All You Wanted to Know About Decking

A timber deck provides space outdoors for dozing, dining or soaking up the sun. Decking can either be raised or at ground level. Few home improvements can match a deck for its usefulness, aesthetic appeal and adding value to a property. Decking is a natural product which blends in perfectly with the environment and lends itself to a variety of forms and styles. We will design and construct a deck specifically to suit your garden, taking into account your preferences, style and what your finished aim is.

At its most basic, the deck is simply a slatted duck board platform resting on the ground as an alternative to slabs or concrete, but it can be raised on stilts with steps, railings, seating or a hot tub. Compared to the installation of other outdoor surfaces, decking has numerous benefits:

  • Decks are warmer and more comfortable underfoot than traditional patio materials

  • Timber is an incredibly versatile material offering greater design and flexibility, particularly where changes of level are concerned

  • Decking has a lower density than traditional patio materials and is therefore suited to raised platforms and roof terraces

  • Because timber has natural “give”, decks provide a safer play area for children than traditional patio materials

  • Decking can be surprisingly cost-effective to install compared to traditional materials, especially where changes in level are required

  • Wood is the only major building product that is renewable

  • Steel, concrete, plastic and aluminum have a much larger carbon footprint than timber

Here is a simple deck with matching planter using Western Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata):

DECKING MATERIALS


Pine

The cheapest form of decking is soft wood ‘pine’, usually from Pseudotsuga Menziesii Glauca (Douglas Fir) or Pinus sylvestris (Scots Pine). Whilst this timber has considerable tensile and compressive strength, it lacks the aesthetic appeal or dimensional stability of the other timbers. If properly treated with preservative, it does have a good life expectancy, making it the ideal choice for the constructional timbers rather than the deck boards.

Western Red Cedar

Thuja Plicata is renowned for its natural beauty and its outstanding physical properties that make it one of the world's most unique wood species. This exceptionally beautiful wood has natural colouring in mellow ambers, reddish cinnamons, and rich sienna browns. Its warm colouring is complemented by a uniform fine-grained texture with a satin lustre. Slow growing and naturally durable Western Red Cedar has one of the longest life spans of any wood.


Thuja Plicata produces timber of long length with true straight grain. It's free from pitch and is naturally resistant to decay. Lightweight, easy to work with, easy to finish, and with outstanding dimensional stability, Western Red Cedar is one of the very best woods for virtually all purposes where attractive appearance or resistance to weather is important.

Western Red Cedar Deck with Lighting and Thujia Plicata planted into the deck

Thuja Plicata grows on North America's western edge from southern Alaska to northern California. The principal supplying region is the coastal forest of British Columbia. Thuja Plicata grows in mixed forests with other species such as Pseudotsuga Menziesii Picea Sitchensis (Sitka Spruce), Tsuga Heterophylla (Western Hemlock), and Abies Balsamea (Balsam Fir). Forestry practices are guided by the internationally recognized sustainable forest management system elements of ISO 14001 as part of CSA Z809 Canadian National Standard. These high standards of sustainable forestry are audited by third party inspection agencies to ensure compliance with certification standards. Forest management plans control harvest levels and require reforestation to enhance natural regeneration and ensure regional biodiversity.


Cedar Deck With Raised Bed Water Feature and Trellis

Western Red Cedar Deck With Raised Planter


Western Red Cedar is one of the few wood species that are naturally at home outdoors. It is classified as a durable wood by building codes across North America which permits its use outside WITHOUT the use of preservative. Cedar contains extractives which act as natural fungicides which prevent fungal attack and hence prevent decay. The two principal extractives are Thujaplicans and water soluble phenolics.


Cedar Deck with Cedar Planter


Cedar Deck with Lights


Dimensional stability is essential for a wood product to maintain its shape during its service life. This is especially true for products exposed to climatic variations associated with external use. Western Red Cedar has twice the stability of most commonly available conifers. In service, cedar products shrink and swell minimally with changes in moisture. This superior resistance to warping, cupping and twisting makes cedar the best choice for decking. At a moisture content of 12%, Western Red Cedar weighs only 370Kg per cubic metre and has a specific gravity of only 0.33, making it one of the lightest woods available. This relatively low density results from the relatively larger percentage of lower density early wood and less of the higher density later wood found in the annual growth rings.

Western Red Cedar Deck with Lighting and Thujia Plicata planted into the deck


Western Red Cedar Deck with Lighting and Cornus planted into the deck


Western Red Cedar is available in 2 grades.

Cedar Deck Clear

This is the highest grade of Western Red Cedar decking available. It has a fine-grained knot-free appearance and is machined from predominantly vertical grain stock. Cedar Deck Clear is manufactured by Western Red Cedar Lumber Association member mills to the highest industry standard.

SIZE 25 X 90 MM 25 X 140 MM

Cedar Deck

This is the highest grade of ‘Architectural Knotty’ Western Red Cedar available, exceeding grading rules set by the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. Durable, well-manufactured cedar decking that comes ready to use. This sound, tight knotted decking meets both size and quality expectations of the highest specifications. The smooth skip-free dressing over the entire face makes it the ideal deck surface. Simply the best choice for the natural beauty and lasting charm of a knotty deck.

SIZE 25 X 90 MM 25 X140 MM 40 X 90 MM 40 X 140 MM

Cedar Decking

HARDWOOD DECKING

IPE (Tabebuia serratifolia)

A South American hardwood that is one of the hardest woods on earth. It is three times stronger than oak. As a result, IPE is extremely hardwearing and will provide many years of hard service in the most challenging environments. IPE has a natural dark brown colour with occasional yellow tints and yellowish brown sap. Left unstained, it will gradually age to a lighter brown with grey overtones. IPE may also be stained to retain its rich dark brown colour or to give a gloss finish.


YELLOW BALAU (Barbata)


A Malaysian hardwood which is extremely durable, it does not require treatment. It is incredibly hard, heavy and strong. This makes it excellent for deck construction. Yellow Balau has an interlocking grain and a fine and even texture. Its colour varies between yellowish brown, brown, and pale reddish brown. An occasional pinhole is acceptable within the grading rules of this species.

TATAJUBA (Bagassa Guianensis)

A naturally durable South American hardwood. It is a hard and heavy timber with strength comparable to that of oak. Tatajuba is pale yellow, becoming an attractive golden chestnut colour as a result of sunlight. Tatauba has very low volumetric shrinkage and is therefore very stable.


DECK LIGHTING


We offer a range of bespoke lighting solutions to suit every design of deck. Extremely useful if you are using your deck for entertaining at night:



PINE DECKING


We offer a range of pine decks:



In recent months with the reduction in timber prices, pine decks have become much more attractive, particularly where a relatively large area needs to be covered or where keeping down costs is a priority.


Pine Deck with Lights

Pine is a softer wood and absorbs more water than cedar or hardwoods. This absorbed water makes the deck slippery, especially in frosty weather. As a result, pine decking boards have a fluted or ribbed profile. This profile helps to prevent slipping on the decking when it is wet or frosty.


Written by Stephen Charles

Updated March 2021

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