Hardwood, Softwood & Composite Decking
Tel: 01202 576663

Decking Guide

Design

We offer a design service and are happy to come and visit, run through ideas and provide a free quote.

If we don’t feel an area is suitable for decking (ie. Under heavy tree cover), we will always point this out and suggest other alternatives.

Framework

A deck is nothing without a good frame.  70% of a deck you can”t see – no matter what type of deck the construction of the framework is of paramount importance.  Joists should be a maximum of 400mm apart (300mm in commercial applications) any more than this and decking can start sagging which causes puddling and consequently the timber rots far quicker.  We double up joists where deck boards join.

Unless space is restricted we will always use a minimum of 150mm x 50mm joists SC16 pressure treated softwood timber – recycled plastic joists can also be used. Where required, landscaping material will be placed underneath to restrict weed growth.

Construction

Deck boards come in a range of sizes from 75mm to 200mm wide and appearances, plain (smooth), ribbed, grooved or enhanced grip.

The edges of each board are machine chamfered to aid draining.  We also lay all boards at a slight fall (which also aids draining).  Grooved boards are installed with the grooves in the direction of the fall.  Joins in boards are staggered and kept to a minimum.

All decking is installed with a gap of approximately 3mm between boards.  This allows for the natural movement of the timber and helps surface drainage and ventilation of the entire structure.  Composite boards are more likely to move lengthwise so we allow gaps on the joins.

All cut timbers are end sealed (to prevent rot) and where appropriate we use either plated/galvanised fixings, stainless steel fixings and/or square drive deck screws throughout.

Timber Selection

Timber is broadly classified into two groups – softwood and hardwood.  This relates to the type of tree the wood comes from.

IMG_0215Softwood
  • Softwood comes from evergreen coniferous trees such as Larch, Spruce, Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir and most commonly Scandinavian Redwood.

 

IMG_0256Hardwood

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

 

 

 

 

Pro”s and Con”s

For decking a timber with high durability is desirable – wood will start to decay when its moisture content is persistently above 22%.

Softwood mostly has a lower density than hardwood so for outdoor use it must be pressure treated or steam heat treated.  It is popular for decking as it is less costly than other alternatives such as hardwood and composite.

Hardwood is usually higher in density than softwood and tends to offer more durability and is abrasion resistant, it offers more rich, attractive colours but these advantages are reflected in the price.

A properly constructed hardwood or pressure treated softwood deck will provide equivalent performance.

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Composite Deck Boards

Composite decking is an extremely effective replacement for wood.  Here are the advantages:-

  • Virtually maintenance free
  • Excellent anti slip properties
  • Some manufactured from recycled materials
  • Won”t splinter, fade or warp
  • Effective wood substitute
  •  A range of styles and colours available from contemporary to rustic