Category: Timber Decking
Is Wood Decking Worth It?
Wood decking is a natural decking material and the oldest form of decking. Homeowners on a low budget use wood to build their deck since it’s the most affordable decking material on the market. Despite being cheap, some homeowners still choose not to purchase wood decking. Is using wood decking for building decks worth it?
What You Need to Know About Wood Decking
Is purchasing wood decking worth it? Before answering that question, you need to know all about wood decking. Wood decking is also known as timber decking. There are various types of wood decking sold in the market. They are made from softwoods, hardwoods, and pressure-treated wood.
Hardwood decking is more durable and expensive compared to softwoods and pressure-treated wood. Wood decking made from hardwood tends to last longer and is also resistant to termites damage. Pressure-treated woods, on the other hand, are not naturally durable like hardwood.
The wood is cheaper than hardwood decking and good for homeowners who want to build a wood deck on a budget. Pressure-treated wood decking is wood that has undergone chemical treatments. Chemicals are infused into pressure-treated wood to prevent rot or decay. The chemicals also prevent termites from damaging the wood. Considering the benefits of wood will let you know whether purchasing wood decking is worth it.
Benefits of Using Wood Decking
If you like natural decking material, then wood decking is the best choice for you. Wood decking is a natural flooring material, unlike plastic decking and also composite decking. Most homeowners love wood decking because of its natural look and texture. If you lay wood decking in your garden, it will blend well with the area.
Apart from that, wood decking is also cheap. It is cheaper than plastic decking and even composite decking. Homeowners on a low budget can easily build a wood deck in their garden compared to other decking materials.
The disadvantage of Using Wood Decking
Wood or timber decking is not as durable as composite decking and plastic decking. A wood decking can break or crack, thereby leading to part replacement. Using timber decking as a flooring material for your outdoor space might not be a good option as it can break if there is much pressure on the decking. Let’s consider the disadvantages of timber to see if wood decking is worth it.
The lifespan of wood is something to consider when choosing the decking. Although there are different types of wood decking, their lifespan varies. Hardwood decking will last longer than softwood. For your wood decking to last for years, you need to give the decking adequate maintenance. Treating the decking with stains or oil is also essential. A wood decking can last for 10 to 15 years.
Difficult to Maintain
Timber decking can be stressful and difficult to maintain. It also requires a lot of money to maintain the decking board. You will need money to sand your decking and apply stains on it annually. The wood will also need sealing to make it last longer. All this will cost you a lot of money and can be stressful at the same time.
Wood decking also has low resistance. The decking is not resistant to the termite’s damage. If you install timber decking without treating it, termites will damage the decking. Additionally, wood decking does not have moisture resistance.
The wood will readily absorb moisture from the atmosphere. When there is high humidity, wood will absorb moisture from the atmosphere and expand. The wood will also contract when there is low humidity. When wood expands and contracts, the wood can warp.
Can Leach Chemicals
Pressure-treated wood contains chemicals. If you use pressure-treated wood for decking, the wood will leach chemicals into the soil. The chemicals can affect plants as well as soil microorganisms. Using pressure-treated wood is not the best decking material option if you want eco-friendly flooring material.
Apart from that, the chemicals in the wood can be harmful if you come in contact with it. While using pressure-treated wood for decking, do not allow your pets or kids to come in contact with the wood.
Is installing wood decking worth it?
Considering both the benefits and cons of wood, is installing wood decking worth it? Before installing wood decking, you should consider its durability, maintenance and lifespan. Timber decking requires a lot of maintenance and does not have a longer lifespan than other decking materials.
Is wood decking worth it? If you want something cheaper, wood decking is a good option. But, when you look at the cons of wood, you should consider other decking materials options like ultra decking composite or plastic decking.
Eight Ways to Protect a Wooden Deck
Wood decking is less resistant to the elements. Since we tend to expose deckings to the elements, it needs a protective coating to last longer. Wood decking needs more protection than ultradecking composite. It would help if you waterproofed your wood decking to keep it from absorbing water. Wood decking needs staining, sealing or painting to make it last longer. If you install wood decking in your home, this article will teach you how to protect it. Here are eight ways to protect wooden decking.
Ways to Protect a Wooden Deck
Sweep Away Dirt
When there is dust and dirt on your wood decking, it can reduce its visual appearance. To maintain your decking look, you need to sweep away the dirt on your wooden decking. Remove all the furniture from the decking, and use a broom to sweep the decking thoroughly. You can also rinse the decking with a garden hose to remove all traces of dirt.
Apply Decking Sealers
Deck sealers are transparent coatings you can use to protect your wooden decking. It helps to prevent water absorption. Sealers create a protective layer on the decking surface, preventing water from getting to the wood. Apart from that, sealers also help in minimising fungal growth in your wood decking. It also reduces the chance of wood rot. If you apply sealers on your wooden decking, the decking is less likely to absorb water and will not rot.
