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4 alternative timber decking materials to consider during deck design

When it comes to choosing which is the best decking material for your project, you need to consider whats important to you.

It ultimately comes down to board price, installation time, lifetime maintenance, environmental impact, BUT most of all how the decking boards will look now and for years to come.

We are going give a quick overview of the pro's and con's to using these decking timber hardwood alternatives.

BAMBOO DECKING

PRO's - has a nice natural appearance. Bamboo as a raw material is considered sustainable.

CON's - Bamboo decking requires just a much maintenance as hardwood timber decking such as kwila, vitex, merbau and purple heart. It is fastened using traditional methods of pre drilling, nailing and punching. alternatively it can be pre drilled, countersunk and screwed. Concealed or hidden fasteners for bamboo decking still require pre drilling so teh bamboo decking does split. Bamboo decking can be very slippery as the surface is very smooth, and if not maintained as required, the bamboo splinters and or the bamboo layers delaminate due to the way its is produced. Bamboo as a raw product is considered a renewable resource however the processes and chemicals required to make it into bamboo decking are not very environmentally friendly. To date there is no bamboo decking recycling methods in place.

PVC DECKING

PRO's - PVC decking can be very moisture resistant, it is very stain resistant. Very low maintenance. Can be installed with concealed fastners.

CON's - PVC decking is made from virgin PVC materials. PVC materials are not environmentally friendly. Most of all PVC decking looks like plastic decking. It has a shiny plastic appearance and normally has a faux wood grain emboss ed pattern to try to give it a more natural appearance. PVC decking can be very expensive compared to its alternatives.

PVC DECKING & COMPOSITE CO-EXTRUDED

PRO's - PVC composite decking can be very moisture resistant, it is very stain resistant. Very low maintenance. Utilizes reclaimed wood fibre. Can be installed with concealed fastners.

CON's - PVC composite decking is co extruded product. Generally the core of the plank is made from a cheaper wood & low density plastic mix, with a PVC skin on the outside. The skin on the outside is designed to protect the core. It has the exact same plastic appearance as other PVC decking. The PVC skin out the outside is very thin approx. 1mm-3mm and if damaged exposes the cores composite blend and can cause real issues. The core composites are typically made from low density recycled plastic bags and cling film.

VIRGIN PLASTICS COMPOSITE DECKING

PRO's - The composition and color can be very accurate. Can be recycled slightly more effectively that previously recycled composites. Utilizes reclaimed wood fibre. Can be installed with concealed fastners. Can be manufactured in hollow profiles to reduce cost.

CON's - Virgin plastic composite decking can be stained by some oils if they are not cleaned off.Virgin plastic composite decking is considered not friendly to the environment. Unfortunately new plastic materials are used in production when recycled materials could be used. Virgin plastic composites are typically more expensive than their recycled brothers. Some PVC composite decking needs to be surface fastened, requiring pre drilling, countersinking which pierces the PVC skin on the outside.

RECYCLED PLASTIC COMPOSITE DECKING

PRO's - recycled plastic composite decking offers the most natural looking aesthetic of all the composite decking boards options. It utilizes reclaimed wood fibre and reclaimed plastic. Contrary to some beliefs, recycled plastic composite decking can be recycled. Factories often recycle their own waste into other composite products. Composite decking is designed to be installed with concealed fasteners. Composite decking is typically a very cost effective hardwood timber decking alternative compared to PVC decking and virgin plastic composite decking. Can be manufactured in hollow profiles to reduce cost.

CON's - composite decking can be stained by some oils if they are not cleaned off. High density and high quality plastics must be used to ensure weathering capabilities. The blend of plastic vs wood fibre is critical in determining the products ability to resist moisture absorption.

 

Step Away From Tradition with an Alternative to Decking

In recent times, there has been a rise in popularity in decking alternatives to wood deck frames. A traditional material, wood is strong and inexpensive, but has a number of limitations, not least of which is its tendency to rot, warp, split and break down over time. By choosing an alternative to wood decking, you reduce the chance of these unwanted effects, minimize the need for ongoing treatments and create a strong, durable decking that will withstand the test of time.

