3+1 reasons why Black Locust is the best decking lumber material choice

April 26, 2024

Learn about all the benefits and advantages of Black Locust decking wood from Black Locust Lumber expert D. Stubby Warmbold.

Black Locust lumber is a hardwood that is perfect for exterior decking for several reasons. In our blog today we discussed with Black Locust Lumber expert D. Stubby Warmbold what are the main advantages of Black Locust versus other hardwoods. 

Tropicals have been a more popular decking wood material choice. Why do you recommend Black Locust over Ipe?

Tropical hardwoods such as Ipe have been around for decades in the exterior decking industry. Ipe’s durability and beauty are unquestioned. However, for the modern and conscious consumer, the environmental impact becomes questionable. 

Not only are toxic oils and chemicals necessary to clean and maintain its surface but illegal logging in tropical rainforests also becomes a growing concern. While the U.S. bans import of illegally logged wood from the tropical areas, China does not. Every year China sells more than $15 billion worth of hardwood products to the U.S., which unwittingly fuels the illegal logging of rainforests. 

Black Locust lumber is a native species and not endangered. It is also a faster growing tree than Ipe, making it a more sustainable option for the conscious consumer.  

What is the durability of Black Locust wood?

It is important to note that we are not reinventing the wheel here. In fact, Black Locust lumber has been around for centuries. It is not at all a new material to be used in the exterior architecture. 

In the olden-days pioneers used Black Locust wood to build houses, stick them in the ground as fence posts and even build ships that won wars. The reason behind this is that they knew Black Locust wood would last for several decades. 

Black Locust wood has an outstanding 50+ years of natural longevity without the use of ANY toxic chemicals. At Black Locust Lumber we are simply revisiting our roots.

Black Locust Lumber decking wood at Facebook Menlo Park, C.A.  

What are the maintenance needs of Black Locust decking lumber?

Black Locust decking lumber requires little to no maintenance. There is huge confusion around whether it is necessary to use decking oils on Black Locust decking wood surfaces or not. We need to set the record straight. 

In the past 30+ years, we have incorporated Black Locust wood as decking, siding, site furnishing and permeable paver products in residential and urban projects, we have experienced many situations. 

As experts, we strongly recommend NOT to use oils and chemicals to treat Black Locust wood surfaces. We have seen the damage oils can do to the beautiful surface and transform the otherwise low-maintenance decking lumber into something with high-maintenance needs. 


What is the Black Locust decking wood aesthetic?

At Black Locust Lumber our experts spend a lot of their time talking to architects about their hopes and dreams for a project they are working on. 9 out of 10 times, architects tell us the top reason they decide on using Black Locust decking wood is the aesthetics and natural beauty of the wood. 

And it comes as no surprise. Black Locust decking lumber’s beauty withstands the test of time. A newly installed Black Locust project will have a pale amber to light brown color. Black Locust has beautiful detail and is tight-grained. 

With time and exposure to the natural elements (rain, snow, and UV), Black Locust decking wood develops a silvery-gray patina. The color has a natural aesthetic generally loved by architects. The change in color does not affect the longevity and durability of the wood.

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