Remove Fallen Leaves
Sweep your wooden decking frequently to remove fallen leaves away from the decking. It would help if you did not allow leaves to accumulate on your decking, especially wet leaves. Leaves on the decking can prevent air circulation on the surface, thereby letting moisture accumulate. And when this happens, mould and algae will start growing on your decking. To protect your wooden decking, ensure you sweep away the leaves on the decking.
Apply Decking Stain
Wood decking can fade over time due to sun exposure. The ultraviolet rays from the sun will fade the colour of the decking. To protect the appearance of your wood decking, apply stains on it. The stains contain ultraviolet ray protection that can block rays and offer more protection to your decking. Deck stains are available in different colours; there are pigmented ones as well as semi-transparent stains.
Remove Mould and Algae
Wood decking is susceptible to mould and algae. It can ruin your decking if you don’t remove the mould. To protect your wooden decking, remove the mould and algae. Use a mould remover to get rid of mould on your decking. You can also prepare a homemade mould and algae remover by yourself. Get vinegar and baking soda, pour it into your wood decking and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes. You can now use a soft bristle brush to scrub the mould away.
Paint the Decking
Another way to protect your wooden decking is by painting it. Painting your decking will prevent the wood from absorbing water when it rains. Apart from that, it will also make the decking look beautiful. Apply the paint to the decking with a roller or brush
During winter, ice tends to pile up on deckings. To protect your decking, clear away all the ice from its surface. You can do that by using an ice melt to dissolve the ice. Apply the ice melt before it starts to snow; it will prevent ice from forming. You can also apply the ice melt directly on the ice.
Additionally, when using ice melt on your decking, use a not too harsh type. Do not use calcium chloride ice melt on your wood decking as it can damage it. Rock salt and magnesium chloride are good ice melts you can use on your wood decking. Ensure you apply the ice melt moderately.
To protect your wooden decking, ensure you clean the stains immediately. Food stains, grease stains and bird poop can distort the appearance of your decking. It would be best if you cleaned the stains immediately when you notice them. If you want to get rid of stains on your wood decking, use a mild cleaner. Avoid using chlorine bleach to remove stains from your decking. Chlorine can remove stains quickly but can damage your decking.
There are different ways to protect wooden decking. Remove stains, dirt and fallen leaves from the decking. Additionally, you can apply paint, sealers or stains to protect your wooden decking.
How Do You Remove Rotten Decking Boards
One of the biggest problems in decking is rotting boards, especially in wood decking. There are many causes of rotting, such as moisture damage, insects, and mould growth. But one thing is for sure; you will need to remove rotting boards as soon as possible to minimize damage. Once you let rotting wood decking boards on your deck, they will promote mould growth. In turn, that will cause more rotting boards. But the question is, how can you safely remove rotten decking boards? Here are some ways you can try.
Removing Rotting Boards With Nails
There are various ways to lay down ultra decking boards. If you are using wood decking boards, you are either using nails or screws. In most cases, using the former will make it easier to remove the decking boards.
For nailed decking boards, the first thing you will want to try is to remove the nails using the claw side of a hammer. While most people will yank out the nails carelessly, you will want to do it as gently as possible. Doing this will minimize any damage to the decking frame.
If hammers don’t work, you may need to pry the decking boards using a crowbar or other prying tools. As with using a hammer, you’ll also want to do it gently. Hastily prying the decking boards may cause damage to the joists, rendering them unusable. You can use multiple prying tools to lift the decking boards slowly and carefully. There are also several tools you can try out designed for removing nails and decking boards.
Removing Rotting Boards with Screws
Removing decking boards attached with nails are often easier, whereas screwed decking boards are likely harder to take out. Due to the nature of the screws, they are deeply embedded into the decking boards and the joists. Pulling or prying screwed boards out the same way as nailed boards will often cause a lot of damage to the decking frame. Unless there’s no other way, it should be the least of your options.
To remove screwed decking boards, you will first want to try to unscrew the screws. You can do this by using a power drill or impact driver set to reverse. You can also use pliers to unscrew them manually from the wood. However, many decks today have flushed screws, which makes it harder to take them out. For flushed or countersunk screws, you will need to find another way. In these instances, you can find several drill bits designed to reach the screw heads.
Using Plug Cutters
If you are dealing with hard-to-remove nails and screws, there are a few more things you can try if you don’t want to pry them out forcefully. One method is by using plug cutters. Plug cutters are special drill bits used to create holes in wood surfaces. They come in several sizes.
