Tuesday, 27 January 2015

What type of decking should I choose?

Pros and Cons of Softwood, Hardwood and Composite Decking

Decking is an excellent way to add both appeal and value to your home or premises. Patio or low level decking can be the perfect solution to hide an unattractive space or simply raise an area to be level with a conservatory. Decking is versatile and can be designed for dining areas, play areas or somewhere to have a peaceful rest. 


So, you have decided that you would like to have a deck installed in your garden - now what?

For the purposes of this guide we are going to look at the pros and cons of three of the types of deck that you may come across. 

Ayegardening have written this simple guide to help you identify the pros and cons of each type/material and make an informed decision for what would suit your garden and budget the best. 


composite decking dorking
Composite Decking Installation by Ayegardening



Softwood Decking

Softwood comes from evergreen coniferous trees such as Larch, Spruce, Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir and most commonly Scandinavian Redwood.

Pros
Cheapest type of decking
Value for money
Wood fibres are tightly packed together and this structure gives the boards the strength and durability needed to last.
Readily available
Pressure treated boards
Can stain a different colour
Cut from coniferous trees which are quicker growing and therefore more economical
Variety of designs- smooth, grooved, enhanced grip and reeded.

Cons
Yearly maintenance- staining, cleaning etc
Doesn’t look as luxurious as other types
If not stained will go from wood colour to grey. 

Composite Decking - Effective wood substitute

There are two types of composite decking. Wood and plastic and Wood free
Pros
10 year full manufacturer’s warranty. 
Expected lifespan of over 25 years and beyond.
Made from recycled materials.
Anti-splinter
Child friendly
Heat resistant
Some have a hidden fixing system
Slip resistant
Consistent product colour
No need to paint, sand or seal each year.
Free of toxic additives.
Virtually maintenance free
A range of styles and colours available from contemporary to rustic


Cons
Is costlier than softwood decking
Cannot change the colour by staining it in the future.
Treated softwood can be used as the frame underneath, if composite boards were to be used under the frame this can be more pricey. 

Wood-Free Composite


millboard decking
Millboard Weathered Driftwood Decking


Pros
Solid board
Durable and long lasting
Stain and mould resistant
Maintenance free- no sanding or staining needed
Children and pet safe - splinter free
Algae resistant - No wood fibres to support mould or algae growth.
Virtually no expansion or contraction - perfect for a safer deck or boardwalk.
Interesting textures and visual effects
Non-abrasive anti-slip finish


Cons
Very few cons! - Main consideration is cost
Not wood


Hardwood Decking


hardwood decking
Massaranduba Exterpark Decking 

Hardwood comes from broadleaved trees such as Massaranduba, Opepe, Ipe and most commonly, Yellow Balau.


Pros
FSC certified boards
Certain types have a unique invisible fastener system
Warmest, natural material
Like an indoor floor, outdoors.
A WOW factor
Tropical hard woods are very durable.
Hardwood needs a greater expertise in carpentry skills than softwood. 


Cons
Cost
Yearly oiling


This guide was a simple look at the pros and cons of softwood, composite and hardwood decking. There is a far greater range when you start looking into each supplier and the types that they offer. Whichever supplier you choose to go with, remember to get samples and discuss the various colours, styles etc within their own range. The companies that we have featured are companies where we trust in the quality of their decking.