Timber is the oldest construction material used by man. But it’s only been recently appreciated by homeowners as one of the best construction materials for decking.
The good thing about timber is it has a wide range of options to choose from and is available almost everywhere. So, you will never have a problem looking for a reliable supplier. The only problem you may face is choosing the best timber for decking.
When looking for the best timber for decking, you must familiarise yourself first with timber types’ basic specifications:
- Types of timber: Hardwood and softwood are the two types of timber. Their difference is hardwood is heavy, has a complex structure and grows slowly; while softwood is light and grows quickly.
Due to the hardwood’s toughness, it’s always been the best timber for decking, furniture making and flooring. While for the hardwood, it is also used in heavy construction but mainly for cladding, poles and structural framing. But in recent years, softwood becomes the best timber for decking because some of its types have the same sturdiness with the hardwood.
- Species: Timber has several species types, but the most common in Australia is Eucalyptus. Knowing about the species type will help you understand the advantages of each timber type.
- Location of Origin: This is important to take note to ensure that your chosen timber type is available on your location. This will save you from expensive shipping fee.
- Appearance: This is a must-look to ensure your chosen timber type will fit the design you want.
- Durability: The durability of the materials is the key for your timber decking to last for a long time.
Knowing the basic information will help you fasten your research. But if you don’t have the time, here are the common timbers used for decking.
Blackbutt is a hardwood that belongs to the Eucalyptus species. This originated on the Coast of New South Wales and Queensland Australia. The Blackbutt tree can grow and reach 40-60cm in height with 1-2m in diameter. Its colour ranges from pink to pink-brown or golden yellow to light brown. You will know if the Blackbutt you are looking is in good condition when it has an even grain, colour, and texture. If you see any twisted parts on it, it’s advisable not to choose it.
Blackbutt is one of the best timbers for decking because it is known for its durability. It has a class type 1 if built above the ground and can last up to 40 years. But if it is built in-ground, the class type is 2 and can last approximately 15 to 25 years. You don’t have to worry about termite infestation because Blackbutt is termite and fire resistant.
Aside for decking, Blackbutt is also versatile to use in pergolas, rails exterior and mouldings.
Cypress is softwood that belongs to the Pine species. Cypress originates from the inland areas of Australia. The Cypress tree ranges from 3m to 80m in height. This is considered one of the oldest trees in the world because it can reach for over 200 years old or more. This isn’t surprising as Cypress tree can withstand bad soil, flooding, and other rough weather conditions.
Cypress’ available colours are white, brown, chocolate, and light yellow to light brown. It also has grain that is normally straight with even and fine texture. This becomes the best timber for decking because there are some cypress’ that produces tight knots which can serve as a design when building fencing gates or furniture. Not to mention, pine species can absorb oils, varnishes, urethane, and paints.
The Cypress’ durability differ depends on the location – if it was built above the ground, it is class type 1 and can last more than 40 years. But if it is built in-ground, it’s class type is 2 and can last approximately 15 to 25 years. Cypress is termite resistant.
Spotted Gum is a hardwood that belongs to the Eucalyptus species. Spotted Gum originates in New South Wales, Western part of Australia and Southern Queensland. Its’ tree normally grows up to 45m and has a smooth chalky bark. The spotted gum available colour is ranging from white, pink, deep red-brown and grey with somewhat rough and uneven texture.
The durability of spotted gum is class type 1 if built above the ground and can last for more than 40 years. But if built in-ground, it has a class type 2 and can last 15 to 25 years. This becomes the best timber for decking because of the following:
- It is pest, decay, UV, disease, and bushfire resistant.
- It can tolerate harsh weather.
- Dent or scratch is unlikely to occur because spotted gum is considered as one of the hardest of all timber types in the world.
Stringybark is a hardwood that also belongs to the Eucalyptus species. Stringybark originated in Southern Coast of New South Wales and Eastern Victoria Australia. Its’ name came from the fibrous thick bark found on the logs. Its’ tree can grow to a medium-sized tree with the height ranging from 10 to 40m. But it can grow much higher depends on the location land’s condition where it has been planted.
Its available colours range from yellow to yellowish-brown with medium to fine grains. Some of the grains are straight but there are some that are tangled.
The durability of Stringybark depends on where you built it. If you built it above the ground, it is class type 1 and can last approximately 15 to 40 years. But if it is built in-ground, the class type is 3 and can last approximately 5 to 15 years. Stringybark is also termite and fire resistant.
Stringybark is one of the best timber for decking because of its sturdiness which is advantageous in structural and heavy constructions. Now, it’s great in decking and furniture making as well.
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