There are two ways to use a plug cutter. You can either use it until you have freed enough space to reach the nail or screw heads. After doing so, you can use hammers, crowbars, pliers, or drills to remove them manually.
The other way is a slightly more complicated method and will require some planning. For this, you will need to know the thickness of the decking boards. Then, drill holes around the nails or screws through the decking boards. After that, you can easily lift the decking boards. Lastly, chip away any wood left around the screws and nails before you remove them.
Cutting The Decking Boards
Another problem you may encounter is long decking boards. If you try to pry them, they will likely snap, making the decking boards trickier to remove. In these cases, you may opt to cut the boards into sections to reduce the chance of them breaking. It’s also an excellent way to separate rotting portions of the wood boards from unaffected parts, which you can use in other projects.’
In some cases, you may be using grooved decking boards. For this, you will often need to cut through the boards to get to the hidden clips. First, you will need to measure the width and the thickness of the decking board. Then, divide and mark the decking board into three according to its width. You can use a chalk line to create straight lines.
After marking the boards, cut the middle 1/3rd of the decking board using a reciprocating or circular saw. Next, take it out with a small prying tool. Lastly, remove the other two-thirds of the decking boards. You may need to pry the one side attached using a hidden clip.
Hire A Professional
If everything so far doesn’t work or you’re still unsure how to proceed, it’s best to ask a professional to do it for you. Not only will it take less time to do the job, but you’ll also minimize any damage that you might do to the surrounding materials.
Can You Pour Concrete Over Wood Decking?
Can you pour concrete over wood decking? A concrete patio is one of the many options for outdoor flooring. Many prefer it over other choices due to its cheap cost and low upkeep. For instance, most deck woods are high-maintenance despite being one of the most popular outdoor flooring options. Because of this, many homeowners are looking to replace it with something else.
If you have an existing ultra decking board, you may also have considered pouring concrete over it. But the question is, can you do it? What are the things you should know before doing it? And how should you do it?
Pouring Concrete Over Wood Decking?
Pouring concrete over wood decking, such as indoor flooring or outdoor decking, may seem far-fetched. However, it’s a common construction practice. Overlaying concrete over wood floors can hide damaged boards. It also works on other surfaces, such as cracked concrete or other non-wood floorings. Because concrete is easier to maintain, customizable, and cheap, many homeowners opt to replace their outdoor flooring with it. For concrete overlays, you will want to cover the floor with around 1/2 inch coating of concrete.
Things You Should Know Before Doing a Concrete Overlay
While it’s a common construction practice, there are a few things up for consideration if you plan to do a concrete overlay. For instance, there are several advantages and disadvantages of a concrete patio. What are the pros and cons of an outdoor concrete patio?
A concrete patio is significantly less demanding to maintain than most wood decks. It doesn’t need yearly treatments, such as staining and painting. While not aesthetically pleasing at first, you can customize a concrete patio with various patterns, finishes, and styles. And during the summer days, it’s considerably cooler to touch than other flooring surfaces.
While there may be several advantages of concrete patios, you will need to be aware of their disadvantages. For instance, concrete is susceptible to staining, cracking, and freezing. Compared to deckings, they also don’t add as much value to your property. While cheap, adding features, designs, and stamping on the concrete can be expensive.
Lastly, there may be instances where pouring concrete over flooring is not advisable. You will need to check the condition of the existing wood decking. If it’s too worn down, it won’t likely be able to support the concrete overlay. If that’s the case, you may save more time, money, and effort by removing the decking first and then pouring concrete.
How to Pour Concrete Over Wood Decking
The complexity of pouring concrete over wood decking depends on many factors. While it’s a common repair practice, there are a few challenges when overlaying concrete into surfaces, especially wood flooring. Most homeowners will hire workers to do it for them due to how complicated it can be. The truth is, while the materials for it are cheap, the cost can get high due to the construction process. But if you want to try it for yourself, here are the steps that you can follow.
Step 1: Evaluating the Existing Wood Decking
The first thing you’ll want to do before you pour concrete over wood decking is to check your existing decking’s condition. If it’s too worn down, it may not be able to support the added weight. If that’s the case, it’s better to tear it all down and start from scratch. You’ll also check how wide the decking board gaps are. If the decking board gaps are too far apart, poured concrete will spill from them. To fix this, you can cover the whole decking area with plywood or any thin material.
Step 2: Add A Waterproof Barrier
Another challenge in pouring concrete over wood decking is that wood and concrete are two different materials. When exposed to moisture and temperature, each material will react differently compared to the other. While concrete expands and shrinks with humidity, wood does so at a faster rate. And what’s worse, the wood can absorb the moisture from the poured concrete, causing cracks to appear. To resolve this, you will need to put a waterproofing barrier such as plastic or felt to separate the two materials.
