Which Timber to choose for your deck or pergola project?
If you have plans to build or renovate a timber deck and in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast, you have plenty of timber choices.
However, you need to make sure you use timber that offers natural protection against the elements, pests, mould and fungi.
Choosing Decking Wood
There are two timber categories when it comes to choosing the best wood for your wooden deck. You can choose hardwood or softwood. What you decide to use will depend on several factors, such as your budget, the desired lifespan of your wooden deck and the surface quality you want.
The Important Factors In Choosing A Wood Species
- Desired appearance
- Location of the deck
- Ongoing maintenance requirements
- The budget
- Availability of the timber
Working through each of these will help you find the right solution for your project.
Where Will Your Deck Be Located?
Make sure you select a timber that can withstand your particular climate conditions.
These include the amount of sun or shade the area receives. This will determine whether the colour fades quickly and how much maintenance it will need.
Regardless of which wood you choose, your deck will need regular maintenance (most likely annually) to keep it looking its best. Remember that some decking timbers are quicker and easier to maintain than others.
What Is Your Deck Or Pergola Budget?
Decking materials vary in price, from expensive hardwoods to inexpensive treated Pine.
The good news is that there is a material to suit every budget.
What Hardwoods To Look At
There are several hardwoods that are suitable and widely available for use in Queensland.
Advantages of hardwood
- Can create stunning installations
- High quality, durable wood
- Tends to cost less than composite decking boards
Disadvantages of hardwood
- Some species are susceptible to bleeding or iron stains
- Likely to be more expensive than treated pine decking boards
- It can be difficult to drill or nail into place
Hardwood Timbers For A Deck
Hardwoods can provide a stylish look that will enhance any outdoor space.
Each wood is different, but it’s hard to go past the warm reddish-brown tones of Merbau or the rich brown of Jarrah.
Best of all, their good looks will last for many years with the proper care and maintenance.
Choosing the right hardwood for your deck.
The warm reddish-brown tones of Merbau make for an impressive deck that can be used all year round. The species is durable and can still be less expensive than other hardwoods.
Merbau (also known as Kwila) is the most recognised decking timber in Australia, and it is recommended for several reasons.
The first is its appearance.
Merbau is a warm brown with a hint of orange when it is freshly cut. As it ages, it matures to a beautiful reddish-brown colour.
While you can paint or stain a wooden deck any colour you like, most people who choose Merbau, love the natural colour and want to enhance it rather than changing it.
Merbau has a durability rating of 1, which means you can expect it to last at least 25 years with regular use.
Iron Bark Decking
Out of the hardwood timbers readily available, Ironbark is the most durable hardwood for decking and offers longevity. it offers the most natural protection against rot, insects and bushfires.
Ironbark is a dark redwood known for its hardness and density. Ironbark needs an experienced carpenter to work with it. It is incredibly dense to work with, making construction a little more time consuming.
Ironbark is not only a favourite for decking boards. Due to its strength, Ironbark is undoubtedly a wood to consider for heavy-duty installations or poolside decking. It is also the most recommended wood if your deck is next to a swimming pool.
Spotted Gum Decking
Spotted Gum is often used for decking because of its durability and strength. It is sustainably harvested in Australia, making it an environmentally friendly native choice.
The species is also fire retardant and has a very high density with low shrinkage. Spotted Gum tends to bleed less than some other hardwoods, and it has a wide colour range that allows for unique applications.
Decking in Spotted Gum Timber
Spotted Gum Timber is an Australian timber ideal for timber flooring, timber decking, timber railings, timber framing for outdoor use and landscaping designs.
Spotted Gum timber has a high durability rating of 1.
It is known for its high degree of strength and durability, which makes it ideal for a wide variety of not only interior but exterior applications. Wood made from Spotted Gum comes in a variety of colours.
The rich brown of Jarrah makes it a popular choice. Jarrah can be expensive, but it is also fire resistant. If not sealed, Jarrah will take on a beautiful grey colour over time. .
