In the past, many homes relied on softer woods for their siding, eaves and trim. These woods looked beautiful initially, but as they faced rain, snow and shine, they softened over time.

Unfortunately, many fungal species love soft wood and moist environments. So if you live in an older home, you can expect wood rot to show itself on a regular basis. If left unchecked, wood rot can spread until it threatens the structural integrity of your home.

But you don’t have to wait until wood rot destroys your home to make repairs. When you call in an expert to restore your home, you can choose rot-resistant woods that will stay strong and look beautiful for many more years to come.

Highly Resistant Wood Species

These highly resistant wood species are dense and hard. Their tightly woven wood fibres keep out water, a feature which in turn keeps out rot. Of course, these hardwoods tend to cost more than other building materials, so you may want to use them sparingly.

Teak sapwood starts as a rich, honey-gold colour, but it whitens to a silvery-grey in the sun. It contains plenty of natural oils and features a tight grain that makes it weather resistant. As a result, it doesn’t require a finish or sealant to repel water and stay strong.

But because of its strength, teak tends to blunt wood-working tools, making it difficult to process and expensive to refine.

Mahogany has a red-brown colour that tends to darken with age. When cut correctly, mahogany also exhibits chatoyancy, a feature which gives the wood a striking three-dimensional or iridescent look.

Although rot resistance varies depending on the growing conditions, this dense hardwood offers plenty of durability and versatility for wood working projects.

Moderately Resistant Wood Species

If you don’t want to spend a fortune on highly resistant woods, the following wood species should give you plenty of strength and durability to prevent rot. Keep in mind that these woods need a little more care to retain their natural strength.

Spanish Cedar
Spanish cedar looks like mahogany. It has a red-brown colour that darkens with time, and it has random pockets of natural oils that repel water and make it resistant to termite attacks.

But unlike the above hardwoods, cedar has a low density and softness, so it requires extra sharp cutters for processing and finishing.

White Oak
Despite the name, white oak wood tends to have a light brown colour with an olive cast. It contains tyloses that give it a closed cellular structure, so it can effectively weather rain and humidity (and subsequently rot).

Due to its resistance, white oak remains a popular choice among coopers and shipbuilders, though more and more homeowners choose it for interior finishing and trim.

Mildly Resistant Wood Species

If you have a tight budget, you can opt for cheaper wood species with mild resistance to fungi, insects and other pests. However, these woods need a lot of maintenance to stay in great shape.


Sapwood from a redwood tree tends to have a pale yellow colour, though the heartwood colour ranges from a light pink-brown to a deeper red-brown. Rot resistance tends to vary depending on the age of the tree; older trees offer more durability than younger trees.

However, even old trees crack and succumb to rot when exposed to constant moisture and humidity. To keep out water, you’ll need to seal the wood with an outdoor water sealant or regularly apply an oil finish.


Cypress often has a light, almost white-brown colour, with the occasional pocket of darker wood. As with redwood, cypress’ ability to resist rot varies depending on the age of the tree; older trees offer the most durability.

To increase the rot resistance, you should apply a water-repellent sealer on a regular basis.

Choose Your Materials With Care

The above woods are all great options for your next home improvement project. When you pick these woods, you can feel confident knowing that your shed, deck or patio will last a long time.

But if you don’t feel comfortable picking the right wood for your home, talk to a restoration expert about additional advantages and disadvantages for available wood species.