Wooden Decking: Enhancing Your Outdoor Space
Wooden decking is a popular choice for homeowners who want to create an attractive and functional outdoor space. Decking not only offers a great space for enjoying the great outdoors but also adds value to your home. In this article, we'll delve into the world of wooden decking, discussing the materials, styles, and benefits of these beautiful additions to your garden.
Wooden Decking: A Brief History
The concept of creating a deck, or an elevated wooden platform, has been around for centuries. Although predominantly popular in North America, the trend made its way to the British Isles by the late 20th century. The use of timber, specifically, as a decking material has deep roots in maritime history, where wood has been used to create the decks of ships for thousands of years. This experience has honed the techniques for creating durable and beautiful wooden decking for homeowners.
The Main Wood Types and Their Characteristics
When it comes to wooden decking, there are several wood species to choose from, depending on your preferences and needs. The most commonly used types are:
- Softwood Decking: Softwood decking is usually made from pressure-treated pine, spruce, or cedar. It is the most affordable option, and proper maintenance can still ensure durability.
- Hardwood Decking: Hardwood decking, typically made from teak, iroko, and balau timber, is highly durable and resistant to wear. Although it is more expensive than softwood, it requires less maintenance and lasts longer.
- Composite Decking: Composite decking is a combination of wood fibre and plastic. It offers the appearance of natural wood while providing increased durability and resistance to rot and insects.
Advantages of Wooden Decking
Wooden decking offers several benefits, such as:
- Aesthetic Appeal: Wood has an innate, timeless elegance that can blend seamlessly with various architectural styles and garden designs.
- Functionality: A well-designed wooden deck can increase your usable outdoor space, providing an ideal area for dining, relaxation, and entertaining.
- Customisation: Wooden decking allows for greater flexibility in design, as you can easily create your own shapes or add decorative elements, such as built-in seating or planters.
- Environmentally Friendly: By choosing timber from sustainable sources or opting for composite decking made from recycled materials, you can create an eco-friendly outdoor space.
Case Studies: Creative Wooden Decking Design Examples
The versatility of wooden decking can be showcased through various unique designs:
- Multi-Level Decking: East Coast Fencing has created a stunning multi-level deck in a British garden to make the most of the sloping site, creating the illusion of a more expansive outdoor area.
- A Deck with a View: A homeowner in coastal Britain requested a deck that would overlook the nearby seafront. East Coast Fencing designed an elevated deck with glass balustrades, resulting in uninterrupted views that are perfect for a serene seating area.
Understanding Decking Terminology
For beginners, some commonly used jargon terms in decking include:
- Joist: A horizontal structural member that supports the decking boards.
- Balustrade: A railing system that runs around the perimeter of the deck for safety and aesthetics.
- Bearers: Larger horizontal members that support the joists, distributing the weight of the deck.
Benefits of Wooden Decking Compared to Composite: A Thorough Comparison by East Coast Fencing
Homeowners who are thinking about installing a new deck have two primary materials to choose from: wooden decking and composite decking. While both materials have their advantages, wooden decking continues to be a popular choice for many British homeowners. In this comprehensive article, we aim to identify and present the benefits of wooden decking compared to composite, drawing on academic articles, research papers, and other credible sources.
Wooden decking, especially when made from high-quality, natural hardwoods such as teak, ipe, or cedar, can last for decades if properly maintained. These woods are naturally resistant to common problems like rot, decay, and insect infestations, which means that wooden decks can often outlive their composite counterparts.
Composite decking, made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic, offers a lower maintenance option, as they are resistant to warping, splintering, and rotting. However, they can also be prone to swelling in wet environments and may not offer the same longevity as wooden decking.
When it comes to traditional aesthetics, wooden decking is unparalleled. With a wide variety of textures, colours, and grains, natural wood decks provide a timeless and classic appearance that many homeowners find irresistible. This character is difficult to replicate with composite materials.
Composite decking can be made to mimic the look of natural wood, but it often lacks the warmth and character of genuine timber. Additionally, composite boards rarely exhibit the natural variations found in authentic wooden decking.
Wooden decking, when responsibly sourced and certified by organisations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), can be a sustainable option for eco-conscious homeowners. By choosing FSC-certified timber, consumers support the responsible management of forests around the globe.
Composite decking, on the other hand, is created from a combination of wood fibres and plastic. Although some manufacturers use recycled materials, the production process for composite decking typically consumes significant amounts of energy and generates waste. Furthermore, composite decks have a more limited lifespan compared to wooden ones, contributing to more frequent replacements and increased waste over time.
Wooden decking can offer a cost-effective solution for homeowners, particularly when choosing softwoods like pine or spruce. These options are generally more affordable than composite materials. However, it is important to consider the long-term maintenance costs associated with wooden decking, as it may require routine staining and sealing to retain its appearance.
Composite decking tends to come with a higher upfront cost, but because it demands less maintenance, some homeowners may find it an attractive long-term investment. Nonetheless, the overall cost comparison between the two materials greatly depends on individual preferences and the specific project scope.
In summary, wooden decking holds several benefits compared to composite decking, such as a more authentic aesthetic, potentially longer lifespan, and lower environmental impact. For homeowners who prefer a traditional appearance and prioritise sustainable materials, wooden decking is a compelling choice.
However, it is important to consider personal preferences, maintenance requirements and budgets when making a decision between wooden and composite decking. East Coast Fencing recommends consulting with experienced professionals to determine the best material choice for your unique decking project.