• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Which wood for decking

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Mark18PLL

Established Member
Joined
15 Mar 2020
Messages
125
Reaction score
19
Location
Lancashire
Hi, I am replacing my decking and undecided which wood to use, i thought about Siberian larch or red cedar. What are the thoughts or is their anything else to consider apart from composite?

Thanks

M
 

harryc

Established Member
Joined
27 Apr 2007
Messages
339
Reaction score
40
Have you considered yellow balau, more expensive but will outlast your pressure treated frame.
 

robgul

Barry Bucknell is my hero
Joined
13 Feb 2020
Messages
414
Reaction score
224
Location
Stratford-upon-Avon
I would stay away from both of your ideas - they're for wall cladding not "flooring" - we had a deck with cedar (the wood was a gift) and it didn't last long at all. We replaced it with Yellow Balau - not cheap but very tough and durable, and reasonably environmentally friendly/sustainable.

Edit: great minds think alike at precisely the same moment!
 

Mark18PLL

Established Member
Joined
15 Mar 2020
Messages
125
Reaction score
19
Location
Lancashire
Thanks for the replies, i will have a look at that. We also want to clad a retaining wall with 2x1 strips, can you get Balau for this or would one of the other two look ok if mixing together?

Cheers
 

robgul

Barry Bucknell is my hero
Joined
13 Feb 2020
Messages
414
Reaction score
224
Location
Stratford-upon-Avon
Thanks for the replies, i will have a look at that. We also want to clad a retaining wall with 2x1 strips, can you get Balau for this or would one of the other two look ok if mixing together?

Cheers
When we were looking for the deck timber I went to these people near Widnes Homepage - we ended up getting a rather better price from a local builder's merchant but Silva did have a lot of info and samples. Most timber merchants of any quality would be able to mill (i.e. saw!) to specification.

The other product to look at for the wall cladding is Thermowood - which is softwood (pine or spruce usually) that has been "baked" to harden it - it looks like hardwood but is waaay cheaper. Allegedly it has a life greater than cedar - starts out as a sort of pitch-pine colour but should fade a silver/grey colour. I'm just in the process of cladding a wall with it (albeit in 19 x 90 boards) see pic.
DSC01367.JPG
This is the Yellow Balau decking at our previous house (with the cement render painting in progress!) - by the time we moved about 4 years later it was a silvery/brown colour.
DSC00689.JPG
. . . and while I'm digging around the photographs this is our (current house) front fence work in progress (now complete) made from nothing more exotic than cheap tile batten, in this case painted black with Cuprinol Garden shades - the back garden fence is going to be the same with just plain treated timber that will go to to a silver/grey quite quickly

EDIT- in both cases vertical battens were screwed to existing wood or concrete posts ans the horizontal battens fixed with a battery powered staple/nail gun (using staples and A few screws where the old fence was slightly mis-aligned)
DSC01049.JPG
 
Last edited:

Just4Fun

Established Member
Joined
21 Sep 2017
Messages
700
Reaction score
142
Location
Finland
The other product to look at for the wall cladding is Thermowood
I used that for our decking. It is made about 25 km from us so we got it straight from the mill.

The advantage of Thermowood (for me at least) was that it is long-lasting without needing any finish to be applied (and re-applied, and re-applied ad nauseum). At a previous house we had a decking that needed to be re-treated every year ideally, every 2 years as a minimum, but I don't know if that was down to our climate. Anyway, our Thermowood decking has had no treatment at all, ever, and I like that.

There are 3 downsides that I am aware of:

First, the colour. It starts off a lovely warm brown colour but if you want it to stay that way you would have to treat it with varnish or something. I haven't done that so it has faded to a grey colour. I knew that would happen and I don't mind it but I think few would claim it is an attractive colour and I imagine it could turn some people off the product.

Second, there is a significant loss of strength compared to untreated wood.This did not matter for our decking but keep it in mind for anything structural.

Third, the heat treatment seems to rip the guts out of the wood. Again, not important for our decking but it is the opposite of close-grained and I think would be horrible for joinery work.
 

robgul

Barry Bucknell is my hero
Joined
13 Feb 2020
Messages
414
Reaction score
224
Location
Stratford-upon-Avon
Where did you buy the yellow balau from?
Thanks mark
A local builder's merchant sourced it for us (Buildbase in Stratford-upon-Avon) - so a bit of a way from you! Most timber merchants should be able to find it.
[Going to Silva was part of the research process - and happened to be sort of on our way to visit a daughter that lives near Clitheroe, Lancs]
 

robgul

Barry Bucknell is my hero
Joined
13 Feb 2020
Messages
414
Reaction score
224
Location
Stratford-upon-Avon
I used that for our decking. It is made about 25 km from us so we got it straight from the mill.

