With warmer weather, are your thoughts turning to outdoor entertaining and living? With a clever design, adding a new decking area can create an attractive and practical space for entertaining and relaxing that will add value to your property, create indoor-outdoor flow and maximise your floor area.
Whether you are installing new decking as an extension from indoor living spaces, surrounding your spa or pool area, or as an entrance way to your home, there are many things to consider when selecting a material. There are so many material options available that it can be challenging to know what to choose! Considerations will include budget, environment, ongoing maintenance, where your deck is positioned and how you will use it.
1. Timber decking
Timeless classics, locally grown pine and macrocarpa are top choices and the most cost-effective option in decking materials. Sustainably grown, they have less impact on the environment, and with annual maintenance, these decks maintain tip-top condition. Cleaning down your deck with an appropriate deck cleaning solution and re-staining will mean your deck lasts longer.
Other timber options include hardwoods such as Kwila, Garapa, Garrah, and Purple Heart, which are much stronger than pine, and less likely to warp over time. Kwila is one of the best performing hardwoods for New Zealand conditions. Hardwoods are generally much more expensive than softwoods and are also less sustainable. Like softwoods, annual maintenance will ensure you get a long-lasting deck. Use a stiff brush and deck cleaning solution to clean away the buildup of dirt and natural resins that have leached. Re-oiling your deck will help protect the timber and bring out its natural colour and beauty.
2. Composite decking
Composite decking has recently gained popularity as the technology has ensured it has become more resistant to the damage caused by high UV levels in New Zealand. Made with recycled wood and recycled plastic, it provides a natural-looking product that is virtually maintenance-free, requiring no regular staining or oiling. Composite decking is available in various colours, meaning you can better select a product to blend with your building and surroundings. Composite decking is more expensive than using natural timber; however, coupled with its longevity, it is still a reasonably cost-effective option in the long term. Watch your feet though; in comparison to timber decking the surface of composite decking can heat up in hot weather, causing discomfort if walking on it in bare feet.
Bamboo is a newcomer to the decking market and not as readily sourced as timber or composites. It has gained popularity due to being one of the most renewable plant sources on the market. Bamboo reaches maturity in as little as five years, with the wood being harvested repeatedly from the same plant. It becomes a durable decking material and, like composite decking, has little to no need for ongoing maintenance.
With the addition of seating and strategically placed lighting, a cleverly designed deck will create an addition to your home living spaces, creating an ‘outdoor room’. Building a pergola or louvre system above your deck will keep you sheltered from the sun and rain, meaning you can entertain in all weathers. The addition of oriental trellis panelling or carefully selected plants will add privacy and shelter from prevailing winds.