What is the Best Material for Decking?
Now that the weather is getting better and we’re allowed to meet in gardens again, you may be thinking about sprucing up your garden by installing a deck. However, with so many different options on the market, where do you start? If you’re wondering what kind of decking material is best, hopefully this will help you.
The classic material for decking and one many people consider the best is solid wood. Timber decking has a beautiful aesthetic that is hard to replicate and gives a great rustic feel to the decking, especially if it is only finished with a wood stain rather than paint.
Timber is strong, durable, and weather-resistant once it has been finished with an appropriate weatherproofing product. Timber is considered to be one of the most durable decking materials but it does require maintenance.
The disadvantages of timber are that it can become very slippery in cold and wet weather and the weatherproof finish on timber decking will occasionally need freshening up, but not very often. Poor-quality wood may also be prone to cracking, warping and rot.
Timber decking is usually made from softwoods such as pine or cedar, but hardwood decking is available. Hardwood decking is stronger, more durable, and more naturally weather resistant than softwoods, meaning it is far less likely to warp and rot, and also has all the benefits of the natural, inimitable appearance. The only downside of hardwood decking is that it is a much more expensive option.
Composite decking, or wood plastic composite (WPC) decking, is a combination of natural materials such as wood fibres and polymer resins, made to look like wooden decking. Many consider WPC the best material for decking and it is definitely considered the best low-maintenance deck material, as it won’t warp, rot or crack, and is available in a range of finishes that you would have to put time into achieving with timber decking.
It also has better non-slip properties than timber and you can expect composite decking to last around 20-30 years before it needs replacing.
The main downside of composite decking is that, despite being made to look like timber, a close look will reveal that it is not, especially with ‘natural’ wood rather than painted finishes. However, good quality composite decking does bear a very close resemblance to the real thing. Composite decking is also usually more expensive than other materials.
Similar to composite decking, PVC is not a natural material, but a man-made alternative, the difference being that PVC is made entirely of plastic. PVC doesn’t rot, warp or crack, and is the cheapest option for your decking. However, it does not bear much resemblance to real timber and it is lighter and not as strong as the other options.
Decking design tips
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what kind of decking material is best for you, here are a few things you can try to get the most out of your new deck.
Choose a colour/style that complements your home and garden décor
Whilst you may like the look of natural wood, if the rest of your garden and your home are very contemporary in design and more minimalist, a painted finish may work best.
Consider including balustrades or railings
Why stop at the deck itself? Adding railings or balustrades around the sides of the decking gives it a much more striking appearance. Most decking materials will come with matching options for balustrades or railings.
Create a planting border around the decking
A great way to integrate your decking into your garden is to create a planted border around it. These borders can be filled with beautiful flowers, plants or vegetables that add great visual variety.
The difficulty with naming the best decking material is that it depends on your definition of ‘best’. If you want a low-maintenance decking material, composite decking is probably your best bet. If you want the most durable decking material, then hardwood timber may be ideal.
If you are looking into installing decking in your garden, you can take a look at our extensive range of timber products, which also includes composite decking.