Many of the historic homes from the early 1900s were constructed with covered outdoor porches. The surface of the porch oftentimes was 1x3 Douglass fir tongue and groove boards. I am amazed at how well many of these porches have lasted.
There are several reasons for this in my thinking:
1. Old growth lumber. Fir trees from 100-years ago are not like today’s trees, at all!
2. Installation: Carpenters installed the flooring at a right angle to the house with a slight slope. This allowed any water which may blow onto the porch to drain off naturally using the grove as a gutter, of sort.
3. Lead-based paint. Lead-based paint, for all of its disadvantages, has one upside. It sticks to wood like no tomorrow. Yesteryear’s paint stores bragged about how much lead their exterior paint contained!
Recently, we have used a product on two different jobs that I am quite impressed with called Azek Porch. This product truly gives a special look to that of standard decking. Azek is made from PVC and contains no wood fibers. Azek will not mold and is very resistant to staining.
There is much to like about this product. The unfavorable is economics, as the material is very expensive and installation is about double the standard labor of traditional 6” decking. However, it may well be worth the expense!