Decking materials - what are your options?

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When it comes to choosing a material for your decking, there are so many different types available that it can be difficult to know where to start. There are several aspects of the material to take into consideration – from resilience and durability to its style and sustainability. Your decking is a considerable investment so it’s important to use high-quality materials.

 

Ipe hardwood deck-1

To offer you a better understanding of what's available, let's take a look at just some of the decking material options and examine their characteristics.

 

Pressure Treated Decking

Pressure treated lumber, is very strong and is successfully used for deck framing members including joists, posts, beams, headers and stringers.  It is treated with chemicals to make the boards last longer.  As a decking material however, pressure treated decking leaves a lot to be desired. Pressure treated pine decking is the lowest price decking material option available.  The deck boards can be painted to provide a better look.  When PT deck boards are exposed to the elements, they have a tendency to twist, warp, split, cup and check. 

 

Machiche Hardwood Decking

Machiche is an extremely beautiful natural hardwood that's twice as strong as oak, it is very durable and resilient to weathering. Being a kiln-dried decking material gives it good stability. Because it is a high density hardwood decking material, it is long lasting, has incredible strength and durability. Machiche is an FSC Certified decking option. Machiche decking will weather gracefully and take on an elegant silvery gray patina as it ages.

Machiche decking is a low maintenance material and doesn't need any treatment to look great. However, with a coat of rosewood oil penetrating sealer, Machiche takes on a rich chocolate brown color.

FSC Machiche hardwood deck with dining and entertainment space

Aluminum Decking

Easy to maintain, lightweight, and highly durable, aluminum became a popular option in the 1990's, following the emergence of composite. Aluminum decking is usually manufactured to resemble natural wood. However, it falls way short. The natural elegance of hardwood, as well as the beauty of the aging process, just can't be replicated.

Add to that the fact that aluminum is not cost-effective and can often be noisy when walked on, and you have a less than ideal decking material.

 

Composite Decking

Composite decking is indeed weather and stain-resistant, and it won't splinter, warp or split. But with a usable life expectancy of less than 15 years, a history of weakening and a major issue with color fade after exposure to the sun's ultra-violet rays, composite just can't compete with natural decking materials.

What's more, it's an unsustainable material – no natural resources are renewed during its manufacture, and after its 15-year life span, it will end up in a landfill.

 

Garapa Decking

Among one of the most popular species of Brazilian hardwood, Garapa decking is an incredibly strong, high-density material with beautiful golden tones. Its extremely resistant to shrinking, splintering, cupping, twisting, checking and warping, and comes at a lower cost than many other natural hardwoods.

Another decking material that ages gracefully, Garapa has soft ribbon-like graining and darkens slightly with age, taking on a soft, silvery platinum hue.

Garapa rooftop decking, benched and planters photo by Sergey Raikin

 

ThermoWood Decking

ThermoWood decking is a very interesting natural wood decking option. The thermally modified wood process starts with natural kiln-dried wood species. The ThermoWood processes use only heat and water (no chemicals) to make the wood more resistant to insects and decay.

The result is a chocolaty brown decking material that is very stable (minimal seasonal expansion and contraction). ThermoWood decking may be oiled occasionally to maintain the ‘like-new wood’ look, or can weather naturally to a silver gray for a low maintenance deck option.

Thermowood decking on rooftop

 


 

Looking for a deeper dive into your decking material options?

Download the "Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Right Decking":

 

download the ultimate guide to decking

 

CHECK OUT OTHER HARDWOOD DECKING OPTIONS

 


 

Need a little deck design inspiration? Looking for deck ideas?

Download the "Deck Design Ideas Book" today

61 pages featuring over 150 deck project photos

 

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OR CHECK OUT THE DECK PROJECT PHOTO GALLERIES

 

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