Most house owners love to have an outdoor decking but when they talk to friends who have installed a great outdoor decking (especially hardwood timber decking), the prohibitive cost of purchase, installation and regular maintenance, makes them wonder if it is really worth the cost. A lot of people are not aware of the new age alternatives to hardwood timber decking.
Modern technology has come to the rescue in terms of alternatives to hardwood timber decking in the form of Softwood decking and composite outdoor timber decking. Softwood decking is decking timber artificially made from timber fiber. It is less expensive than hardwood timber decking but has mixed results when it comes to maintaining it. Composite outdoor decking on the other hand, is made from a variety of materials, is claimed to last long and comes in a variety of colors and costs – there’s one to suite every budget.
Apart from several colors, Composite wooden decking is also available in realistic wood print and capped with clear plastic so they are very stain and fade resistant. Plastic capped composite outdoor decking is available with most timber dealers and usually costs between AUD3 and AUD5 per foot. Some of these also come with hidden fasteners.
Plastic coated composite decking is not to be confused with PVC composite outdoor decking. The two products are completely different. As the name suggests, PVC composite outdoor decking is made from plastic material and has no wood fiber in it. The result is that PVC composite outdoor decking does indeed look like it’s made from plastic. So if you’d like that authentic look then steer clear of PVC composite outdoor decking.
These days being ‘environmentally friendly’ often also translates into good business. Many composite outdoor decking manufacturers have begun recycling material and using it in the manufacture of composite outdoor decking. However, using recycled material can often lead to inconsistent results (because it can be extremely difficult to maintain quality). Watch out for a “recycled” logo or an “environmentally friendly” badge.
Visit your nearest composite decking dealer and take a look at the variety of composite outdoor decking material that is available. Each is specifically manufactured to suit a certain type of use. The technology, finishing, sizes and colors vary with each type of composite deck. Mentally decide which composite decking material you would like. Once you’ve made your choice, go home and search the net for any reviews or complaints on the product. Of course, if it’s a new product than it might be too early for reviews.
If you’re thinking of hardwood timber decking, remember that real wood needs to be cleaned and stained once every year and we all know how expensive that can be. Composites on the other hand, come with 10+ year warranty. Also, there’s the resale value. If you put your house for sale, a house with composite wood decking will fetch you better value than a house with hardwood decking.