Timber & Composite Decking: The Pros & Cons

 

Australians love their outdoor areas, and these days most outdoor areas around our home include a deck.  Whether it's used for entertaining or just a place to lounge around on, a deck is an investment that will add value to your lifestyle and to your property value.

We are fortunate to have many materials to choose from in Australia to build a deck to suit your lifestyle and your budget.  From timbers through to composite decking, the choices are seemingly endless.  In this article we will explore the various options and the pros and cons of each choice.

Timber Decking

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Until recently, the only choice of material for a deck was timber.  There are many timbers that can be used to build your deck from softwoods, imported hardwoods and Australian hardwoods.  Softwoods, such as treated pine, are the cheapest materials on the market that are commonly used to build decks.  Although the initial cost of treated pine is cheap, it also has the shortest lifespan of around 10 years.  Considerations to take into account with treated pine is that It also warps quickly and will split within a short amount of time.  The most popular materials for decking on the market are the imported hardwoods such as merbau which is the one that most people would recognise.  Imported hardwoods are the cheapest of the hardwood decking boards available on the market and have a longer lifespan than treated pine lasting over 15 years, depending on how it's looked after.  The next class of timber decking, and the most expensive, are the Australian hardwoods.  These timbers are harvested from sustainable forests and are the highest quality timbers available.  These timbers  include blackbutt and spotted gum which are very beautiful and hardwearing.  All timber decks need to be maintained over their lifetime with cleaning, sanding and oiling to maintain their appearance and durability.  How often you do this depends on a few factors such as if your deck is under cover or out in the open elements.  If you maintain your deck on a regular basis you will increase it's lifespan and keep it looking in top condition.

Composite Decking

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A relatively new range of products on the market are composite decking boards.  There are many to choose from and they vary in price, quality, texture and appearance.  These are more expensive than natural timbers but tend to be more scratch resistant and don't need ongoing maintenance such as sanding and oiling.  The cheapest of the composite decking boards is Eco Deck.  Eco deck can easily warp and buckle under some conditions and has a short life span of around 10 years.  New Techwood and Trex decking boards are the leading brands on the market in composite decking.  They are a much denser board with a thicker profile and are scratch resistant.  They have a wood grain texture and are available in a wide range of colours.  A big advantage that these boards have over others is that they are screwed down with hidden fixings so screws and nails are not visible giving a clean, neat finish to your decking.  

Contact us today to discuss your landscaping and decking needs.