Decking is a very attractive type of surface covering for any area. It is usually used outside and is traditionally made of wooden planks which are laid down flush next to each other to form a solid surface. Decking is generally used outside and is most commonly used around jazuzzi’s, saunas and swimming pools. Stoeps and balconies are also commonly decked, but decks are now being installed in other places around the home and the office for a more trendy and modern look, such as in the bathroom or lounge.
Whereas wood has always been the preferred material for decking, there are now more basic kinds of materials which are being used for attractive and functional decking option.
1. Wood is still popular as it is traditional, resilient, cost effective, readily available and easy to install using minimal tools and expertise. The wood is quite often treated to be resistant to moisture, insects and rot. However wood can swell with moisture and cause the decking to become uneven. Woods which are commonly used are redwood and other hardwoods which are imported. The problem with hardwoods is that while they are very durable, they are also incredibly hard, and can be difficult to install as it is so hard to drill and nail into them. Hardwoods also tend to be very heavy and difficult to cut. Hardwoods can also be difficult to stain or colour and their grain is so close. Care must also be taken to ensure that imported woods are harvested from permitted areas.
2. Composite decking is related to plastic decking, and is fast becoming a very trendy choice for use just about anywhere. This decking is manufactured from synthetic mixes of wood fibres and various plastics. Sometimes the whole product is made from recycled materials, which make them a very environmentally option. The “planks” are constructed in factories in standard and custom made sizes and shapes. They are also available in an endless array of colours and textures. They are very moisture proof, do not rot or warp.
3. Plastic lumber is made only of plastic and does not include any wood. This has all the advantages of composite decking, but is cheaper. A wide range of balusters and rails are also available to match the deck materials.
4. Aluminium is becoming increasingly used as it has all the advantages of plastic decking but looks very attractive and is longer wearing. It is however more expensive.