Choosing the Best Decking Material for Your Project

When embarking on a new decking project, the choice of material is crucial for ensuring both aesthetic appeal and functional longevity. This guide delves into a range of popular decking options, each with its unique strengths and ideal applications. This comprehensive guide aims to arm you with the knowledge to select the perfect decking material, balancing aesthetics, functionality, and environmental considerations for your unique project.


The Modern Choice

Composite Decking

Combining the natural look of wood with the durability of plastics, composite decking offers a resilient, low-maintenance solution that withstands the elements and daily use. Ideal for those seeking the perfect balance between aesthetics and practicality.

Material Composition: Composite decking is made from a blend of wood fibres and recycled plastics.
  • Eco-friendly as it uses recycled materials.
  • Resembles natural wood but with enhanced properties.
  • Long-lasting and resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage.
  • Requires minimal maintenance – no need for staining or sealing.
  • Higher Initial Cost: Composite decking typically has a higher upfront cost compared to traditional wood decking.
Ideal Environments:
  • Highly adaptable to various climates, including wet and dry conditions.
  • Great for high-traffic areas due to its durability.
Installation Considerations:
  • Professional installation recommended for optimal results.
  • Consider expansion and contraction in different climates.
  • Variety of colours and textures available.

The Traditional Look

Timber Decking

Timber decking brings a natural warmth and traditional beauty to any outdoor space. Perfect for those who appreciate the authentic feel and are willing to invest time in maintenance.

Material Composition: Timber decking includes both hardwoods and softwoods.
  • Hardwoods are more durable but more expensive.
  • Softwoods are more affordable but require more maintenance.
  • Offers a natural and warm aesthetic.
  • Can be customized with stains and finishes.
  • Lower initial cost.
  • Regular Maintenance Required: Requires staining, sealing, and occasional repairs to combat weathering and aging.
  • Susceptibility to Weather Damage: Prone to warping, splintering, and rotting, especially if not properly maintained.
  • Vulnerable to Pests: Can be susceptible to insect infestations without regular treatment.
  • Environmental Concerns: The sourcing of hardwoods, in particular, can raise environmental concerns unless it's certified sustainable timber.
Ideal Environments:
  • Best in temperate climates but needs treatment for moisture-prone areas.
  • Not ideal for extremely humid or rainy regions unless properly treated.
Installation Considerations:
  • Regular maintenance including staining, sealing, and checking for rot.
  • Proper installation is key to prevent warping and splitting.
  • Natural wood grain and texture.
  • Can age gracefully if maintained properly.

Eco-Friendly and Durable

100% Recycled Plastic Decking

This eco-conscious choice not only utilizes 100% recycled materials but also offers exceptional durability and weather resistance. It's an ideal option for areas prone to torrential rain and flooding while providing a low-maintenance, long-lasting deck.

Plastic Decking Boardwalk
Material Composition: Made entirely from 100% recycled plastic.
  • Extremely durable and resistant to moisture, rot, and insects.
  • Highly sustainable and eco-friendly.
  • Virtually maintenance-free – no need for painting or staining.
  • Aesthetic Limitations: Often lacks the natural look and feel of wood; appearance may not appeal to everyone.
  • Expansion and Contraction: Like many plastics, it can expand and contract with temperature changes.
Ideal Environments:
  • Perfect for wet, damp, or coastal settings.
  • Resistant to saltwater, making it ideal for seaside locations.
Installation Considerations:
  • Similar installation process to wood but with greater dimensional stability.
  • Lower long-term maintenance costs.
  • Limited color options compared to wood or composite.
  • Has a distinct look different from natural wood.

The Resilient Option

Fibre Cement Decking

Known for its fire resistance and strength, this decking material stands up to the toughest conditions. A great choice for those who prioritize safety and durability.

Material Composition: A composite of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers.
  • Resistant to fire, insects, and rot.
  • Low maintenance and long lifespan.
  • Heavy Material: Its weight makes it more challenging to work with and may require additional labour for installation.
Ideal Environments:
  • Suitable for balconies and terraces with fire-safety requirements.
Installation Considerations:
  • Needs a strong structural base to support the weight.
  • Designed to mimic the look of natural wood.

Elegant and Versatile

Porcelain Decking Tiles

These tiles are available in a range of designs, perfect for creating a unique and upscale outdoor environment. Ideal for urban settings and contemporary designs.

Material Composition: Made from high-quality porcelain.
  • Resistant to scratches, fading, and staining.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Extremely hard and dense, making it very durable.
  • Available in a range of sizes and styles.
  • Difficult to Repair: Cracked or damaged tiles can be challenging to replace, often requiring professional help.
  • Cold Underfoot: Can feel cold and hard underfoot, which might be less comfortable compared to other options.
Ideal Environments:
  • Perfect for urban settings like balconies and patios.
  • Great for areas with heavy foot traffic.
Installation Considerations:
  • Professional installation recommended for best results.
  • Offers a sleek, modern look.
  • Available in patterns that mimic stone, wood, and other materials.

Fireproof and Low Maintenance

Aluminium Decking

This innovative material offers unparalleled durability and minimal maintenance. It's an excellent choice for those who seek a contemporary, worry-free decking solution.

Material Composition: Constructed from lightweight and durable aluminium.
  • Often coated or anodized for extra protection.
  • Non-combustible and resistant to fire.
  • Requires little to no maintenance.
  • Resistant to warping, rotting, and insect damage.
  • Noise: Can be noisier than other decking materials.
  • Thermal Conductivity: Can get hot in direct sunlight and cold in lower temperatures.
Ideal Environments:
  • Suitable for extreme weather conditions, including heavy rain and snow.
  • Ideal for projects with fire safety concerns.
Installation Considerations:
  • Non-wood appearance may not blend well in natural settings.
  • Offers a unique, modern, and industrial look.

Making Your Choice

Your choice will ultimately depend on a variety of factors, including climate, budget, usage, and personal taste. Each material has its own set of pros and cons, and the best choice varies based on individual requirements and environmental conditions.
We hope this guide has provided you with the insights needed to make an informed decision that will bring lasting enjoyment and value to your outdoor living space. Remember, the best decking material is one that aligns with your lifestyle, enhances your outdoor area, and stands the test of time.
If you still need help choosing the right decking for your project, or want more information, give our team a call on 020 8088 4888