Timber Decking – How to Choose One That’s Right for You
With the advent of technology, house owners today have a wider choice of materials for their timber decking (a.k.a. outdoor timber flooring). While no one material is perfect, choosing one that serves your needs will save you money & unwanted hassles further down the line. By equipping yourself with some basic know-how, you are better able to make informed decisions when choosing which materials to use for your timber decking.
The following are a few types of outdoor timber decking materials:
(i) Solid hardwood – in Malaysia, wood that is typically used for the installation of timber decking include Chengal, Balau & Belian.
(ii) Engineered wood – this refers to natural wood that has been ‘engineered’ for a variety of benefits and is typically made up of real wood layers that are glued together in cross-grain construction for added strength. Heveatech decking, for example, is a type of engineered wood that has been engineered for increased durability & stability, termites resistance, as well as faster & more even installation.
(iii) WPC or Wood-plastic composite – as its name suggests, this type of material typically combines ground wood particles, plastic & other fillers to mimic the appearance of natural wood.
The easiest starting point when choosing timber decking material is to first consider – are you only interested in real wood products or would you consider other types of material? Once you have established that, other considerations become less confusing. Factors to consider once you have narrowed down the type(s) of timber decking material you are interested in, compare the features of your shortlisted products. Several important considerations when comparing different timber decking systems include durability, stability, resistance to termites, ease of maintenance, product warranty & pricing.
How durable is your chosen product? Is it resistant against termites? Is it prone to rotting & decay within the short term? References, third-party certifications & lab test results are several good indications that the product has been performance tested.
This refers to the decking’s structure/form – will it alter in the short term, causing your decking to twist, cup, rot, delaminate or break when exposed to the wet and dry seasons of our tropical climate?
How easy or difficult is the installation of your chosen timber decking system compared to others? Is the installation quicker and/or less messy compared to another?
What are the maintenance requirements of your chosen timber decking system? Is it easier or more difficult to maintain compared to all the other options?
Does your timber decking contractor or product manufacturer offer you a product warranty? When all’s said & done, a product warranty is perhaps a more practical indication of quality & helps safeguard house owners from installing an inferior decking system. So, be sure to check this one out.
When budgeting for your decking, consider all the above factors and how it fits into or affects your lifestyle. For example, if Product A has a lifespan of 2 years & costs 20% less than Product B, which has a lifespan of 10 years, which would you choose? While Product A will cost less initially, its short lifespan would mean that you will need to replace the decking every 2 years. This means that over a period of 10 years, Product B is actually the more cost-effective option.
Despite the varied timber decking products/brands and systems available in the market today, choosing one that is right for you is not all that hard once you’ve put your needs and preferences into perspective. As long as you do not lose sight on what you require, choosing a timber decking that meets your needs can be a breeze!