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Choosing the right timber for the deck

A deck is a popular addition to a garden and choosing a sunny spot, where a barbeque can be within easy reach is an ideal way to spend a sunny afternoon, but choosing the right material for the decking is just as important as the position in the garden. The deck is perfect for family and friends to sit on the warm sunny days or evenings.

The most common timber used by most of us is softwood as this is easy to work and it is relatively cheap compared to hardwoods. However, it is vital that softwood is treated to prevent decay and the best way is for this to be pressure treated. There are basically two types of pressure treatment, water based chemicals or spirit based solvents.

The most common is the water based type and this is often referred to as “Tanalised” and it certainly is effective. The one downside to this is that it can warp as it is not water repellent, it also will need to be stained each year after it has been pressure washed, this is why it may be better to choose a pressure treated spirit based solvent.

The ultimate choice for a deck is hardwood and the choice is wider and varied, cedar or eucalyptus species will last and require minimal refurbishing, they will not distort and can stand up to hard ware, but it is more expensive.

An alternative to both of these is a composite which is made from a combination of wood and plastic to mimic the appearance of aesthetic wood. However ensure that any cut ends are well protected as they are the vulnerable part of the composite, but nonetheless virtually maintenance free.

Picture: Rob Bridge

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