Composite or timber decking…When it comes to choosing the right material for your outdoor deck, it pays to have a clear understanding of your budget, aesthetic and maintenance preferences. Whether you’re considering a natural timber deck or sustainable composite finish, both have their merit. The good news is, we’ve already done the legwork for you (thank us later) because we’ve put together the pros and cons of the most common decking materials available on the market.
Hardwood Timber Decking
Hardwood timber deck. Image Credit: Colourplus
So it’s time to bring out the rag and get stuck into your annual deck oiling ritual. Nothing beats the intimate smell or pristine finish of a hardwood timber deck after a fresh coat of oil. From painting, sanding and staining, timber is versatile in its nature and appearance. But does the effort outweigh the reward when it comes to the upkeep and maintenance of a hardwood timber deck?
- Aesthetics – looks beautiful
- Long Lasting with regular maintenance
- Hardwearing and durable
- High maintenance with regular oiling required
- Ongoing maintenance costs
- Time consuming to maintain
- Not environmentally friendly
- Can be hard to source specific varieties
- Fixings can be seen
Composite timber outdoor deck. Image Credit: Ekodeck
Engineered to look and feel like real timber, composite decking is an environmentally friendly ‘timber’ alternative and is generally manufactured from a combination of recycled plastics and wood fibres. Not only is composite decking good for the environment and very low maintenance, we’ve found that the quality and variety of finishes have improved dramatically in recent years. From brands like Eko deck and their designer and ‘Flamer Fighter’ series, to Futurewoods Cleverdeck Xtreme, there are plenty of reasons why composite deck solutions are quickly gaining in popularity.
- Looks and feels like timber
- No maintenance (no oiling, painting or sealing required)
- Variety of colours, sizes and finishes
- Eco friendly and good for the environment (made from recycled materials)
- Aesthetically pleasing and family friendly (doesn’t splinter)
- Durable (doesn’t warp or fade)
- More expensive to install
- Not a natural product, manmade
- Might lack the natural look and colour you are looking for
Treated pine timber deck. Photo Credit: Pinterest
Lightweight and easy to install, treated pine is an affordable decking solution that’s sure to save you money in the short term. Due to its flexibility and ease of use, a treated pine timber deck can be installed quickly which will save you time and labour costs. However, treated pine has its drawbacks in that it generally has a shorter lifespan and isn’t as durable as hardwood. It is also a softer wood, meaning it can be more susceptible to dents and scratches.
- Cost effective
- Easy to install
- Can be painted to suit design of property
- Can be stained
- Can expand and warp
- Degrades quickly
- Warps and bowes easily
- Variable sizing
- Vulnerable to rotting
Ultimately, when it comes to choosing the right material for your outdoor deck, the choice is yours. There are plenty of alternatives out there in the market that are sure to suit your needs, budget and lifestyle. As always, we strongly recommend that you seek advice and receive approval from your local council before building a deck or making any structural changes to your property.