Decking Timber Options
Choosing Decking Timber
Buying the right Decking Timber to suit your climate is often more important than the cost...
The sun shines down on you AND on your decking timber budget, if you live in a dry climate with only occasional rainfall.
If morning dew, rain showers even frost and snow are a normal part of the climatic cycle of your home life?, you need to carefully choose your wood. There are great timbers for you with natural water repellent and anti rot and decay qualities. and OTHER big advantages...
Find our what is the one major common problem you will have to face with decking timber whichever climate you live in?
If you think that the type of timber that you choose, mainly depends on the color of the facade of your home and the style of your home or can even just be based on your budget... - you may be surprised to know that your choice should first of all be dictated by your location, the climate you live in.
DRY CLIMATE - Decking Timber
Why is the climate you live in so important and relevant to your choice of decking timber?,
If you have very little rainfall you can probably get away with a more economical pine softwood. In drier climes your wood is less likely to suffer from moss or fungus caused by a damp, wet atmosphere.
You can treat your deck yearly with a WATER REPELLENT TREATMENT, just before the rainy season and that should see you through. One important consideration for decking timber in a drier climate is the space you leave between each decking timber plank you lay to allow for drainage and swelling.
The normal accepted space is between 3mm - 5mm, in these climates, usually when it rains, it really rains, so go for a generous 5mm - 6mm gap.
Even if you are using a good, pressure treated pine you will get a certain amount of swelling on dry decking that gets a good soaking.
Without pre-treatment and maintenance, the wood can swell beyond the size of the narrow drainage gap that you have left between each plank, your decking timber planks start to push against each other and actually rise where they meet.
If you forgot to get the water repellent down, or were surprised by a sudden unexpected downpour, you may still be lucky, as the wood dries, it may well retract back into position. However take care, as the wood dries it is more vulnerable and continued normal use may cause splinting, spliting and cracking before it has had time to re-settle.
We have used pine as decking timber and porches, on our own projects for over 20 years, and the same decks are still in use today, as the years went by we have had to change very few planks of wood. Our decks are located in natural, dry, rustic environments, this meant that we usually
left our decks to weather naturally to a nice grey tone.
OUR TIP: We hosed our decks down sparodically which meant less swelling when the big rains came, the wood was less parched and didn't react to sudden rain fall so drastically.
Look after your pine decking timber and it will last. A bone dry, untreated deck will also curl up at the sides from heat as it shrinks and as the wood shrinks nails can become loose and rise. Swollen pine decking timber can also cause nails to pop right up, so OUR TIP is, we always use screws to secure them firmly in place.
It is relatively easy to maintain your pine decking timber, feed the wood and protect it.
There is nothing like the smell of a pine deck that has been revitalized with a good hose and brush down.
Pine decking timber can easily be tinted to any wood tone, to match and suit your home.
Compare the comparatively low cost of pine decking with the total revamp it can give to your home and the actual use and fun you and your family can make of the extra outdoor living space, and this could be a good home improvement investment for you, at the very least improving the saleability of your home if you protect and seal it well.
But... if we lived anywhere else in the world with a wetter climate we would without a doubt use Redwood for decking.
WET, HUMID CLIMATE - Decking Timber
If you live in a climate more prone to rain and damp weather then you most likely have a lovely green garden, this also means that you have to be more careful with your choice of decking timber.
(You could still use a pre-treated pine, but to ensure a long life-span of your deck you will have to dedicate more time to maintenance. This might not be a problem, if you have the time... but who does really?)
To make things easier and more practical for you, you would be better off choosing a denser timber that is more stable, (i.e. won't swell and shrink as easily as pine).
Redwood and Cedar, although softwoods, they have natural water repellent properties and a natural resistance to insects and decay, which make them ideal for decking.
If you are going to choose a Redwood - we would recommend a grade called "Deck Heart" especially for decking boards. Quality "All Heart" Redwood doesn't have knots and is a really beautiful choice for quality decking.
Specialist Decking Timber will have been pre-treated and kiln dried, so the wood you buy should be ready to lay. You will still have to leave a gap of 3mm - 5mm between each plank for drainage and a little movement.
If you lay a bit of gravel or pebbles down on the ground under and around the edge of your deck, this will help hold plant and weed growth back from your decking timber, and help prevent moss and funghus build up.
Another advantage with these timbers, are the rich vibrant colors, you can leave these timber to weather naturally and then will go a a natural grey tone as do all timber if left, or you can keep refreshing the wood by feeding it with a special UV protect oil, which will help you to maintain it's beautiful colors.
An important point regarding cedar, we already explained why we use screws and not nails, well, especially in the case of cedar, you have to use galvanised steel screws because cedar reacts badly to iron by developing a bluish stain within the wood, where cedar and iron meet.
It is much easier to maintain a redwood or cedar deck than pine, they more or less look after themselves, these good aromatic decking timbers will really enhance your home and garden.
They are going to cost you more initially but will be cheaper in the long run. They will last longer and you won't be constantly replacing swollen, cracked planks that you have tripped over.
Common Problems with Decking Timber
Common problems for decking timber in wet or dry climates...
It's really all down to bugs. Insects will try to get at your wood wherever you live. That's where the pre-treatements come in BUT you have to keep up with yearly maintenance treatments of your deck, to keep these wood infesting insects at bay.
TOP TIP: If you have to shorten a plank - you are cutting off a pre-treated end, so you will have to apply a wood seal to the ends WHEN you cut and lay the decking timber, don't leave it for another day or all your hard work could go to rot.
Something to think about... WOOD:
Wood is natural and biodegradable, we have always used locally grown timber which we know has been grown especially for lumber use and which is constantly being replaced with newly planted forest ready for the
Decking made with wood is a harmonious, natural construction, you know it's going to look good, other people are going to be envious. A good solid well planned deck is a good investment and should improve the value of your home.
If you make the decision to build, why not call in a contractor and get the job done the easy way, then you can sit back, relax and enjoy your very own decking...
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