Which timber to use for decking

Building a deck is a great way to add extra living space and value to your home. But before the building can begin, there are a few things you need to consider when selecting timber for your deck.

Where Will Your Deck be Located?

Be sure to choose a material that can withstand your particular climate conditions. For example, the amount of sun or shade your deck receives will determine whether the colour will fade quickly.

How Much Maintenance are You Happy to do?

Whichever material you choose, your deck will need regular maintenance (most likely annually) to keep it looking great. Keep in mind that some decks are quicker and easier to maintain than others.

What is Your Budget?

Decking materials vary in price, from more expensive hardwoods to low-cost treated pine. The good news is there’s a material to suit every budget.

Types of Decking Material

Now that you’ve considered the basics, here are four popular materials that are widely used for Australian decks:

hardwood decking

Hardwoods

Hardwoods are a great option for Australian decks – they’re extremely durable, highly resilient and can look, feel and even smell great. Popular hardwoods include Jarrah, Spotted Gum and Merbau, which is the most common timber decking in Australia.

Appearance

Hardwoods can provide a stylish look to enhance any outdoor space. Every timber is different, but it’s hard to go past the warm red-brown tones of Merbau or rich brown Jarrah. The best part is, with the right care and maintenance, their good looks will last for many years to come.

Installation

Because they are so dense, hardwood decks can more difficult to drill and nail. But with time and patience, the high quality results are well worthwhile.

Maintenance

Without regular maintenance, hardwood decks can weather and even rot in the harsh Aussie climate. So be sure to apply a timber finish or oil to your deck yearly to ensure its good looks last.

Cost

Hardwood decks tend to cost less than composite decking but more than treated pine decks.

treated pine

Treated Pine

One of the most commonly used timbers around the home, treated pine is a versatile and affordable decking choice. Treated pine is Radiata Pine that’s been pressure-treated to withstand decay, fungi and termites.

Appearance

While it doesn’t have the same visual appeal as the hardwoods, you can stain or paint treated pine to get the look you want.

Installation

Treated pine is easy to work with, lightweight and versatile, making it a good option for D.I.Y. installation.

Maintenance

Treated pine must be oiled yearly for lasting results.

Cost

Treated pine costs less than other options, making it a great choice for bigger decks and smaller budgets.

composite decking

Composite Decking

Made from a mix of wood fibres and recycled plastic, composite decking is an easy and environmentally friendly alternative to timber. Popular brands, like Ekodeck and Modwood, offer highly weather-resistant products designed specifically for Australian backyards.

Appearance

Composite decking comes in various timber looks to suit your outdoor space, such as Jarrah, Silver Gum, Highland Oak and more.

Installation

Composite decking can be installed as a D.I.Y. project but it can be heavy to handle, so get lots of hands on deck!

Maintenance

Composite decking is incredibly durable and less likely to fade, warp, rot or splinter than timber decks. It’s also extremely low maintenance. No need for oiling and staining – simply wash it down with a composite deck cleaner.

Cost

Composite decking tends to be a more expensive option.

modular decking

Modular Decking

Modular decking is real timber boards prefabricated into panels that are fast and easy to install.

Appearance

Because modular decking is made of real wood, you can choose from Merbau, treated pine and more.

Installation

Modular decking is incredibly easy to install, even on uneven surfaces. The deck kit includes pre-assembled sub-frames and pre-made decking board panels, which you simply attach together.

Maintenance

When made from popular hardwoods, like Merbau, modular decking is very durable. However, just like hardwood decking, you still need to maintain it by oiling the decking boards every year.

Cost

Because it is prefabricated, modular decking can be more expensive.

Build Your Own Deck

Now you’ve chosen the right timber for your deck, find out how to build your own deck.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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