Step 3: Cover the Area with Lathing System
After securing the waterproof barrier, the next step is to add the lathing system. Laths support and reinforce the concrete during and after pouring it on the wood decking. Many use metal laths for better reinforcement. You can secure them using galvanized staples.
Step 4: Mix and Pour the Concrete
The last step is to mix and pour your preferred concrete on the floor base. Depending on the products you’ll be using, you may need to apply multiple layers of different concrete mixes. For a more detailed guide, check with the products’ manufacturers or read the instructions. Once poured, let it cure according to instructions.
Pouring concrete over a wood decking has its advantages. However, you will want to consider whether it’s worth getting a concrete patio instead of a decking. In some instances, it’s also better to remove the wood decking first before pouring concrete. If you’re unsure how to do it, you can always hire tradespersons to do it for you.
How To Remove Deckings Without Damaging the Nails
There will come a time that you may need to remove some or all of your ultra decking boards. You may want to update an old decking using new materials. Or you’re trying to replace a few rotten or broken boards. Whichever the case, there are several ways to remove them. However, most people will jump right into it, not minding the damage. How to remove decking boards without damaging your nails. But if you want to preserve the surrounding materials, the nails, or the decking frame, you will want to be more careful.
Removing the Decking Without Damaging the Nails
When removing the boards carelessly, the nails can get damaged. Not only can broken nails damage surrounding structures or hurt someone, but they can also be tricky to remove. If you plan to reuse the decking boards for other purposes or still use the existing decking frame, you will want to cause as little damage as possible. Here are some things that you can try.
Using a Hammer
A hammer is the best tool to drive nails deep into the boards. But it’s also the best tool to remove them slowly and carefully using the claw end of the hammer. However, most people will carelessly yank the nails out. Pulling it that way can break the nails and damage the wood. Instead, gently rock the claw side hammer until the nails pop out.
You can also use a piece of wood and place it under the hammer as you pull out the deck nails. The wood acts as a barrier preventing dents from the pressure, useful if you plan to reuse the wood. The piece of wood can also provide leverage for better nail extraction. Using the same method, gently remove all other nails used on the decking boards. Once finished, lift the decking boards and remove them.
Using a Crowbar
If you can’t remove the nails using a hammer, you can try forcing the board out using a crowbar. But because you don’t want to damage the decking nails, you will want to be careful. To do this, you can use two crowbars. First, pry one end of the decking boards carefully. If possible, use a hammer to remove the nails first. Then, start prying the decking boards with one of the crowbars.
Apply weight on one of the crowbars while holding it in place. Next, grab the other crowbar and pry the decking board further while still putting pressure on the first one. Then, as you’re holding the second crowbar in place, take the first one and pry further into the decking boards’ length. Do this until you remove the entire decking board.
Cutting the Decking Boards
In some cases, you may need to cut the decking boards to make it easier to remove the nails without damaging both the decking boards and the nails. For instance, if the decking board is too long, it will likely break if you pull them out. In this case, cutting them in half will reduce the risk of snapping them. For this, you will need a circular saw or reciprocating saw to cut through the decking boards while avoiding the joists, especially if you still want to use the deck frame.
Another scenario you will want to cut the boards is when the nails are too deep into the decking boards. For this, you can use a plug cutter drill bit. With it, you can create a recess around the nails, exposing the nail heads. Doing so makes it easier to reach the decking nails and use tools to remove them. The disadvantage of doing this, however, is that it will leave holes on your decking boards.
Other Tools and Methods
Besides the usual hammer and the crowbar, you can find several other tools on the internet that you can use to remove the nails from decking boards safely. Some of the usual tools you can use are “cat’s paw” and nippers to reach buried nail heads. If you removed the decking boards using crowbars, but the deck nails are still intact, you can use some tools that push them out safely. If it doesn’t work, you may try pushing or driving the nails through the wood.
Since there are several tools and methods you can choose from, you may want to check out each of them. You can use review websites, groups and forums, and videos to know more about these tools. You can also ask an expert for advice. If you are still unsure, you can always hire a contractor to remove it for you.
How to Replace Concrete With Wood Deck
It is possible to replace your concrete patio with wood decking. Concrete patios are the cheapest and one of the most popular outdoor flooring options available. However, there are several disadvantages to having a concrete patio. For instance, it is susceptible to cracks and staining. They also don’t add as much property value compared to other outdoor flooring choices. For this reason, you may want to replace it with a better option, such as a ultradecking wood. But how can you turn your outdoor concrete patio with a wood decking?
Replacing a concrete patio with wood decking is generally straightforward. In most cases, you can build a decking over an existing concrete patio. However, there are cases where you may need to take a few extra steps to ensure the structural integrity of your new decking.
