black locust decks

A Review Of Black Locust Decking: Pros, Cons, Durability, and Cost

Using black locust wood to build your deck can be a wise decision. The hardwood is quite strong and has at least 50+ years of longevity.

Since the wood is the least concern on the IUCN list, having black locust decking will not cost much to install and maintain. After all, black locust timber is popular for outdoor decks, fences, and outdoor furniture.

Is Black Locust a good wood for decking?

Many things constitute good wood. And black Locust is one of the species that is easy to find, affordable, and low maintenance.

Being one of the hardwoods, black Locust for decking is also termite and rot-resistant. It also has good water resistance. Therefore, most people use it for outdoor uses like a deck and fences.

It’s easy to mistake this wood for a honey locust. The main difference is in color and weight. Black locusts tend to be heavier and have a wider color range with more green and yellow tinge.

Keep in mind that some people have reported respiratory issues when they have black locusts on their floor for a while. It’s still uncommon but not unheard of that this wood can cause eye and skin irritations.

Why should you use black locust wood for a deck?

As a hardwood, black Locust is highly affordable. You don’t have to worry about waiting for the timber.

It’s available all year round, and in some areas, the growth of black locust count as invasive. That is why the timber price is always affordable.

When considering Black Locust wood for your project, you do not have to worry about the quality. It has a Janka scale rating of 1700 pounds-force, which is less than half of the rating for Ebony or Ipe wood, but it is still strong enough for decking.

The properties of hardwood, such as weather, water, and termite-resistant, are the reasons why the timber is popular for outdoor use.

You can use it for your fence or an outdoor deck. A black locust decking also can last at least 50+ years with minimum maintenance.

Black locust pros and cons

The most prominent benefit of using this wood is the price. You can cut the installation and maintenance costs by having black locust timber as your deck. The wood is sturdier than white oak. And it also has a versatile coloration.

You can oil or wax it to keep it natural or paint the wood any color you like. Keep in mind that the wood will naturally darken over time. The darkest it can get is a rich orange russet color.

Another thing you should know about black locust timber is that it has good slip resistance. Adding to the high durability makes the wood a perfect choice for your outdoor plan.

However, it’s not one without issues. Many reports state that Black locust wood can be troublesome to cut. And when you compare it to other hardwood, you will find this timber is more prone to splitting.

Black locust decking maintenance

Like other hardwood decks, you won’t have any difficulties with the black locust ones. However, remember that the finishing may affect your maintenance method.

If you lighten your deck or paint them, you need to check for the paint chip more regularly than the natural or stained finish. But generally, you will only need to sweep and mop the deck once a week.

You can use a regular hose to clean the deck. Make sure that you can see any chipping or imperfection in the wood.

There is no need for concern about minor discoloration, particularly if you reside in a location that receives a lot of sunshine.

If you choose to have black locust decking, make sure you also check with the fitter on the best way to maintain it. They will suggest the product and general maintenance instructions.

If you insist on doing it yourself, you can reapply the oil once every couple of years. It depends on the finish that you choose.

Ipe vs Black Locust decks

Most people use this timber as an alternative for Ipe primarily for the price.

Compared to the Brazilian Walnut, the black Locust will only cost a fraction of the exotic wood. With the right finish, you can make the more affordable timber looks like the expensive one.

Since both species are hardwoods, they share the same qualities. Both are rot-resistant, insect and termite-resistant, and also have water-resistant qualities. But since Ipe is an exotic wood, it holds a protected status that makes the price can soar high.

Most people choose to have an engineered Ipe or a laminate wood to look like Ipe. Unfortunately, people forget that an Ipe deck can be grey easily, while the black locust decking can hold its natural color longer.

Black locust timber is a good alternative for an affordable floor or deck with an equally strong grain pattern.

Projects incorporating Black Locust wood tend to have a lifespan comparable to those using Ipe hardwood due to its durability and rot resistance.

Being a natural block means you don’t have to look at engineered woods, tile, or laminate. It’s also available all year round at the same price.

How long will a Black Locust deck last?

A Black Locust deck can last for 30-50 years or longer.

The closed-grain cell structure and natural anti-fungal compounds present in Black Locust wood, such as tyloses and extractives, contribute to its resistance to rot and overall longevity.

Tyloses, plant tissues that block cell vessels, make the wood watertight, further increasing its durability. This makes Black Locust ideal for outdoor decking and other applications where rot resistance is important.

Black locust flooring

black locust flooring

Is Black Locust wood suitable for indoor flooring? Yes, it is a great option for flooring due to its hardness and durability.

Black Locust wood is just as hard as African Padauk and much harder than Black Walnut.

It’s also about one-third harder than Red Oak and about 77% as hard as Santos Mahogany which has a ranking of 2200.

Its grain pattern and warm golden tone add durability and beauty to any high-traffic area, such as a room, kitchen, office, showroom, or outdoor space.

What common uses of black locust wood?

black locust wood

Black Locust wood has a variety of common uses, including fence posts, boatbuilding, flooring, furniture, mine timbers, railroad ties, turned objects, and veneer.

Due to its strength and durability, it is often compared to hickory as the strongest and stiffest domestic timber. However, it also has the added advantage of stability and rot resistance.

Black locust decking price

Black Locust decking can range from $1 to $3 per linear foot for whole posts and $1.50 to $3.50 per board foot for milled lumber.

This is higher than the prices of most conventional hardwood lumber.

Black Locust wood is available in various sizes and grades, such as 5/4 x 6, 5/4 x 4, 1 x 6, 1 x 5, 1 x 4, 1 x 3 (cladding), 2 x 6, and 2 x 4.

These options come in different finishes like s4s/e4e, pre-grooved, Select & Better, and #1 Common grades, and they are kiln-dried to a 12% moisture content.

They also come in lengths ranging from 3 feet to 12 feet, with prices varying from $2.75 to $14.99 per linear foot.

Black Locust dimensional lumber is available in sizes up to 12″ x 12,” and lengths up to 16 feet, and Midwest offers it as “Rock Solid Lumber.” The pricing for this rough lumber starts at $2.50 per board foot.


Black Locust is an incredibly resilient and durable decking material that retains its beauty and remains strong for many years of outdoor exposure.

Its natural properties make it one of the most sustainable and durable woods available, making it ideal for outdoor projects in all climates.

Due to its resistance to rot, decay, mildew, and insects, Black Locust wood is an excellent choice for decking projects that require long-lasting, low-maintenance solutions.

Whether you are building a new deck or replacing an old one, Black Locust is ideal for its durability, sustainability, and resistance to the elements.