Generally deck subfloors are the same, treated pine bearers, joists and concrete stumps. But what is the difference in the finish timber? Here are a few of our favourites.
Cypress is a Australian timber grown in NSW. It is a Durability class 1 above ground that has low shrinkage rates and is termite resistant. It is milled with a rough sawn finish that will grey off when the sun oxidises it, sealing the timber underneath. It is a softwood that acts like a hardwood and the trees are selectively harvested, via a thinning process, ensuring a sustainable, cost effective option for your decking.
Blackbutt is a common tree in the wild and its timber is an Australian favourite. The timber is a light pale straw, it’s hardy and versatile. Blackbutt’s colour, figure and suitability for staining makes it popular for indoor use. Additionally, its high natural durability and strength make it popular for external & structural use. Blackbutt is the ideal choice for decking and construction if you live in an area prone to bushfire. In fact, it was one of seven hardwood timber species approved by the Building Commission in Victoria for home construction in bushfire areas.
Spotted Gum is currently the highest volume native hardwood harvested in Queensland. It is primarily plantation grown and there is a plentiful ongoing supply. As decking boards, Spotted gum weighs approximately 1010kg per cubic metre, which gives a good indication of its excellent density. Unseasoned Spotted Gum can expect 0.3%shrinkage when laid, which is a great indicator of its suitability for decking uses as movement and shrinkage are unlikely. In addition, it is naturally termite resistant, as well as very low in tannin compared to other hardwood such as Merbau
Merbau timber is imported from Southeast Asia. The species Intsia bijuga grows naturally in much of the Pacific Rim region, particularly the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea. Because of where it is sourced and the way the tannins run and stain we prefer to stay well away from this one.
Stringybark (sometimes written stringy bark) comes in three colour variations: white, yellow and red. White stringybark has a durability rating of 3 and may not be suitable for outdoor use. Yellow stringybark has a durability rating of 2, so is suitable for decking. Red stringbark is less common and may be more expensive than yellow.
Most decking builders use yellow stringybark because of its price and durability. Worm holes and gum veins are present in stringy bark. For some, these variations are welcome, but others prefer a more consistent appearance.
If you want a deck that will last forever (or almost), then ironbark is what you’re looking for. The timber got its name because of its heaviness and high density. It is a difficult timber to work with due to its density, but has the highest possible durability rating of 1.
Ironbark is a beautiful timber, with colours ranging from pale brown to deep red. Aside from being one of the most durable timbers, ironbark is also highly fire, termite and rot resistant. If you’re looking for pool decking, ironbark may be your best choice.
Modwood is a Australian made Composite decking. Made from 90% Recycled materials it is mould, mildew,stain,scratch resistant, it requires no maintenance. Whats not to like.
A higher cost upfront but the long term benifits are worth it.