When Can You Build Over an Existing Concrete?
If the concrete patio is severely damaged, building a decking over it is not recommended. Cracked concrete sinks into the ground over time. Installing a decking over shifting ground can both be harmful to the deck and the people using it. Cracked patios can also have water pooling and freezing problems, which are very detrimental to decking. Water causes mould, mildew, and rotting in wood.
So if you have a worn-down concrete patio, what are your options? First, you can wait for the concrete to sink completely before building a deck. However, you will still need to fix the cracks to avoid freezing and water problems. Another option is elevated decking above the concrete using decking posts and a ledger board. For this, you will need to drill holes in the concrete patio for the deck posts, and the decking needs to be attached to the house.
Lastly, you can take out the concrete patio and work from there. In most cases, if not all, you don’t have to worry about damaging the foundation by removing the old concrete patio.
How To Build A Decking Over Concrete Patio?
If your patio is in excellent condition, you can directly build a wood decking over it. You can hire professional contractors to do it for you. However, many homeowners choose to do it themselves to save on cost. If you plan to build it yourself, here are the steps on how to do it.
Step 1: Preparation
Before you start building a deck over the patio, you’ll need to ensure you have the right tools and enough materials to finish it. You’ll need the usual construction tools, such as saws, hammers, screws, and levels. You’ll also have to accost all the decking materials, including the boards and the framing. Besides wood, you can also choose alternatives such as PVC and composite decking. You’ll also want to fix any issues with your concrete, such as water pooling and cracks.
Step 2: Design and Layout
The next step is to design the substructure’s layout. The substructure will serve as the frame of the decking and protect it from ground contact. You can use a marker to map the locations of the beams and joists on your concrete patio. You’ll want to have at least 16″ on-centre gaps between the deck joists in most cases. Without spacing, your deck will be more susceptible to water problems. Flashing your decking joists is also crucial. Lastly, you can use spacers to slightly angle ground-level decking away from the house for better water drainage. You’ll also want to consider any local safety regulations and follow instructions from your decking suppliers.
Step 3: Installing the Decking Boards
Once you have your deck frame, it’s now time to install the decking boards. There are several varieties of wood deck boards. Depending on the manufacturers, you can use either screws or nails to lay them down. In some instances, decking boards may have grooves, especially composite wood boards. Hidden fasteners are the only option for these types of decking boards. You will also have to put some gaps in between the boards to account for expansion.
Using Decking Board Tiles as an Alternative
Besides building a frame and installing decking boards, another way to replace a concrete patio with decking. You can use decking tiles to cover your old concrete patio. Decking tiles come in various materials, such as wood, PVC, or composites. When using decking tiles, you don’t need to build a substructure or use screws. Instead, each tile locks in place to the other.
With that said, decking board tiles both have advantages and disadvantages. They are easy to install and repair. Besides concrete patios, you can set them almost anywhere. The downside is that they may not be as durable as decking boards. They are also not a permanent flooring option. When deciding to use decking tiles, you will need to weigh these pros and cons.
Is it Better to Screw or Nail Decking?
Is it better to screw or nail decking?There are several ways to install ultra decking boards. For most people, nails and screws are the most preferred fastening methods. But the question many wonders is which among the two is better? Should you install decking boards using nails? Or should you use screws instead?
Which is Better, to Screw or Nail Decking?
Nails and screws are two different fasteners. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. There are times that screws are better than nails and vice versa. If you are undecided about which one to choose, you may need to weigh the pros and cons of screws and nails. It’s also crucial to know when to use screws or nails and when to use the other.
When and Why to Use Nails?
People have been using nails for several decades when building a deck. And people continue to use them today. There are several advantages of using nails for decking. The best advantage of nails is their shear strength. Simply put, screws tend to be more brittle than nails. As deckings often shift due to expansion, fasteners will likely move. If this happens too often, screws can snap, whereas decking nails will only bend. Another advantage of using nails is that they are generally cheaper than screws.
While flexible and cheap, nails also have some drawbacks. One of the most notable disadvantages of using nails is it’s fastening strength or grip strength. Compared to screws, they don’t hold the decking boards as tight. Removing decking nails on boards can also be trickier unless you want to pry it.
When should you decking nails? You can use deck nails for decking boards. However, the best use of them is for the frame. In most cases, building code standards will require you to use nails instead of screws. Since decking frames will often move, it’s best to use decking nails.
When and Why to Use Screws?
Screws are another popular option for installing deckings. Before electric drills, people rarely use them for building decks. But today, many people slightly prefer it over nails for many reasons. As mentioned, the best advantage is its grip strength. In terms of keeping the decking boards down, screws are superior to nails. Nails also tend to pop up. But due to the screws’ threaded design, it will rarely happen.
