Which Decking Material?
There’s a certain amount of research that has to be done when deciding what kind of wooden decking to go for in your garden. With the rise in popularity of decking has come an ever more varied choice of materials.
One question you have to ask is what kind of wood you want. There are various options available, each with different characteristics.
Decking can be categorised into three types; hardwood, softwood and composite and there are various species within the softwood and hardwood types.
This is the most popular choice in the UK. It’s cheaper than hardwood easy to work with. The trees that softwood is cut from grow more quickly than hardwood types, which makes it a more economical option. This is a sustainable choice, as the trees are replaced. Whilst hardwood timber is more naturally durable, softwood is industrially pressure treated for durability.
Although it’s durable and tends to be richer in colour to softwood, hardwood is a more difficult timber to work with and requires a higher level of carpentry skill and expertise. Many say that hardwood has more ‘character’ than its softwood counterpart, however it is also more expensive.
Composite decking boards are made from a combination of plastic and wood. The materials used to make composite decking are recycled, so it’s a popular choice. Unlike soft or hard woods, composite decking won’t split, splinter or rot. This type of material is growing in popularity because it’s easier to maintain than wood.
So there are the three main choices available. If you’re on a tight budget and plan to lay the decking yourself, then softwood is a good option. If budget isn’t an issue and you’re more concerned with a natural wood with depth of colour, character and longevity, then hardwood may be the better option. Thirdly, there’s composite for ease of maintenance. They all have their plus points.
Top Tip : If you are doing the decking yourself, spacing can be the tricky part. The Speedeck® decking gauge tool gives you perfectly equal spacing every time, which makes life a whole lot easier!