What Kind of Lumber is Good For Rainy Weather?

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Water damage? It’s the arch-nemesis of my beloved wooden possessions. Ever watched a heavy downpour and silently winced, thinking about your outdoor furniture? I’ve been there! But guess what? Some woods are like the superheroes of the lumber world, naturally warding off water and moisture.

Curious about which wood types can brave the rain? Let me share some wisdom from my experience. 

Top 10 Wood Types That Can Withstand Rainy Weather

#1: Mahogany


This durable fine-grained marvel is our top pick when it comes to being weather-resilient. Mahogany resists shrinking, swelling, and warping and can tolerate water well, making it excellent for building boats. 

It also has a rustic vibe that is visually appealing and sought after by most. Honduran Mahogany is a rare wood listed on the IUCN Red List, which makes it more expensive than other hardwoods.

#2: Cedar


The Western Red Cedar is a soft wood species that is highly workable and a natural insect repellent for your outdoor project. Famous for shingles and exterior siding, it is the usual pick for dock planks and decks. 

Cedar resists mold and decay but tends to shrink or expand over time, so woodworkers prefer to have it treated, especially when there will be ground contact.

#3: Teak


Teak is a hardwood tree native to Southern Asia that is naturally repellent to moisture, warping, and degrading. It is among the top pick when it comes to shipbuilding as well as flooring. 

Moreover, teak is also insect and termite repellent, which makes it very durable and reliable.

#4: Red Oak

Red Oak

Red oak is among the top picks in the United States. It is readily available and has a visually appealing grain pattern that gives a rustic look. 

It is a pliable wood that is durable enough for furniture and flooring. It does not warp easily and is sometimes used for crafting boat frames.

#5: White Oak

White Oak

White Oak, native to Eastern and Central North America, ranks among the top choices for woodworkers engaged in boat-making and tight cooperation applications. 

Renowned for its exceptional strength, reliability, and resistance to decay, White Oak requires minimal maintenance. Furthermore, it finds versatile uses in cabinetry, interiors, barrels, and veneers.

#6: Redwood


Redwood or pine, scientifically known as Sequoia sempervirens, is native to the Coastal regions of the northwestern US. Among its variants are the California redwood, which has unique characteristics that allow it great durability and appearance. 

It resists decay and water even without being treated. You may opt for a higher-grade redwood to improve its quality further for harsh weather conditions.

#7: Black Walnut

Black Walnut

Black Walnut is endemic in North America but is easy to grow and readily available across the US. It is a Walnut species widely sought for its highly resilient properties and ability to resist warping and harsh weather elements. 

It may be rot resistant, but it has difficulty warding off insects. However, its high moisture resistance still makes it a good option for boat building and coastal construction.

#8: Black Locust

Black Locust

Springing from the tree family of legumes, the Black Locust is native to the Central Eastern region of the US and is highly favored for its excellent weathering characteristics. 

It has a good shrinkage value that makes it ideal for marine applications. Many woodworkers prefer this wood to build boats and docks for its decay resistance.

#9: Cypress


Cypress is a hardwood species from the deciduous conifers of the Cupressaceae family native to the Southeastern region of the US. Other variants include bald, swamp, white, tidewater, red, and gulf cypress. 

The bald cypress is favored for woods that require hard and sturdy features and do well with outdoor application.

#10: Ipe


Ipe, also known as Brazilian Walnut, has a high Janka rating of 3684, making it one of the hardest woods. Its sturdy density and weathering features make it an excellent choice for outdoor projects. 

Ipe is usually found in Central and South America and is used as a decorative tree for residential areas and public spaces because of its aesthetics and overall durability.

How Rain Causes Wood Rot

Unsuitable wood

Going for a cheaper wood may be enticing, but it can cause trouble in the long run. You may consult experts regarding what material works best for your next project and the recommended stores to purchase lumber.  

Poor Upkeep

Consistent maintenance is best for your furniture. Not only does proper maintenance make it more visually pleasing, but it also doubles its lifespan.

Excessive Oxygen and Moisture

Fungi are likely to thrive where moisture and oxygen are present [1]. Since they can damage wood, it is better to ensure that your furniture is free from this dangerous combination.

milled lumber

Inspections After Rough Weather

After a rain outpour, it is best to do a thorough inspection for wood damage. To avoid this, you may:

  1. Inspect the railings to see if there are any cracks or discoloration
  2. Examine the posts and footings to see if they are securely intact
  3. Keep an eye out for any buckling or loose flooring
  4. Run through the fasteners and joists to see if they are in place.

How to Dry Out Wood After the Rain

Water-resistant wood may stop it from being completely wrecked by the rain, but a properly maintained wood surface will do wonders in the long run.

Step 1: Use a push broom and sweep the water off your deck, seating, and railings made of wood.

air drying lumber

Step 2: Check the ledger for flood and water seepage after the rain. You may need a shop vacuum to suck it up as this area is susceptible to degrading.

Step 3: Check the gaps between the boards to see if there is ample space for proper drainage.

Step 4: Consider sealing the deck to prevent further water seepage once dry.


When it comes to rainy weather, a variety of woods can handle the moisture. But here’s the thing – you’ve got choices! Just pick what suits your budget and taste. 

However, a little tip from me: don’t forget to give your wooden furniture some TLC. Regular upkeep and treatments can keep those pesky damages at bay. Stay dry, folks!

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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