Decking is a great way to add extra living space to your home, and if you’re handy with a saw and hammer, it can be a fun DIY project too. But before you start building, there are a few things you need to know about the different types of timber available for decking. This guide will show you the best timber for DIY Brisbane decking projects, so you can make an informed decision before starting your build.
Why the right decking timber is so important
A well-made and well-maintained timber deck can add significantly to the value of your home, while also increasing your living space. But if you’re not careful with what type of timber you use, your deck could end up being a real eyesore that increases maintenance instead of adding value or enjoyment to your favourite spot in the sun.
However, because a deck is a frequently used outdoor space, it’s subject to whatever both you and the Brisbane climate throw at it. Building a deck with timber that isn’t durable and long-lasting can lead to early decay and a lot of maintenance that costs you in the long run.
What to consider when choosing a decking timber Deck location
Covered or shaded areas are less likely to experience exposure to direct sunlight, which means they won’t be as susceptible to weathering. However, decks that are located in shaded locations can also suffer from rot due to moisture, so you might need a more durable wood than would be necessary for an uncovered deck.
Weather will not only be the only thing that your deck will have to survive, but other factors such as termite and moisture damage, and other environmental factors can also cause problems.
Decks are made up of many segments – including posts, framework, joists, planks, handrails, balusters and trim. Because each of these components has different levels of exposure to weather and use, you can choose different timbers for them.
A dense softwood, such as treated pine, is popular for posts and framework – because it is durable and affordable. It can also be a good choice for deck planks, as it easily absorbs coloured stains. Hardwoods, such as Merbau, are often the preferred choice for decking planks – thanks to their longevity, premium feel and luxurious appearance.
Outdoor timber generally falls into two main categories: softwood and hardwood. Softwoods are generally cheaper, lighter in weight and softer than hardwoods, while hardwoods are stronger and more durable.
Recommended Decking Timber Types
Hardwood – is the most durable timber and provides natural protection against microbes and pests. We’re partial to merbau, blackbutt, ironbark and spotted gum varieties.
Softwood – is generally less expensive than hardwood, but doesn’t provide the same protection against rotting and pests. Cypress is our favourite type of softwood because it has a beautiful rich colour that ages well over time.
Composite – is manufactured to mimic the look of other timbers, but doesn’t suffer from the same behavioural problems. It’s more expensive than traditional hardwood or softwood, but it does provide a lot of natural durability and can even withstand Brisbane weather conditions.
Recommended Timber Decking Species
Merbau – Merbau decking timber is extremely durable and offers a rich honey-brown colour that will weather beautifully over time. It’s also quite dense, which makes it ideal for outdoor use in any climate and even against termite damage. The only downside to merbau is that it can be expensive and difficult to source.
Blackbutt – Ironbark decking timber is extremely resistant to bacteria, fungi and termites. Because it’s tough, hard and heavy, it can be tough to work with. You may need to take some extra care during your building process. However, the finished product is a deck with an extremely long life. Ironbark ranges from red to light brown, with some pale tan colours.
Spotted Gum – Spotted gum is durable and ideal for outdoor use. It has a beautiful rich colour, but will weather over time to give your deck a wonderfully rustic look. Spotted gum is a good choice for outdoor furniture and general outdoor hard wear.
Treated pine – Because pine is soft and easy to work with, it’s a great choice for posts and framework. If you want the look of hardwood for this part of your deck, but would prefer a softer timber that is easier to maintain – then pine could be a good choice.