The advantage of Thermowood (for me at least) was that it is long-lasting without needing any finish to be applied (and re-applied, and re-applied ad nauseum). At a previous house we had a decking that needed to be re-treated every year ideally, every 2 years as a minimum, but I don't know if that was down to our climate. Anyway, our Thermowood decking has had no treatment at all, ever, and I like that.

There are 3 downsides that I am aware of:

First, the colour. It starts off a lovely warm brown colour but if you want it to stay that way you would have to treat it with varnish or something. I haven't done that so it has faded to a grey colour. I knew that would happen and I don't mind it but I think few would claim it is an attractive colour and I imagine it could turn some people off the product.

Second, there is a significant loss of strength compared to untreated wood.This did not matter for our decking but keep it in mind for anything structural.

Third, the heat treatment seems to rip the guts out of the wood. Again, not important for our decking but it is the opposite of close-grained and I think would be horrible for joinery work.
I'd agree with that is saws very easily BUT drilling the 30mm holes for the lights (with a Forstner bit) tore the back out of the board even when clamped to sacrificial board. For our wall-cladding it's great.
 

ian33a

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
18 Mar 2021
Messages
21
Reaction score
8
Location
Camberley, Surrey
I've done two decks with yellow Balau and have been very pleased with both.

Whatever you choose I very much recommend that you buy decking with a ribbed surface.

While a smooth surface looks nice, it becomes lethally slippery in the winter months due to green algae and other such unwelcome deposits.

Obviously, water freezes in the cold and this does no favours in the winter months on smooth decking either.
 

harryc

Established Member
Joined
27 Apr 2007
Messages
339
Reaction score
40
I've done two decks with yellow Balau and have been very pleased with both.

Whatever you choose I very much recommend that you buy decking with a ribbed surface.

While a smooth surface looks nice, it becomes lethally slippery in the winter months due to green algae and other such unwelcome deposits.

Obviously, water freezes in the cold and this does no favours in the winter months on smooth decking either.
Everybody has their preferences but the ribbed don’t look pleasing to my eye and as long as you give the deck a clean in late Autumn then there is no issue with algae.
 

robgul

Barry Bucknell is my hero
Joined
13 Feb 2020
Messages
414
Reaction score
224
Location
Stratford-upon-Avon
Everybody has their preferences but the ribbed don’t look pleasing to my eye and as long as you give the deck a clean in late Autumn then there is no issue with algae.
Have to say I agree - ribbed looks awful/cheap - yes the Yellow Balau we had was very slippery in winter - but we seldom ventured outside onto the deck in winter. An early pre-Easter blast over with the pressure washer sorted out any alage etc.
 

ian33a

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
18 Mar 2021
Messages
21
Reaction score
8
Location
Camberley, Surrey
"yes the Yellow Balau we had was very slippery in winter - but we seldom ventured outside onto the deck in winter."

Unfortunately, with one of our decks, we do need to venture across it and, because it isn't in an especially exposed location, it does attract the algae that I referred to in an earlier post. I agree that some ribbed decking can look like the cheap softwood stuff, but, shopping around, we found a profile which looked good to us and, alternating between a smooth and ribbed profile made the whole thing look a lot nicer on the eye.
 

JoshD

Established Member
Joined
3 Dec 2020
Messages
88
Reaction score
90
Location
Norfolk
We used a sustainable hardwood called ipe. It's super, very tough; not ribbed so it needs spreading to clear algae to reduce winter slippiness
 

robgul

Barry Bucknell is my hero
Joined
13 Feb 2020
Messages
414
Reaction score
224
Location
Stratford-upon-Avon
We used a sustainable hardwood called ipe. It's super, very tough; not ribbed so it needs spreading to clear algae to reduce winter slippiness
Interestingly the timber merchant we went to (this was late 2016) wouldn't sell Ipe (which we identified initially) as it was deemed not to be a sustainable timber.

A quick Google on Ipe just now brought up this comment, not definitive . . . but:

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, Ipe species grow in very low densities, with mature trees only occurring once per 300,000 to 1,000,000 square feet (3 to 10 hectares) of forest area. This necessitates the clearing of large sections of rainforest trees (most of which are of little commercial value). Though uncommon, certified sources of Ipe are available.
 
Last edited:
Top