Decking Installations

Pros and Cons of Softwood, Composite and Hardwood Decking

Surrey, Sussex and Greater London
What type of decking should I choose?

Decking is an excellent way to add both appeal and value to your home or premises. Patio or low level decking can be the perfect solution to hide an unattractive space or simply raise an area to be level with a conservatory. Decking is versatile and can be designed for dining areas, play areas or somewhere to have a peaceful rest.

So, you have decided that you would like to have a deck installed in your garden - now what?

For the purposes of this guide we are going to look at the pros and cons of three of the types of deck that you may come across.

grangee lite eyecat cher panel

Softwood Decking
softwood deck board

Softwood comes from evergreen coniferous trees such as Larch, Spruce, Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir and most commonly Scandinavian Redwood

Pros

Cheapest type of decking

Value for money

Wood fibres are tightly packed together and this structure gives the boards the strength and durability needed to last

Readily available

Pressure treated boards

Can stain a different colour

Cut from coniferous trees which are quicker growing and therefore more economical

Variety of designs- smooth, grooved, enhanced grip and reeded

Cons

Yearly maintenance- staining, cleaning etc

Doesn’t look as luxurious as other types

If not stained will go from wood colour to grey.

Doesn't look it's best after 7-10 years

Composite Decking - effective wood substitute

There are two types of composite decking. Wood and plastic and Wood free

Wood and plastic mix
black composite decking

Pros

10 year full manufacturer’s warranty

Expected lifespan of over 25 years and beyond

Can come as a more afforadble hollow type- but solid is better

Made from recycled materials

Anti-splinter

Child friendly

Heat resistant

Some have a hidden fixing system

Slip resistant

Consistent product colour

No need to paint, sand or seal each year

Free of toxic additives.

Virtually maintenance free

A range of styles and colours available from contemporary to rustic

Cons

More costly than softwood decking

Cannot change the colour by staining it in the future.

Treated softwood can be used as the frame underneath, if composite boards were to be used under the frame this can be more pricey. We would recommend that composite joists are chosen.

Wood-free decking
Millboard golen oak decking
Pros

Solid board

Durable and long lasting

Stain and mould resistant

Maintenance free- no sanding or staining needed

Children and pet safe - splinter free

Algae resistant - No wood fibres to support mould or algae growth.

Virtually no expansion or contraction - perfect for a safer deck or boardwalk.

Interesting textures and visual effects

Non-abrasive anti-slip finish

Cons

Very few cons! - Main consideration is cost. We would recommend that composite joists are chosen

Doesn't always have the warmth of real wood

Hardwood Decking
hardwood decking

Hardwood comes from broadleaved trees such as Massaranduba, Opepe, Ipe and most commonly, Yellow Balau.

Pros

FSC certified boards

Certain types have a unique invisible fastener system

Warmest, natural material

Like an indoor floor, outdoors.

A WOW factor

Tropical hard woods are very durable.

Hardwood needs a greater expertise in carpentry skills than softwood.

Cons

Cost

Yearly oiling

This guide was a simple look at the pros and cons of softwood, composite and hardwood decking. There is a far greater range when you start looking into each supplier and the types that they offer. Whichever supplier you choose to go with, remember to get samples and discuss the various colours, styles etc within their own range. The companies that we have featured are companies where we trust in the quality of their decking.