Choosing the perfect decking
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- Decking, Gardens, Maidstone
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Are you looking for information about choosing the perfect decking? Isle Landscapers Limited offer decking installations in Maidstone and Kent. Find out more about the considerations to be aware of before choosing your garden decking.
Choosing the perfect decking
Decking is a great addition to any outdoor space, providing an extension to your home and a perfect place to relax or entertain guests. Whether you're looking to replace an old deck or install a new one, choosing the right type of decking is important.
With so many options available, from traditional timber to composite materials, it can be challenging to know where to start. This guide will explore the key factors to consider when choosing the perfect decking boards for your outdoor space, helping you to make an informed decision and create a beautiful and functional outdoor area.
What wood lasts longest for decking?
There are several types of wood that are known for their durability and longevity as decking materials. One popular option is hardwoods such as ipe, tigerwood, and cumaru. These woods are dense, strong, and resistant to rot and insects, making them ideal for outdoor use.
Another option is pressure-treated lumber, which is made from softwood that has been chemically treated to resist rot, decay, and insect damage. This type of wood is less expensive than hardwoods, but still provides good durability and longevity when maintained properly.
It's important to note that the lifespan of any decking material will depend on various factors such as climate, exposure to the elements, and maintenance practices. Proper installation and regular maintenance such as cleaning and sealing can help extend the lifespan of your decking material.
Types of decking
Composite decking, made from a combination of natural materials such as wood flour or rice husks and polymer, is a new material in the market with popular brands like Trex, Eon, and Choicedeck.
The term composite timber is also used to describe this material. Some brands make their decking exclusively from plastic, but it is not preferred due to its limitations. Composites are naturally resistant to rot and insects and require no maintenance.
Cedar and redwood decking
Cedar and redwood are mid range options for decking. These woods last a little longer than pressure treated wood. They have a darker colour than the standard decking and have a slightly more consistent character throughout all of the boards.
Both woods are slightly more costly than pressure treated wood. However, buying these will mean you won't have to replace them as quickly.
Ipe hardwood decking
Ipe is the most expensive option available for decking. It is exotic looking and has a rich, warm colour and unique grain. The decking can last between 30 to 50 years so although the initial outlay may be the most expensive it will pay for itself over time.
The only downside to Ipe is that in order to keep the colour looking great you have to oil the boards once every two to three years. However, this will give them a beautiful colour once again. This will make your decking look bright and new again.
Hardwood decking is a popular choice for enthusiasts of natural wood because of its strength, lightweight, and attractive colour.
Hardwood has natural oils and tannins that resist insects and rot. Adding sealer and stain can protect hardwood from splinters and cracks.
Tropical hardwoods like Ipe are used as a luxury choice and can last up to 50 years. Ipe needs to be acclimatized to conditions outside, or it can become vulnerable and start cracking.
Treated Timber Decking
Treated timber decking involves treating real timber with preservative chemicals to make it resistant to decay, fungi, and insects. Pine is the most common choice in the UK due to its strength and availability.
Some tree species naturally produce durable wood that is resistant to fungi and insects, such as redwood, cedar, and cypress. However, natural wood requires the most maintenance and is prone to splitting, twisting, and algae growth.
Thermowood decking is made from Scandinavian redwood that has been kiln dried for up to 96 hours, making it dimensionally stable, resistant to rot and fungi, and environmentally stable.
PVC decking is fully waterproof, requires low maintenance, does not crack or warp, and lasts a long time.
Aluminium is a versatile and lightweight metal that has many uses in various industries, including construction, transportation, and packaging.
It is a great material for outdoor structures like decks because it is resistant to corrosion and has a long lifespan.
It also has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which means it can support heavy loads without being too heavy itself.
What is the least maintenance decking?
Composite decking is generally considered to be the least maintenance decking option available. Unlike wood, composite decking does not require staining, painting, or sealing, and it is resistant to rot, warping, and insect damage. It also does not splinter or crack like wood.
While some fading or discolouration may occur over time with exposure to the elements, composite decking can typically be cleaned easily with soap and water or a composite deck cleaner to restore its appearance. However, it is important to note that the level of maintenance required for composite decking may vary depending on the specific product and brand.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Decking Material
Price is the most important factor to consider before choosing decking material.
Prices vary depending on availability, and treated wood is usually the most affordable option. Composite wood may cost more to install, but it requires less maintenance in the long run.
Treated timber is the most common decking material and is available in a wide range of shapes and dimensions.
Composite, timber, and hardwood decking are also widely available, but naturally occurring wood may need to be ordered specifically.
Maintenance is a crucial factor to consider before choosing decking material. While no material is completely maintenance-free, some require less maintenance than others. Natural wood and treated wood require water repellent finishes and periodic deck washes to maintain their appearance.
Composite wood is relatively maintenance-free but may require occasional cleaning to remove fading. Hardwood decking requires annual maintenance checks and sealing to retain its original colour.
Health & Toxicity
The timber industry uses safe and natural treatment solutions for treated wood, and there is no evidence of danger to children or adults from crawling on treated wood.
The decking material used is the most important factor in determining the lifespan of your deck.
Natural wood and treated wood have consistently shown long lifecycles, while the durability of composite wood is relatively unknown.
It's important to choose decking material that has minimal impact on the environment. Timber is renewable, non-toxic, recyclable, and sustainable, making it a great choice for decking.
It's important to choose timber that has been sourced from sustainably managed forests, and many decking companies are committed to purchasing and providing customers with timber products that meet this requirement.
What Colour decking is best?
The choice of colour for decking is a matter of personal preference and should be based on your personal style and the overall design of your home and outdoor space. Some people prefer natural wood colours such as brown or gray, while others prefer bolder colours such as red or blue.
It's important to keep in mind that darker colours can absorb more heat, making them hotter to walk on in direct sunlight. Additionally, some colours may fade or weather differently over time, so it's important to choose a colour that will maintain its appearance for the desired lifespan of the deck. Ultimately, the best colour for your decking is the one that you love and fits your design aesthetic.
What thickness of decking is best?
The thickness of decking depends on the material used and the spacing between the joists supporting it. Generally, for treated lumber, 5/4 (1 inch) decking is commonly used for residential decks. However, for hardwood decking, a thickness of 1-1/2 to 2 inches is recommended.
For composite decking, the recommended thickness varies depending on the manufacturer, but it is typically between 1 and 1-1/4 inches. The thickness should also be chosen based on the expected load on the deck and the span between the joists. It is important to consult local building codes and follow the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure a safe and durable deck.
Are you looking for garden decking and hard landscaping Services in Maidstone and Kent? We recommend visiting the following pages on our landscaping services website: