Landscaping is a crucial part of creating a beautiful outdoor space. One of the decisions you’ll have to make is to choose what flooring you’ll be using. For patio floors, two of the most common choices are hardwood flooring and decking. But the question is, hardwood and composite decking flooring, which one should I use outside? Here are little information and pointers that can prove helpful when deciding which one to use.
Hardwood Flooring for Outdoors
Hardwood is one of the most common choices for flooring, whether inside or outside. Hardwoods are a type of lumber taken from dicot trees, which often are deciduous and have broad leaves. Unlike softwoods, hardwoods often grow in tropical areas. Some examples of hardwood trees are English Oak, Beech, Ash, Elm, and Birch. These types of woods grow slower than softwood trees.
Advantages of Hardwood Flooring
When used in flooring, hardwood offers a lot of advantages. Hardwood flooring is a timeless choice, offering excellent aesthetics and design enjoyed by many for many years now. One aspect many people like about hardwoods is its natural look, which contrasts yet complements modern home designs. Most hardwood floorings have dark shades.
Another reason why many people use hardwood is due to its durability. Unlike softwoods, hardwood flooring is denser and more durable than softwood types, although some exceptions exist. Hardwoods are also more resistant to moisture than other types of wood. And when it comes to fire protection, hardwood flooring has better fire resistance. Because of these reasons, they are a more suitable choice for outdoor flooring.
As for pricing, prices vary depending on the quality of hardwoods. Hardwood flooring is more expensive than softwoods, but they are generally cheaper than synthetic options. However, IPE and other exotic hardwoods can be pricier than any other flooring options.
Disadvantages of Hardwood Flooring
Despite having many advantages, hardwood flooring also has a few drawbacks. Knowing such disadvantages can help you prepare for any problems you will encounter should you choose hardwood flooring.
One of the main drawbacks of hardwood flooring is the fact that its still wood. Wood is susceptible to weather, such as rain, snow, and UV exposure from sunlight. While being more water-resistant than softwoods, hardwoods will still absorb moisture, which can cause warping, rotting, and mould and mildew growth. Prolonged exposure to sunlight may also fade your hardwood floors. While some like it when wood fades in colour, others don’t.
Another problem with using wood is maintenance, the effort and expenses you’ll have to put up. While hardwoods are significantly easier to maintain than softwoods, hardwood flooring still needs regular painting, sealing, and staining once every few years. While insignificant at first, the upkeep cost may eventually pile up after a few years.
Decking Flooring For Outdoors
Another popular option for patio flooring is decking. Decking can include a lot of other options, including hardwoods. But one of the most popular choices for decking is composites and PVC. How do they compare to hardwoods? Are they any better?
Advantages of Decking Flooring
Synthetic decking has a few advantages over hardwood flooring for outdoor patios. They are less affected by problems and issues you would encounter using wood. For instance, composites and PVC are resistant to water, insects, mould and mildew. With proper maintenance, synthetic decks can last longer than most hardwood flooring.
Speaking of maintenance, composites, PVC, and other non-wood floorings are also easier to maintain. They won’t need sealing, staining, or painting every few years. And cleaning them takes less effort than wooden flooring or decking. High quality decking floors will also last longer than most hardwood floors. A typical deck made out of composites or PVC can last at least 20 years.
Disadvantages of Decking Flooring
As with hardwoods, decking flooring also has a few disadvantages. One of the most significant drawbacks that most people consider is the price. Composite and PVC decks are generally more expensive than most hardwood or softwood flooring. If you plan to use it, you’ll have to spend more. Whether it’s worth it is up to you to decide. But many agree that their superior durability and low-maintenance makes up for it.
Another disadvantage, specifically PVC, is that it doesn’t look like real wood. If you want a natural-looking flooring, you’ll likely achieve this with PVC decking. And because of this, composite decking is considered the better choice. Composite decks look more wood-like, and many can even mistake it as real wood.
Which One Should You Choose?
Both hardwood and decking flooring are excellent options. If you want a cheaper choice, hardwoods can offer you beautiful aesthetics and durable flooring. But if you prefer longer-lasting and low-maintenance flooring, composite decking is one, if not the, best option for outdoor flooring. It’s both beautiful, durable, and can last for decades.