When planning the perfect outdoor deck, the choice of timber can significantly influence both the aesthetic appeal and the longevity of your deck. With a plethora of options available, selecting the right wood for decking can be a daunting task. This comprehensive guide aims to enlighten you on the various types of timber used for decking, helping you to make an informed decision for your outdoor space.

1. Hardwoods

Hardwoods are often the go-to choice for decking due to their durability and resistance to rot and insects. Here’s a closer look at the most popular hardwood options:

Ipe (Brazilian Walnut)

  • Pros: Extremely durable, resistant to mould, fire, and insects. It’s one of the hardest woods available.
  • Cons: Its hardness makes it difficult to work with, and it's one of the more expensive options.


  • Pros: Known for its exceptional durability and natural resistance to the elements and termites. It also doesn’t require much maintenance.
  • Cons: High demand and limited supply make teak a pricier choice.


  • Pros: Popular in Australia, it’s valued for its stability, durability, and rich dark colour that weathers well.
  • Cons: It has a tendency to bleed when wet, which can stain adjacent surfaces.


  • Pros: Native to Western Australia, it’s known for its rich reddish hue, durability, and resistance to weather and insects.
  • Cons: Like many hardwoods, it can be expensive, and it also requires regular maintenance to retain its colour.

2. Softwoods

Softwoods are generally more affordable and have a quicker renewability rate than hardwoods. They might require more maintenance but can still provide a beautiful decking solution.

Pine (Treated)

  • Pros: Widely available and affordable. When pressure-treated, it becomes resistant to rot and insects.
  • Cons: It’s softer than hardwood, making it more susceptible to scratches and dents.


  • Pros: Naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insects without the need for chemical treatment. It has a beautiful natural colour.
  • Cons: Being a softwood, it can be prone to damage if not properly maintained.


  • Pros: Offers a stunning, natural look and is resistant to shrinking, warping, and insects.
  • Cons: Availability can be limited outside the western United States, and it can be expensive.

3. Composite Decking

While not timber, composite decking is worth considering for its sustainability and low maintenance.


  • Made from a mix of wood fibers and plastic, it's designed to look like wood but requires far less maintenance.
  • Resistant to rot, warping, and splinters.
  • Usually comes with a warranty against defects.


  • Some types can be slippery when wet.
  • Can be more expensive initially than natural wood, but cost savings in maintenance can offset the initial investment over time.

4. Bamboo

Technically a grass, bamboo is becoming an increasingly popular decking material due to its sustainability, strength, and durability.


  • It’s environmentally friendly, growing much faster than hardwood trees.
  • Offers a modern, unique look compared to traditional wood decking.


  • Quality can vary between suppliers, so it’s important to source from reputable ones.
  • Requires similar maintenance to hardwood to maintain its appearance.

Making Your Choice

When selecting timber for decking, consider the climate in your area, the level of maintenance you’re willing to commit to, and the aesthetic you wish to achieve. Hardwoods offer durability and beauty but come at a premium price and may require more maintenance. Softwoods are more affordable and have a smaller ecological footprint but typically do not last as long as hardwoods unless properly maintained. Composite materials and bamboo offer sustainable, low-maintenance alternatives with their unique set of benefits and considerations.

Regardless of your choice, investing in high-quality materials and proper installation will ensure that your deck remains a beautiful and functional extension of your home for years to come.