Decking Material Options
In the world of decking, there are more material options to choose from today than ever before. This is a great thing, as it means consumers are able to get more specific about what they want and choose a material that fits the look and style they are going for.
Traditionally, the only type of decking available was timber decking, and while timber decking came in many different species, people were still limited to purely wood-based decks. Today you can select from both timber and composite variations of decking.
Thinking of timber decking conjures up feelings of warmth and earthiness. In contrast to this, composite feels easy to maintain and less expensive to purchase initially. Which one you choose will ultimately depend on your unique requirements. If you’re reading this article, it means you are about to gain a deeper understanding of both composite and timber decking materials, including their advantages and disadvantages.
Having only been around for a few decades, composite decking is still very much a young material on the scene. Even today, refinements and improvements are still being made to composite, resulting in better consumer options. In essence, composite is an eco-friendly, man-made product. It is usually composed of a mixture of plastic and timber and around 95% recycled wood fibres and recycled plastic.
Advantages of Composite Decking
- Composite decking is one of the hardest and toughest materials available on the market today.
- Unlike timber, it is capped on all sides. This means that it is built so that it is resistant to UV damage, staining, scratching and mould.
- It is aesthetically pleasing.
- It is maintenance-free. This means none of the annual upkeep and staining with timber is required.
- Composite decking is now available in a variety of colours and styles, which means that you will be able to find something to suit your unique needs.
- Some composite decking is so close to timber in the way it looks that you could easily substitute it and be hard-pressed to tell the difference.
- Installation is very easy and requires no tools or complicated fitting methods.
Disadvantages of Composite Decking
- When first purchased, composite can be more expensive than traditional timber alternatives. This however is balanced out in the long term, as composite will have no upkeep and maintenance costs that are generally associated with timber.
- If you opt for the cheap and low-quality composite, you may find that it doesn’t pass for the premium timber look. The materials used in lower-grade composite, along with the finish, can leave your deck looking quite plastic and cheap.
Once installed, the composite itself cannot be modified, unlike timber. In the case of timber, if you wanna change the look, you can strip it back and repaint and reseal.
What’s there to be said about timber? It’s been around since the dawn of time and it’s been the number one choice in decking for eons. Timber is an earthy and reliable material that adds a layer of life to your home and you can opt for both softwoods and hardwoods when building your deck. Being a natural material, timber requires maintenance and is affected by the elements.
Advantages of Timber Decking
- If you opt to buy cheap timber, the initial cost will be less than composite (in most cases).
- Timber is easy to work with, especially when it’s a softwood. Timber can be cut, shaped, shaved back, stained and painted. If you want this level of control and modification, timber is a good choice.
- Timber is extremely versatile. Timbers like treated pine can be painted and stained to match basically any colour scheme.
- Because timber is a natural resource, it is renewable, but only when harvested from renewable tree plantations.
Disadvantages of Timber Decking
- One of the major disadvantages of timber decking is that it requires annual maintenance and upkeep to retain its durability and aesthetic. Yearly, you’ll be required to paint and stain it, which makes it more costly in the long run. Every two years, you’ll generally need to pressure wash and reseal the timber as well, which many people may not necessarily want to do.
- Even with regular upkeep, timber is probably going to wear and tear. This means they might rot, warp and fade with time. If you want to keep your deck in top condition, you may need to replace timber boards over time.
- Despite being a natural resource, timber is only produced by cutting down trees, which is easily the biggest disadvantage when selecting timber. This is detrimental to our environment, considering many companies don’t engage in sustainable practices. When buying timber, please ensure you only purchase from suppliers who are committed to leaving a minimal carbon footprint.
Which To Choose?
So now that you know more about both composite and timber decking, where does that leave you? Overall, you will need to take a look at what you are creating and what your current space looks like. Things like desired budget, home style and personal taste all come into play. No matter which option you choose however, you can’t go wrong. With so many great choices out there today, you will surely find the right one for you.
At Australian Treated Pine, we supply and manufacture consciously sourced timber of high grade and quality. All of our timber comes treated at high levels, enabling you to build a deck that is quite durable and long lasting. For more information, contact one of our expert timber technicians on 03 9305 2000.
Which way are you leaning? Are you feeling drawn to the appeal of efficient composite? Or are you looking toward the traditional warmth of timber? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
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