Jarrah varies from light to dark brown and red tones.
Jarrah Decking is a rich dark brownish red, sometimes marked by short, dark brown radial flecks on the end grain.
It has a standout look, and people who love the look of Jarrah will always choose this timber.
It has top ratings for hardness and durability, making it less susceptible to rot, termites and bushfires.
Stringy Bark Decking
Yellow and red stringybark is durable and suitable for your decking needs or outdoor use. There can be two colour choices depending upon availability and the Yellow stringybark is easier to source and usually cheaper than red.
Stringy Decking is a warm honey colour and an ideal contemporary neutral colour.
It matches well with modern houses and commercial spaces and will continue to impress you well into the future.
Blackbutt wood is a popular wood for wooden floors, wooden decks and external wooden frames.
It is a eucalyptus variety – Eucalyptus pilularis, commonly known as Blackbutt, It grows along the coastal areas of New South Wales and southern Queensland.
Blackbutt decking ranges from a golden yellow to pale brown colouring with an occasional slightly pink undertone.
It is a strong and durable hardwood, which means it can be used for a range of interior and exterior applications.
Blackbutt wood has a durability rating of 1 and is available in a very modern, architect-friendly blonde colour.
Maintenance Of Your Hardwood Deck
Using a high-performance protective oil will ensure your hardwood decking stands up to harsh climatic conditions and looks stunning all year round.
Without regular maintenance, hardwood decking boards can weather and even rot in the harsh Australian climate. So paint your decking with a wood preservative or oil every year to keep it looking good for a long time.
Hardwood decking boards last longer because of the durability of hardwood and many would agree that the quality and finish and the range of colours available are better with hardwood decking boards.
Soft Woods Or Treated Pine
Australia has many native softwood species such as celery pine, white cypress and hoop pine, and non-native species such as radiata pine.
While pine is classified as “softwood”, treated pine is strong, easy to work with and does not weigh as much as many hardwoods.
Treated Pine is a cost-effective choice, but it doesn’t have the same durability as a hardwood.
Advantages of treated Pine
- Easy and versatile to work with
- Pressure-treated to resist rot, fungi or termites
- It can be stained or painted to change its appearance
Disadvantages of treated Pine
- Not as aesthetically pleasing as hardwood
- It can be restrictive as it has already been treated
- Needs to be oiled regularly to protect it from the elements.
Treated Pine Deck
If you have a tight budget, treated Pine certainly has its advantages, but these are outweighed against its appearance.
Before buying treated Pine for your decking project, check that it is suitable for outdoor use.
Treated Pine is one of the most commonly used woods in the home and is a versatile and affordable choice for decking boards.
Treated Pine is Radiata pine that has been pressure treated to resist rot, fungus and termites.
The pine used for decking is – ACQ-treated pine
ACQ stands for Alkaline Copper Quaternary.
ACQ is a safe treatment that protects against fungi, bacteria and insects and in Australia this is what is used for all outdoor furniture, play equipment , decking and hand rails need to be constructed from.
CCA stands for Chromated Copper Arsenate and the pine treated with this is used where human contact is minimal such as
timber sleepers fencing verandah posts, weatherboards and timber frames
Although it doesn’t have the same visual appeal as a hardwood, pine is versatile. You can stain or paint treated pine to get the look you want.
Treated Pine is easy to work with, lightweight and versatile, making it a good option for self-installation.
Treated Pine costs less than other options, making it a good choice for larger decks and smaller budgets.
Pinewood is versatile as it takes decking oil, stain, paint and other finishes well.
Ready To Build A Deck?
Local Deck Builder are a Brisbane deck building company. We have been in business for 20 years plus and our crew are all qualified and of course QBCC licensed and insured.
We can build a deck, pergola, carport or patio for your home or workplace.
Call us today for a quote and we can come and see what will work best for your outdoor area.