An outdoor porch is a covered area over the door of a house, typically made from wood. The wood used is often, though not always, tongue and groove. This has a projecting tongue running along one edge and a dimensionally equivalent groove running along the other edge, so that two pieces fit together snugly. The best tongue and groove wood for an outdoor porch, even if money were no object, depends on what kind of person you are and how long you want to spend doing the job.
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In terms of indoor or outdoor appropriateness, there are two types of plywood. These are interior grade and exterior grade. For an outdoor project, you want exterior grade plywood, especially in the UK, whose marine climate tends to deliver many wet days. Look for structural grade plywood too, which is specified for load-bearing purposes. Plywood is also a good choice because it comes in large sheets, namely 2,440mm x 1,220mm. This means you can get the job done fast.
If, like many people, you are concerned about the world's use of resources, you might want to consider using recycled tongue and groove wood. This is wood that has previously been used. The Freecycle website often has free wood on offer. Alternatively, you can often find suitable wood in reclamation centres and other places. Recycled wood may be a little messed up, but you can sand it down with an electric sander and get it looking pristine again.
To lower the cost of your outdoor porch project, look out for special offer packs of tongue and groove wood. At many stores, you can return unused building products, so it might be worth grabbing all the packs on offer, knowing you can bring back any surplus packs. End of range products also offer discounts you might want to take advantage of, as do some trade packs. Further, sometimes, packs are slightly damaged in transit, and are sold off cheaply. Look out for these at your local timber merchant's or DIY store.
Western red cedar
The self-styled UK's leading supplier of speciality timber products, wood finishes and fixings recommends Western red cedar tongue and groove boards for a decking project, and it's a fine wood for an outdoor porch too. The wood is naturally attractive, with rich colour tones and a satin sheen. What's more, it has the bonus of possessing a pleasing aroma. Being durable, stable and resistant to insects and fungi, you may find it is a good choice for a distinctive looking porch.
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