While screws work better as a fastener, they still have some disadvantages. While having superior grip strength, screws do lack tensile strength. They will snap if the decking moves, expands, or shrinks too much. Screws are also more expensive than nails.
When should you use screws? The best use of screws is to install decking boards. Since they have superior fastening strength, using screws will prevent your boards from getting loose. You can also countersink many decking screws. It means it won’t have any exposed heads, unlike nails, making a cleaner and smoother surface.
One thing to remember is that most screws are not suitable for building decking frames. If you want to use screws, there are structural screws you can use, which are thicker and stronger than regular ones. However, it’s still best to check in with your local building requirements for instructions.
Other Fastening Methods
Besides screwing the nails and screws on the deck’s surfaces, other fastening methods exist. For instance, most PVC and composites and some wood decking boards have grooves on their sides. When installing these kinds of decking boards, you can’t hammer nails or drive screws through their surfaces. Instead, they make use of hidden fasteners made up of clips inserted into the grooves. Using the appropriate types of screws, you’ll need to secure these clips into the joists and the boards.
There are several types of hidden fasteners. In many cases, PVC or composite decking brands will have their line-up of hidden fastening systems compatible with their products. If you want to learn more, you contact the boards’ manufacturers or suppliers.
Which One Should You Use?
Both screws and nails are excellent fasteners for decking. Which one is better depends on how you intend to use them. Screws are better for installing decking boards due to their excellent grip. They also produce a cleaner look for decks. When it comes to flexibility and durability, however, nails are better. Nails are a must in building the deck’s structural parts. They are more flexible and don’t break as much as screws.
Before you make any decision, it’s also a good idea to consult with the decking suppliers. You may find instructions on recommendations on whether to use screws or nails. Some may need hidden fastener systems instead. But overall, using both nails and screws is the way to go.
What is the Best Wood to Use for Decking?
For many years, wood has been the first choice for construction, especially for decking buildings. Many use it for its timeless beauty and aesthetics, while others love it for its affordable cost. But as with many other home improvements, planning is the key to having a perfect outcome. One of the things you’ll want to decide is what wood to use. But what is the best wood to use for decking?
The Different Types of Wood
There is a wide variety of wood decking materials you can use for decking. Each has its very own advantages and disadvantages. For decking, there are two classifications of wood; softwoods and hardwoods. What are they? And which is the best one to use?
Softwood Decking Materials
Softwoods are among the most common varieties of wood used in decking. If you are on a budget, softwood decking are the best wood to use for decking. But if you are willing to spend more, there are better, longer-lasting, and more durable woods that you can use instead.
Softwood decking boards come from fast-growing trees, which makes them cheap and readily available. While they may not be as durable as other types of woods, it doesn’t mean that their quality is undesirable. Many builders and homeowners use softwoods to create beautiful and durable softwoods. Here are a few types of softwoods that you may often see used for wood decking.
Pine – Pine is one of the most common types of softwoods used for decking. It’s also among the cheapest varieties you can find for decking. Pine boards usually tend to have lighter shades like yellow, turning slightly darker as they age.
Cedar – Cedar is another popular choice for wood decking, which is slightly more expensive yet more durable than pine. It has better resistance to moisture and weather. Cedar typically comes in red, yellow, or off-white shades. As Cedar ages, it will slowly turn to grey, unless sealed and stained.
Redwood – As with other types of wood, there are many varieties of Redwoods. European Redwood, a common decking material, is one of the most durable softwoods, more so than Cedar. It can resist moisture, weather damage, and can last longer. They are also naturally resistant to insects and rotting.
In general, softwoods are among the cheapest wood decking options. If you are on a budget, the best woods you can use are Cedar and Redwood. While pine is less durable, it still is a cheaper, viable and reliable option.
However, if you want a stronger, more durable, and longer-lasting wood decking, the better ones are softwoods. If you are willing to spend more money, you may consider using hardwoods instead.
Hardwood Decking Materials
The second classification of lumber is hardwood. Hardwood decking is much more durable than softwood decking. However, unlike softwoods, they are much rarer and come from slow-growing trees. Because of this, they are generally more expensive than softwoods.
Like softwoods, there are a variety of hardwoods that you can choose from. Here are some of the most common types you may often see used for decking.
Teak – Teak is one of the most commonly-used hardwoods due to its durability. Teak has a high oil content, which helps protect it from insects and rotting. Many also use it for its excellent tensile strength. However, it is significantly rarer and more expensive than most hardwoods.
Oak – Oak is one of the most popular hardwoods for decking, due to its strength and moisture resistance. It’s also one of the most cost-efficient hardwood decking options. Oak typically comes in two varieties; red and white oak.
