Decking and choosing the right one for you.
An outdoor area is an integral part of family life in Australia. And what better way to make the most of the great outdoors than with an attractive and enjoyable timber deck?
A timber deck doesn’t just add great space to your indoor/outdoor area; it can also add real value to your home.
You have chosen to add a deck or upgrade your existing decking, but are a little unsure on what’s involved?
First you have to understand how a deck is made.
- The Footings – Footing are how any structure is tied down and supported. Be it concreting the posts in to the soil or bolting the posts to a concrete slab with stirrups.
- The Posts – These are the uprights and supports for the entire structure. They fasten the deck to the ground and also hold it up from moisture and debris. Posts can be Treated Pine, Hardwood or Steel.
- The Bearers – This is the main frame in which everything is held together to. The bearers are connected to the posts to form the basic structure. This is where your deck obtains its strength and rigidity. Most commonly Treated Pine.
- The Joists – Joists are the supports for your decking material/finish. The joists tie everything together, giving strength to the boards and making it usable for multiple finishes and flooring systems. Usually Treated Pine.
- The Boards – Decking boards are what give your deck the “look”. These are the timber boards that everyone sees and that you walk on.
Now that we have that part covered, what decking board finish do you chose?
When it comes to choosing a type of timber, there are a range of options, with different species having distinct colour and hardness characteristics.
Merbau – Is a very dense hardwood timber that commonly grows in the Philippines, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and other parts of South East Asia. This hardwood is the most popular choice for timber decking and is readily available across Australia. It’s most common use is for outdoor decking, but is also a very versatile timber product, which is suited to many other external uses, such as fencing, outdoor furniture, pool surrounds and landscape design features.
The grain of Merbau can vary, but it is usually interlocked or wavy with a coarse but even texture and it has a beautiful and deep reddish brown colour. This material is extremely resistant to splintering, has minimal shrinkage and finishes well with a stain or oil.
Not only does Merbau look great, it is also an extremely durable timber with a ‘natural durability rating’ of Class 2 making it highly resistant to decay and insect infestation. This timber also has a reasonably high ability to withstand denting and wear and tear – with a Janka rating of 8.6 for hardness.
If properly cared for and maintained, Merbau has a very long life span of up to 40 years and it is actually quite an easy surface to maintain. These notable features of this material make it a top choice for a timber deck.
Spotted Gum – is one of Australia’s premium native hardwood timbers. This Eucalyptus tree grows along the east coast of Australia, from north-east Victoria through New South Wales to the Northern table lands of Queensland. Spotted Gum is a diverse timber with an array of colours and wood grains ranging from light brown, chocolate brown, light green and light golden browns, and it has a very wavy type grain, giving it a very striking appearance.
Spotted gum is an extremely popular choice of hardwood for use for decking. It is a timber that with stain or oil makes a magnificent looking deck. Also, because it has lower tannin content than most other Eucalypts, it is less likely to cause problematic tannin stains.
Spotted gum is also a very strong and durable timber with a Janka rating of 11.0 for its hardness and is rated in Class 1 for natural durability, making it ideal for decking applications. It has a long life span of more than 40 years. Another reason Spotted Gum decking is very popular, is that it is one of the timber species that meets the required parameters for resisting fire without having to be subjected to any fire retardant treatment.
Treated Pine – environmentally, sustainable softwood that is native to the central coast of California. It is widely available throughout Australia and New Zealand as it is plantation grown, and later treated for termite and fungal protection. This treatment gives it the equivalency of Class 2 rating for durability, making it very resistant to decay and insect infestation and highly suitable for external uses.
Treated Pine is a pale yellow colour, but once the treatment is applied it takes on a green shade. The texture of Treated Pine is fine and even, with a straightish grain. Knots are quite common in this timber.
Treated pine is a very versatile timber used for many external applications which include decking, fencing, retaining walls, as framing for outdoor structures and it is often used for the bearers and joists on all decking constructions. Although it is a relatively soft timber with a ranking of 3.3 on the Janka scale for hardness, it is still quite a popular choice of timber for decking in Queensland, as it is the most cost effective.
Even though treated pine decking is a cheaper alternative, it still has a fairly long life expectancy of up to 25 years when properly maintained. Treated pine decking can be stained, oiled or painted in a range of colours.
Most of our decks are completed over a period of 2 days. Depending on the weather, the size and design, this can extend up to 3 or 4 days.
One day is usually dedicated to the initial prep work with the remaining day/s for the installation of the decking boards and trim work.