Choosing a suitable decking solution for your home is an important decision.
Getting Started With A Decking Project
If you’re planning a decking project for your home, you may have noticed that choosing deck materials has become more complicated than ever. The main decision for homeowners used to be the species of wood they wanted their deck to be made from. Nowadays, dozens of alternatives are available including composite timber, PVC and aluminium. TKL Contractors are equipped with the knowledge to install a range of decking styles.
Decking Material Options
Before beginning the build of your new deck, let’s examine a few types of decking materials, each with their own aesthetics and requirements for maintenance. If you’re not sure which way to go, it is recommended to speak to a decking expert, like the team at TKL Contractors.
Pressure Treated Wood
Pressure Treated (PT) Wood is the number one decking material sold today due to its affordability, durability, availability and the fact that it is easy to stain virtually any colour desired.
A pitfall of PT wood is its dimensional stability which means it is susceptible to swelling, shrinking, cracking, cupping, splitting and warping when exposed to the elements. Some homeowners find they need to replace decking boards within two years of installation due to severe warping.
PT decking also requires more maintenance than alternative decking materials. In order to prolong the life and look of the deck, annual power washing is required. The deck should also be coated with exterior-grade stain or clear wood preservative every two or three years.
The next most popular decking material is cedar, which is prized for its rich colour, natural beauty and because it isn’t pumped full of chemicals or preservatives. The cedar wood species contain tannins and oils making them naturally resistant to decay, rot and wood-boring insects.
Cedar decking requires power washing annually, and should be coated with wood finish every three to four years. Applying a clear wood preservative that contains water repellents will aid in protecting the surface of the cedar from weather and will reduce fine splits in the boards known as checks. It should be noted that the clear preservative will not prevent weathering of the cedar to a silvery, grey colour. Maintaining the natural colour of the wood can be achieved by applying a semi-transparent stain specifically tinted and created for use on cedar.
There’s a high chance that you’ve never seen an aluminium deck, or even knew they existed – but aluminium is a material that is practically perfect for decking applications. You can rest assured knowing it wont rot, rust, warp, crack or splinter and it has commendable weather, mould and slip resistance qualities. The powder coating won’t peel or blister and aluminium can’t catch fire, it’s protected from voracious insects and is 100% recyclable.
When compared to other decking materials, aluminium is three to four times lighter while being two to three times stronger. You wont need to worry about your aluminium decking being an eyesore either, as it comes in a variety of woodgrain finishes and colours.
Composite timber is the fastest-growing decking material on the market today. It is made from a mixture of recycled plastic and wood dust that is then moulded into long, dense decking boards. The popularity stems from the low maintenance required with composite decking – it is extremely weather resistant, easy to clean and will not splinter, rot or warp. Staining and painting is not required due to built in UV resistance. Composite timber, like the range from NewTechWood, is available in a wide range of colours and is textured to achieve a woodgrain-like finish. Composite decking is made from recycled materials which makes it more sustainable than regular timber decking.
Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC as it’s commonly known, is a decking material made entirely from environmentally safe plastic. This means that PVC decking is more durable than composite decking due to containing no wooden components and will likely last a lifetime. PVC decking is far lighter which aids in the carrying and lifting process. The appeal for homeowners comes from the very little maintenance required to keep the deck looking pristine, an occasional clean will keep it looking new for years to come. One pitfall of PVC decking is that it doesn’t always look, feel or sound much like its wooden alternatives.
How Much Do Different Decking Options Cost?
Decking materials vary greatly in price and homeowners should ensure to be careful. Some of the lower priced materials don’t last very long before they show visible signs of wear and tear. It is important to remember that the decking material is only one part of the project – when you add the cost of the frame, railing, stairs, labour and building permits – the decking is generally less than one third of the total cost. Each decking project is different and as such it is hard to put an indicative price on each material. It should be noted however, that treated timber will have the lowest price point, ranging through to composites and aluminium which carry a greater initial outlay but less spend on maintenance.
How Long Will Different Decking Materials Last?
Wooden decking can last up to approximately 15 years when maintained to a proper standard, making them a decent option but by far the least durable of the outlined decking materials. Composite decking can last up to 25 years and only requires a very small amount of upkeep to maintain its look and feel. PVC Decking generally comes with a 50-year manufacturer’s warranty however in most cases these decking products have a lifespan of approximately 30-35 years. Aluminium Decking is expensive to install but can last for up to 60 years when maintained correctly.
Decking Ideas For Your Home
No matter the size or scope of your house, there is a perfect outdoor decking option to suit your needs.
Modern decking designs are centred around creating differing levels – platforms and conversation pits are extremely popular in 2023. Layering the deck creates a visual intrigue, is easy to style and looks appealing. Key features for modern decking include firepit spaces, which can double as central tables for entertaining friends and family all year round.
Elevating your decking area is an ideal way to extend both your homes living and entertaining space. Flowing on naturally from the house, the decking area blends both the indoor and outdoor environments. An elevated deck also provides a greater vantage point to take in the views of the outdoors, as well as heightening privacy from neighbours. Raised decking also aids in utilising spaces for entertaining or relaxing, that would otherwise go untouched – such as slopes or uneven ground.
Covering your deck area is also an attractive proposition for homeowners who want to enjoy their backyard even on rainy days. For those who are interested in a sunlight and open sky experience, installing a louvred roof which can open and close at will, is a good option. Enclosed decking is a perfect solution to creating an all-weather outdoor living space. Enclosing your decking area will also aid in protecting it from weathering when compared to an open deck.
Add Railing To Your Deck
Adding railing to your deck is a good way to ensure the safety of the people using the space. The various railing styles can also add a visually appealing touch. The railing can be styled with Christmas lights during the holiday season, or climbing plants can be utilised for a more natural look. Cable railings are a sleek, modern option that will complement any deck design at a cost-efficient price point.
Incorporate Planter Boxes
Planter boxes built into a deck area are an excellent way to break up a multi-level deck while creating a space for gardening. Planter boxes can be incorporated in a number of ways, including to frame any stairways in your decking project. This can turn the stairs from a functional addition into an attractive focal point that adds flow to your decking area.
Can TKL Contractors Help With My Decking Project?
TKL Contractors are the specialists in the South West for all-inclusive backyard renovations. Our team design and build your dream backyard so you can entertain friends and family or relax and enjoy your outdoor space. Our designers and builders streamline your project delivery and make use of only the highest quality materials. If you’re thinking about a decking or backyard project, get in touch with TKL Contractors today!