Without compromising on appearance, there are composite decking alternatives that look and feel as natural as timber whilst minimizing the limitations that come with the imperfections of nature. This means that you can create the same aesthetic and follow the same design scheme as wood but reduce the disadvantages that come therewith. No matter the project you are completing, choosing a wood substitute for decking is how to achieve a long lasting structure that will also be able to handle any amount of foot traffic. Creating a functional yet social entertainment space has never been easier.

And choosing an alternative to outdoor decking boards such as PVC and composite decking will add value to your home. So although you will be hit with an initial increase in price in comparison to timber but you'll reap the benefits in the long run.

Choosing Materials for Your Outdoor Decking Alternative

Once you have done your research and decided on a material that will suit your design plan and budget, it is important to find a reliable supplier to purchase your wood deck substitute. When choosing a company, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What warranties are offered on the decking substructures that I'm buying?
  • What level of customer service is being offered?
  • Are my needs being taken into consideration?
  • What is the quality of the alternative decking materials that I'm purchasing?

Choose a company who satisfies these questions and completing your project will be smooth sailing.

Contact Us To Learn More About Wood Substitutes to Decking Boards

When it comes to suppliers, few companies compare to us here at Outdure. We have the knowledge and experience of global decking systems that you need to build a high quality deck that will withstand any and all design ideas. With a free price and design service, we listen to your needs, and ensure that you get the best decking for your design, adhering to your budget at all times.

With assistance and guidance throughout installation, we ensure that you are able to lay the deck yourself, even if it is the first project you are completing in the industry. Whether you are renovating your garden, balcony, rooftop space, pool area or other, we have you covered and ensure a seamless interior to exterior flow. And with a 10 year warranty on the majority of our products, you can shop our range with confidence.

Outdoor Decking Alternatives for the Environmentally Conscious

As well as its propensity to warp or rot, wood isn't the most environmentally friendly choice. It takes many years for trees to mature enough to harvest. It's not just a case of strip one and re-plant for quick usage. Not to mention trees help filter carbon dioxide from the air so the more we cut down, the more at risk we are from other unsustainable practices. By choosing deck wood alternatives, you can free yourself from the cycle of wood overuse. Recycled plastic rooftop decking material is an excellent eco choice as the plastic we've already created isn't going anywhere. So why not give waste plastic a new life in your outdoor space? It can even be recycled again after use so if you do want to replace your decking at any point you can keep it out of landfill even longer. It's also cheaper than other alternatives so it's the best for those with smaller budgets who are more used to wood prices.

At Outdure, we know the planet deserves better. This means all our wood decking alternatives have been tested to ensure they're both hardy and produced ethically and sustainably. It's a really tough process to get their certification because they want the ethical consumer to instantly know those products won't harm their health or the planet.

Please Your Customers With Alternatives for Decking

If you run a decking installation/landscaping business, then your customers will love alternatives to hardwood decking. They'll need replaced far less than wood so it might feel like you're doing yourself out of future jobs. The word-of-mouth custom you'll get though is totally worth it. If you install wood decking, your customers are likely to question you when it needs maintaining quickly or begins to warp even though it's not your fault. By installing outdoor decking alternatives instead, you'll provide customers with an incredible product that still provides the look that they want. It will last them for years, it's much easier to clean, and they won't have to worry about regular maintenance as it requires little to none. This will mean happy customers who will show off their new decking to all their friends and tell them who did it, rather than pointing out the warping wood.

Protect Yourself From Price Fluctuations With Wood Decking Alternatives

Obviously the cost of everything is going up, and that includes alternatives so you will never be completely protected from price rises. However, the price of wood is constantly surging as demand grows and supply becomes more unreliable. For example, in 2021 when there was a sharp increase in need, the price of plastic pallets increased by 20-30%. In the same period, wood pallet prices surged by a huge 200-300%. This means your landscaping budget may not go as far as you think it will. Or that when you go to replace it, as you will have to more often with wood, your bank balance could have a nasty surprise. Alternatives may be more expensive initially, but they pay for themselves with less maintenance and replacements. They're also made with more sustainable practices, so they are not as affected by fluctuations based on supply and demand.

Or maybe you run a decking business and want to help protect your bottom line from wood price fluctuations. Alternatives will last your customers much longer, so they'll be more satisfied. You also won't have to explain the ins and outs of global lumber prices if there's a gap between their quote and acceptance and it's had to change.

Want to learn more information about how our team at Outdure can kick start your project? Get in touch today to get started.

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