Wood Comparison Series: Cedar vs Mahogany Decking Part II

While summer may have drawn to a close, this does not mean the end for deck usage, especially the BBQ! However, it is time to close out Part 2 of the Wood Comparison Series on Cedar vs Mahogany Decking. If you haven’t yet, read Part 1 first.

When looking at cedar vs mahogany decks, it is important to highlight that they are both good choices to build a deck you can take pride in. That being said, both species have different properties or selling points to them.

Hardness and Workability – Lumber to Make Your Deck Last

We know you are not in the habit of building a deck with wood of low quality that you will have to replace in a few years. In fact, most local lumber suppliers or hardware stores won’t offer subpar lumber. When it comes to building a deck, you need to maximize the deck’s life in order to make back not only the money you put into it, but the value of the time it took to build it.

Cedar is a strong wood. It naturally resists rot and has a reliable lifespan. However, cedar is not a very hard wood (though it is stronger than most softwoods), making it prone to denting and damage. Foot traffic, pets, and moving of deck chairs and furniture are all common occurrences that can cause damage to your cedar deck. They also have low strength in shock resistance and are not ideal for steam bending.

That being said, cedar is easy to work with as it cuts well with most tools and machines. You may run into some tearing if cutting across the grain (due to it’s long fibers) but is overall a painless wood to work with. As with mahogany below, pre-drilling is recommended.

If you are looking for a more resilient and stronger wood than cedar, you would turn to genuine mahogany. Genuine mahogany lumber is more than double the hardness levels of western red cedar (most popular cedar lumber in Canada) making it almost invulnerable to every damage that would cause tears and dents.

Genuine mahogany wood is also quite easy to cut with machine and hand tools and can give you a perfect finish to your deck. It is also a fantastic choice if you are looking to steam bend the mahogany to make rounded areas to accentuate your deck.

Are Cedar and Genuine Mahogany Sustainable?

The genuine mahogany offered by Green World Lumber comes only from sustainable plantations in Fiji. These plantations allow for not only sustainable access to genuine mahogany across the globe but also support local families and communities on the island of Fiji. This brings new life and opportunities for the islanders who support the plantations. The government imposes strict regulations on who can operate the plantations as well as ensuring these operators follow the strict rules for trees felled and sold.

Cedar is also a very sustainable tree. It is not considered of any concern by regulating bodies for being over-forested. Especially in North American, there is an abundance of cedar, especially Western Red Cedar, on the west coast.

One thing to note about cedar however, is that it can be an allergen for some people. Allergies to cedar are widespread across North America. Even once the tree has been felled, it can be be a catalyst to allergies and asthma. This could mean that cedar as a decking option may not be a sustainable choice for your home, depending on the sensitivity of the people living there.

The Price of Cedar and Mahogany Lumber

In terms of straight price, cedar is the cheaper option to mahogany. If price is the only factor in determining what wood to choose for a deck, then you have your answer.

HOWEVER,

If you are interested in more than price, genuine mahogany offers you the best value. While it is more expensive, as an exotic hardwood, it also will last you longer. Mahogany wood holds up better as a decking material due to its hardness, which dents and damages infrequently compared to cedar. While mahogany is priced slightly more than cedar, you will have a deck that will last 10-15 years longer and will not require the same level of upkeep to maintain its appearance.