Cumaru – Cumaru is one of the hardest, densest, most durable, and longest-lasting hardwood you can use. It’s scratch, fire, and moisture-resistant. It also has a high resistance to rotting and insects. However, it is also one of the most expensive varieties.
IPE – When it comes to hardwood, nothing can beat IPE. Many agree that IPE is the best hardwood material, naming it the best wood material. An IPE decking can last for decades. It has the best resistance to fire, moisture, insects, and scratches.
If you value durability and lifespan above all else, hardwoods are the best woods you can use for decking. They can last for decades and can resist outdoor conditions. When it comes to hardwoods, IPE is undeniably the best material you can choose. Overall, it is the best wood you can use.
The Best Wood to Use for Decking
People may have varying opinions when it comes to the best wood for decking. If you value cost over quality, Redwood is one of the best softwoods you can choose. But if your priority is quality, durability, and long-lasting, nothing beats the quality of many hardwoods. Among all of them, IPE is the best wood you can use. However, you will need to prepare to spend a lot more, as they are so much more expensive than softwoods.
What is the Best Material to Use for an Outside Decking?
Choosing the best material for your outdoor decking can get a little tricky, especially for beginners and DIY-ers. Many people have varying opinions when it comes to choosing the best. Many homeowners and builders prioritize cost, opting for lower-priced materials. Others want a beautiful aesthetic that can wow guests. And many value quality and durability above all else. If you are a homeowner looking to build decking, what is the best material to use for outside decking? Consider cost, quality, and aesthetics and which one is the best among each criterion.
Cost of Materials and Maintenance
Building a decking is not exactly a cheap home improvement. In the UK, adding a medium-sized outside decking will cost you around £1000 to £2000, or more depending on the materials. For this reason, many homeowners want to save as much money as possible by choosing the cheapest materials.
Naturally, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise quality over the cost. There are several affordable options you can choose from. For instance, many prefer wood not only because of the aesthetics but the low cost as well. The cheapest woods you could buy are softwoods. Despite what most people think, they make excellent outdoor decking.
While many consider softwoods as lower-quality lumber, there are a few exceptions. Western Red Cedar and European Redwood are both softwoods but have the quality matching that of some hardwoods. With chemical treatment, other lower-quality softwoods can also be suitable decking materials. Pine and Fir are some examples.
Aside from the initial price, you will also want to consider upkeep costs. A cheap wooden decking may end up more expensive than an easy-to-maintain decking. For instance, lower quality softwoods will require regular treatment, whereas hardwoods won’t need as much. Synthetic decking, such as vinyl and composites, are also low-maintenance. If you are on a budget, opting for a material that is low cost and low-maintenance is the best course of action.
Beauty and Aesthetics
Another factor that many homeowners consider when choosing the best material for outside decking is appearance. In this regard, many agree that nothing beats the timeless beauty of wood decking. With wood decking, you can pick a variety of shades and tones that will suit your preferences.
For instance, Redwood lumber often comes in reddish tones, hence the name. On the other hand, oak decking has a deep brownish shade. While many wood varieties are weatherproof, most wood will turn to silver or grey unless stained or painted. If you don’t bother with the needed maintenance, wood decking are your best choice.
But if you don’t want to bother with maintenance, synthetic decking will be a suitable alternative, especially composite decking. Composite decking looks like real wood but requires no staining or sealing. Not only will you save money from maintenance, but you will have beautiful decking for decades.
Durability and Longevity
For many homeowners, durability and quality are the most crucial aspects when choosing decking materials. Some are willing to spend some extra if it would mean getting a longer-lasting, high-quality decking. If you choose a wooden decking, the best material in terms of quality are hardwoods, especially Ipe.
Ipe, or Brazilian walnut, is considered by many as the king of wood decking. It is the hardest and densest among wood varieties. They also have high natural content, which makes them resistant to insects and moulds. They are also weatherproof, waterproof, and fire-resistant. Other examples of hardwoods are Oak, Teak, and Cumaru. Overall, hardwood decking is some of the most beautiful and durable decking you can choose.
The downside with hardwood decking, however, is its cost. A hardwood decking, especially an Ipe one, will cost you at least three times more compared to traditional wood decking. Since they come from slow-growing trees, they are rarer and harder to produce. Due to their high density, they are also among the hardest to transport, saw, and install. They are not as DIY-friendly as other options.
Another alternative for high-quality materials is composite decking. Not only do composites are cheaper, but they can also perform as well as most hardwood decking, or even better. They are water-resistant, weatherproof, low-maintenance, and long-lasting. They are also easier to handle and install.
The Best Decking Material
Overall, the best decking materials depend on what you value the most. If you are on a budget or want to save money, softwoods such as Redwood, Larch, and Cedar are your best options. But if you have less money, you’ll want to choose a low-maintenance option, such as synthetic decking.
