How To Select Timber Decking For Your Garden Project.
If you are intending on undertaking a decking project there are four main types of timber decking available at the moment which are softwood, hardwoods, cedar and recycled plastic all have advantages and disadvantages which the GardenAdvice advisor team have listed below
Softwood decking – Although the cheapest of all the types of decking board it has the most disadvantages. Over a number of years the GardenAdvice team have observed that softwood decking in the UK climate does not perform well. The main problem is that after a short period of time it can become very slippy in conditions where light moisture exists such as early morning dews or light rain .The slippy surface is cause by an algae growing on the decking and combining with the moisture to create a slippery surface. Although the decking can be cleaned or jet washed the algae seems to return quite quickly. The only solution is that when a softwood timber decking is first laid and whilst the decking is dry treat the area with a decking paint or sealant. This treatment will need to be repeated every 12 to 18 months on a decking with normal use
Hardwood Decking – There are a number of hardwoods available on the market sold as decking boarding and although more expensive than softwood decking boards hardwood tends to last at least five time longer than softwood decking – its really a case that you get what you pay for. Hardwoods can be left untreated in which case most of them tend to age to alighter colour or they can be treated with a oil such as a teak oil every 12 months. This treatment is a simpler process than painting softwood decking as the oil can be applied generally and worked into the decking with a yard brush with the head covered in old
cotton clothes. The installation time for hardwood decking is going to be longer than softwood decking
simply because it takes longer to cut , drill and screw down thanany other decking board. Whilst mentioning cutting the boards it also worth taking note that because of the expense of
hardwood decking and the way it can expand and contract it worth finding out before you start the design of your decking area what decking board lengths are available so that you can lay the boards
in whole lengths and minimise wastage and joints. Apart from the cost the real downside to hardwood decking is often the source. It is often cut from rain forests in many parts of the world
that have no replanting program so you have to select your hardwood decking carefully to avoid this problem.
Cedar Decking – Cedar decking often offers the best of all the other types of decking, the price is normally midway between softwood and hardwood decking and although quite a soft material because it’s backed with resins its classed as hardwood with a long life. As easy and quick to install as a softwood decking with the looks of a first class hardwood decking board and lasts a similar length of time. On the
environmental issues most cedar decking comes from Canada and the trees used to produce the decking are from a renewable source which in simple terms means all the trees cut down are replaced by
re-planting to replace them so there is a proper crop rotation.
Plastic Composite Decking – composite decking boards normally produced from recycled plastics. Over the last few years the decking boards produced by this method are starting to look the same as hardwood decking but with the advantage of a range of colours. Although expensive a few years ago the price coming down and now is at a level in most cases where its on the same level as a hardwood decking board. Plastic composite decking is especially useful where the conditions are
challenging such as decking projects near to the seas such as Pontoons and Quayside decking plus areas which receive were high levels of wear from vehicle or foot traffic.