What is the best decking to use?

Jamie Press

A deck in the backyard is an Australian institution. It is a place of relaxation, where you have a few drinks with friends as the meat sizzles on the BBQ or watch your kids splashing around in the pool. A great deck becomes a real feature piece in your outdoor setting and can significantly add value to your home.

If you are building a deck in the near future, you are probably wondering what types of decking boards you should use. If that is the case, then you are in the right place.

I am going to look at a number of factors that will help you decide what decking material is the best option.

Deck Materials

There are two types of materials you can use for your deck – timber or composite. Timber is the traditional choice, due to its gorgeous aesthetic look and texture, but composite decking has been gaining popularity since it entered the market in the 1990s because of some key benefits.

 Benefits of timber decking

  • Natural product
  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • A variety of species and grades
  • Easy to work with
  • Cheaper per square metre

Benefits of composite decking

  • Low maintenance
  • Durability – resistance to water, harsh weather conditions and rot
  • Safety – anti slip technology/it won’t splinter
  • Cost effective over many years
  • Manufactured in different colours
  • Mimics the appearance of timber
  • Easy to install

Cost comparison

Determining which material is more cost-effective is a tricky one as they are both cheaper depending on how you look at it.

Confused? Let me explain.

Timber decking can cost anywhere between $50-$90+ per square metre (depending on grade and species), while composite decking materials usually vary between $90 - $150. So timber is the economically viable choice, right? Well, not quite.

Owning to the fact that composite is much harder wearing than timber, it will last longer. This makes it the better choice over a longer period. That is not to say you won’t get a lot of life out of at timber deck. If you maintain it properly with the right decking oil or stain, timber decking will last for decades.

Environmental choice

In an era of climate change, there is a demand for environmentally friendly decking. Which decking material wins out? Even though it is argued that the production of timber is more energy efficient, I believe that composite is the true champion of the environmental challenge.

Composite is made from a mixture of wood fibres and plastics. Instead of requiring timber from regrowth forests and plantations, composite products use recycled or re-used materials.

What are the best decking brands?

There are thousands on the market but Trex composite decking is considered the #1 brand in the world. They use 95 percent recycled materials, which include sawdust, wood pallets and polyethylene. Trex also claims 70 percent of all recycled grocery bags in the US end up in their product. Not only is composite timber repurposing a lot of material that would otherwise end up in landfill, but also it is decreasing the demand for virgin wood.

Conclusion & thoughts

As you can see, there are benefits to building your deck either with timber or composite. What will be most suitable for your circumstances will depend on what it is being used for, your budget and whether you have the time to properly maintain it. Whatever you decide, I hope your new deck brings you years of joy and happy memories. What are you thoughts?