When it comes to aesthetics, nothing beats wood. Both softwoods and hardwoods come in various tones and shades according to your preference. However, do remember that they will need regular maintenance to maintain their colour. If you want something more permanent, you can go with non-wood decking, especially composites.
Lastly, if you value quality above else, hardwoods are your best bet. Many consider the best wood decking. For non-wood decking, composites are slightly better than vinyl due to their natural and wood-like appearance.
What Is Better for a Decking, Cedar or Pressure Treated?
Are you planning to build decking? If so, one of the decisions you have to make is to choose the material for your decking. Many homeowners prefer to use wood. Not only is it beautiful, but it is also affordable and easy to find. But if you chose wood decking, you’d still have to decide what variety of wood to use. When it comes to choosing decking materials, is cedar better than pressure-treated lumber?
What is Cedar?
Cedar is a type of softwood used for construction and decking. Softwoods come from fast-growing trees, making them some of the most affordable decking options. While not exactly the cheapest softwood variety, it is still less expensive than many wood options you can choose.
Despite its low cost, Cedar offers many benefits when used for decking. It’s durable, naturally moisture-resistant, and long-lasting. Due to its natural properties, it is resistant to insects and rot. It is also dimensionally stable, making it resistant to warping, splitting, and bending. Cedar often comes in strong and dark-coloured shades, perfect for rustic and natural design aesthetics.
What is Pressure-Treated Wood?
Wood construction materials are susceptible to many forms of damage, such as moisture, insects, and decay. However, most high-quality wood is less prone to these issues. But as for more common types of wood, treatment is necessary for these wood lumber to be viable decking materials.
Pressure treatment is a process done on wood to protect it from moisture, insects, and weathering. Most wood can undergo pressure treatment, but it is more common in lower-quality lumber such as pine. Wood materials undergo treatment by infusing them with chemical preservatives. Processing takes place in a large tank that punctures the wood, removes the air within the wood pieces, and replaces it with various chemicals.
Which One is Better?
To know which one is better between Cedar and pressure-treated wood, you will have to consider characteristics and traits and compare them with each other. Here are some that you may want to consider when choosing either one of them.
When it comes to cost, pressure-treated wood is significantly cheaper than Cedar. Depending on the quality, Cedar can cost twice as much compared to PT wood.
Maintaining wood decking is crucial since wooden deckings are more likely to suffer from many issues. But since both Cedar and PT lumber are resistant to moisture and insects, they are easier to maintain than other wood deckings. However, the difference is that Cedar will require staining to maintain its colour, whereas PT lumber can’t accept most stains. It can be a big issue for PT deckings later on its lifespan.
When it comes to durability, both PT wood and Cedar have excellent protection from outdoor conditions. However, of the two, pressure-treated lumber is more weatherproof. On the other hand, Cedar is more resistant to warping and cracking. Due to the microscopic holes left over during the treatment process, PT wood becomes more prone to chipping and splitting. Overall, both can last for a long time with proper maintenance.
When it comes to appearance, Cedar will look better than most pressure-treated wood. Due to the treatment process, pressure-treated lumber may look less natural. While many manufacturers use various methods to make them look better, results are often inconsistent.
Cedar is the safer choice between the two. Pressure-treated wood frequently uses Chromate Copper Arsenate as preservatives. When exposed to these chemicals, especially smaller children, it can present a lot of risks. Arsenic, one of its main chemical components, is highly toxic to humans and animals. If safety is your concern, pressure-treated wood should be the least of your options.
As mentioned, pressure-treated wood is not the safest due to its chemical treatment. But that’s not all. They can also be dangerous to the environment when processed improperly. For instance, disposal is one of the main concerns of PT wood. It’s not recyclable or reusable. Unlike Cedar or other non-treated lumber, you can’t burn it or see it. Doing so releases the chemicals in the atmosphere, which can be highly toxic.
For homeowners on a budget, pressure-treated wood is better when it comes to costs. However, when it comes to overall performance, Cedar is the better option. It’s beautiful and sustainable. While it requires more care and maintenance, it is long-lasting and durable.
Other Options You Can Choose
Aside from Cedar and Pressure-treated wood, there are other options that you can choose. For wood decking, you can opt for hardwoods such as oak, IPE, and teak. While they are more expensive than softwoods, they are more durable, long-lasting, and requires little maintenance.
There are also non-wood decking options that you can choose. PVC offers superior durability and weather-proofing. However, it doesn’t look as natural as wood. Composite decking, on the other hand, is as durable as PVC. But in terms of appearance, composites look more natural and wood-like. Lastly, you can also choose aluminium decking. It’s not a common decking choice due to its high cost, but it makes for a long-lasting decking.