood comes with the added maintenance of staining the deck or fence every 2-3 years, applying water sealant and regular pressure washing. This maintenance can take time away from your day and is enough to turn those looking to build a deck or fence to a more maintenance free option.


Treated wood is treated with chemicals, the chemicals used to treat the lumber can be harmful to the environment. When the wood is cut it can release these harmful chemicals. Due to this, pressure treated wood should not be used for vegetable gardens and only used in well ventilated areas.

Cedar Wood

Cedar is a popular decking and fencing material option due to it's aesthetics, natural rot resistance, smell and relatively low cost. Cedar can last 18 - 21+ years when properly maintained.