When it comes to decking and siding materials, nothing can truly compare to the timelessness of wood products. Wood has been around for ages and has proven to be a favorite for homeowners everywhere.

Although wood, in general, is a popular material, the truth is that not all woods are made equal. In fact, some types of wood are better suited for use as siding and decking than others.

Because these areas get exposed to the elements, and moisture in particular, it is best to choose rot-resistant wood types.

Why Rot-Resistant Wood Is Best

The wood used for siding and decking gets little to no protection. This means it is regularly exposed to things like rain, snow and sunlight. While all of these things are damaging, nothing is more damaging than moisture, which can occur in a wide variety of ways. Whether it is from rain, snow, humidity or tree and plant leaves, excess moisture can take its toll on wood.

Softwoods tend to attract more moisture, fungi and insects, and, therefore, rot. Rot leads to weak, brittle wood that breaks easily and can quickly become a serious health and safety hazard if left untreated. While there are ways to protect non-rot-resistant woods, it’s better to choose something naturally resistant to rot.

Hardwoods are more durable and more resistant to these problems, making them an ideal option for outdoor wood flooring, wood decking, and siding. There are many different options for rot-resistant wood siding and wood decking, though some are more resistant than others.

Rot-Resistant Wood Options

1. Batu

One option for rot-resistant wood is Batu, also known as Red Balau Hardwood. This beautiful, non-treated wood has a look similar to Mahogany, ranging in colors from medium to deep reds, and there are even browns with hints of purple.

It offers a high life expectancy when protected with a wood stain, but is otherwise maintenance-free. Batu hardwood is also three times harder than Douglas Fir and seven times harder than Cedarwood, with a score of 2,100 pounds on the Janka Hardness Scale.

This means it is reasonably resistant to marking from things like hail and falling debris.

Other benefits of Batu include being kiln-dried to minimize shrinkage and maximize stability. Batu wood is insect-resistant, rot-resistant and even offers a Class A Fire Rating, the highest fire safety rating products can have.

2. Ipe

By far, the most durable option for rot-resistant wood siding or decking is Ipe wood or Brazillian Walnut. This deep brown wood has a score of 3,680 pounds on the Janka scale, making it one of the hardest woods on the market.

Other benefits of Ipe include being incredibly stiff, and therefore, more resistant to bending than other woods.

The most significant benefit to Ipe wood is that it is very insect and water-resistant, and therefore, rot-resistant.

Beyond that, like Batu wood, it is also fire-resistant, with a Class A Fire Rating, and is easy to maintain. Other than protecting it with oil or stain every few years, it does not require anything beyond a simple cleaning to remove dirt and debris, like any material.

3. Cumaru

Cumaru wood, also known as Brazillian Teak or Chestnut, is another excellent option for rot-resistant wood decking and siding.

Like other woods on this list, it requires very minimal maintenance and is an incredibly durable hardwood option.

It ranks just under Ipe wood on the Janka Hardness Scale, with a score of 3,200 pounds.

Like Ipe and Batu, Cumaru wood boasts a Class A Fire Rating and is insect-, water-, and, of course, rot-resistant.

When installed correctly and properly maintained, Cumaru wood siding and decking can last 50 years or more.

4. Angelim Pedra

Angelim Pedra is another form of Brazillian hardwood that is popular as rot-resistant decking material. It is not as high on the Janka Scale as Batu, Ipe and Cumaru, only having a score of 1,720 pounds; however, it is resistant to wood-boring insects and fungi, which also makes it a rot-resistant wood.

Like the other woods listed so far, it is relatively easy to maintain and only requires an oil or stain finish to preserve the natural golden brown color. Another benefit to Angelim Pedra wood is that it is a more cost-effective option.

5. Cambara

Cambara is a type of Mahogany wood that is kiln-dried to provide maximum stability and is a beautiful, classic wood option. It comes in a range of pink to golden-brown colors that is consistent through the boards.

Cambara is similar in durability to Red Cedar and Redwood, making it moderately durable and earning a score of 860 pounds on the Janka scale. It is easy to install and is resistant to insects and rot.

6. Tigerwood

Finally, there is Tigerwood, also known as Goncalo Alves wood. It is a beautiful, distinctive wood that ranges from yellow-orange to more orange tones, with distinct black markings.

Tigerwood ages well and is more durable than Cambara and Angelim Pedra woods, with a 1,850 pounds Janka rating. It is a great option that is resistant to rot, decay, insects, and fungus, and if you want to learn more about it, read our Tigerwood flooring pros and cons comparison.

Which Wood Is Best?

There are many options when it comes to rot-resistant wood on the market. Which one is best for you depends on what exactly you are looking for, where you live and your budget. If you live in a state that is prone to wildfires and want wood siding or decking, then you have to choose between Batu, Ipe or Cumaru woods. These offer the highest Fire Ratings and are safe for use in states like California.

But if wildfires aren’t a concern, you can consider some of the other options on the list, depending on what you need and want.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

Learn More