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What is the best material for garden decking?

Posted under garden decking by admin on Thursday 7 July 2016 at 11:53 am

A decked area can make a garden more usable, particularly if your garden is on multiple levels. Decking is a great way to cover up any old areas of concrete or to cover uneven ground. There is a multitude of different materials available that can now be used for garden decking. Here are some pointers to help you choose which type of decking will be best for your outdoor space.

The traditional material for garden decking is thin planks of wood. Decking boards can be made from redwood, cedar or pressure treated wood. Redwood and cedar can look great, as the natural grain of the wood is shown. They are also naturally resistant to rot and insects, which should help make them last. There are other problems with wood though. Redwood needs to be regularly treated with sealer to keep it in tip top condition. Cedar is a softer wood, which can splinter, which is obviously not ideal to have underfoot. Both woods are in relatively short supply. This means that some organisations, such as Rainforest Relief advise consumers against buying some types of cedar and redwood, to avoid contributing to deforestation. Pressure treated boards are cheaper but the wood can be less stable with problems such as shrinking and warping occurring down the line. Any wood will have natural imperfections leading to waste, if some planks cannot be used.

Composite decking is an ideal choice if you want a low maintenance deck. It is a manufactured material, rather than being an all natural choice. Composite decking is made of wood chips, sawdust or even recycled plastic, meaning it can be seen as an environmentally friendly material to use. This type of decking can be more expensive than wood boards but it is less likely to splinter or rot away. If you are intending to keep your deck for many years, then composite is an ideal investment to ensure your decking looks food for years to come. There is likely to be less waste when fitting a composite deck, as there should be no imperfections and it is easier to fit. To keep the decking looking good, all it needs is an occasional hose down to remove any dirt and debris. The downside to composite is that it can be cold under foot and some people may not like the uniform appearance.

With the environmental concerns about the scarcity of hard woods for decking, there is more attention being given to the varied possibilities of composite decking. Manufacturers are bringing out lots of different ranges of composite boards at all ends of the price and quality scales. Top decking retailers will offer guarantees of 25 years for residential use, meaning they should stay intact, as well as fade resistant over this time period. Composites can be made to look almost exactly like any wood of your choice – from pale ash to dark walnut or even a silver maple. When looking to put down a new deck, it pays to look around and consider modern materials to ensure your deck stays looking good, as well as being better for the planet.

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