DIY / Home Improvement

How to Choose the Right Kind of Decking for Your Garden

With summer right around the corner, now is the perfect time to get your garden ready for those much-needed gatherings that we have missed so much over the last twelve months. 

Now, when it comes to outdoor redesigns and garden makeovers, decking is often a standout choice. But like with many things in life, decking comes in many forms and types, each offering different benefits and drawbacks so choosing the right king of decking for your garden can sometimes be a little overwhelming. 

In this blog, we take a closer look at the different deck types to make choosing the one that’s perfect for your garden a little easier.

Types of Decking 

Currently, four main types of decking are used within many garden renovations. These are pressure-treated softwood, hardwood, composite and PVC plastic boards. Each of these board types comes with its pros, cons and uses. 

So, let’s take a look! 

Pressure-Treated Softwood Boards 

These types of decking boards are by far the most popular and the kind seen in many gardens across the country due to their low cost. These deck boards are pressure-treated for durability, giving them a reasonable life span of up to 15 years if they are well cared for. They are also relatively easy to install but do come with a high level of maintenance such as regular staining, painting and cleaning to stay looking good. 

Pressure-treated boards are readily available and easily sourced as they are manufactured using organic wood materials, however, as a result of this, they do contribute to deforestation and can warp and split.

Hardwood Boards 

Next, we have hardwood decking boards. These are similar to pressure-treated softwood boards as they come from organic wood materials, however, these are more expensive and are sourced from tropical trees. Hardwood boards perform a little better than softwood boards as they are naturally resistant to rotting, splitting and warping but do still require regular maintenance. Thanks to their tropical origins, hardwood boards are widely considered as one of the most aesthetically pleasing decking materials to choose from.

Unlike softwood boards, hardwood decking can be difficult to install due to its solid nature. Drilling and cutting hardwood boards can sometimes be a challenge. This will need to be taken into consideration if you are planning an unorthodox deck design.

Composite Decking 

The third choice you have when it comes to decking materials is composite decking. This is the decking type that has gained the most popularity over the last decade or so thanks to its incredible low-maintenance offerings that save homeowners countless hours and hundreds, sometimes thousands over its lifespan. 

Composite decking is made using a combination of real wood flours and polymer resin, combining both plastic and wood materials to give a finished board that offers the best of both plastic and wood decking. Available with a ‘capped’ exterior that provides extra protection from mould, moisture and insects, composite decking provides an incredibly low-maintenance deck option that often comes with lifespan guarantees of up to 30 years!

As a result of all these advantages, however, composite decking is very expensive and unfortunately cannot be recycled.

PVC Plastic Boards 

The fourth and final deck option to choose from are PVC plastic boards. These offer similar characteristics to composites in terms of maintenance but are made solely from synthetic materials, so do not offer the organic wood appearance that composite boards provide and can look fairly artificial. Something you may wish to avoid if a natural look and feel is what you’re aiming for.

Plastic decking boards do not warp and split like wood alternatives but can be quite expensive when compared to other deck options. They do offer a long lifespan and can be recycled if you ever decide to get rid of them. In hotter conditions, however, they are warm underfoot which may be an issue if you have pets or young children.

So, there you have it! The four main types of decking material to choose from for your garden. Before deciding on which type to go for, be sure to consider a few things such as cost, maintenance and sustainability. When these factors have been thought about and decided, you can then make a choice on which decking material is best for you.

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