Timber decks are typically made from hardwoods such as merbau and kwilla. The World conservation Union describes merbau as facing a high risk of extinction in the next 35 years¹. Pine decking uses chemical treatments such as chromated copper arsenate (ccA) and treated timber is not as durable as hardwood in an outdoor environment. However, the natural beauty of timber is highly appealing.
An alternative to timber decking is Composite decking. Composite decking comprises a mixture of two materials, typically timber waste and recycled material, such as plastic bottles or plastic bags. given that Composite decking is more environmentally friendly, the composite choice is becoming increasingly popular.
Composite decking comes in various natural tones and finishes and given the high wood component, timber composite products look remarkably like natural timber. The high wood component also means that timber composites handle just like timber and cut just like timber; there is no need for special tools or equipment. but unlike timber decking, a composite deck is relatively maintenance free.
While a timber deck will require a finishing coat once laid and then ongoing maintenance as the years roll on, a composite deck does not require any finishing and only minimal maintenance year after year.
The maintenance of a timber deck can be time consuming and costly. beyond the initial finishing, to keep a timber deck looking at its best, maintenance is required every 6-12 months. regular maintenance may involve sanding, sealing, staining, painting, oiling and cleaning. Without this regular care and attention, the durability and aesthetic appeal of a timber deck will reduce and continue to degrade over time. Another disadvantage to the environment is the toxicity of the chemicals and preservatives used in the staining, painting and oiling of timber decks. To avoid the hassle, expense and environmental degradation involved with maintaining a timber deck, Composite decking is a viable alternative. Unlike timber decking, Composite decking is low maintenance. While annual cleaning is advised, there is no need to refinish as Composite decking is prefinished in the manufacturing process.
Basically, the manufacturing process fuses together the wood fibre and recycles plastic with a special mix of additives. These additives are chemical stabilisers designed to enhance the UV protection and longevity of the composite boards. Also unlike timber, Composite decking is resistance to mould, weathering, warping and termites!