Decking Frequently Asked Questions
Should I choose Softwood, Hardwood or Composite for my deck?
The main factor in this choice is price.
Composite decking (also referred to as plastic decking, artificial decking, UPVC decking or waterproof decking) is anti slip, anti rot, anti fade, eco friendly, a wide range range of colours and textures combined with low maintenance, undoubtedly make composite decking the superior material to build with.
But...as the saying goes.."You get what you pay for" Expect a price considerably more than timber decking but also rest easy in the fact you can throw away the decking oil and paintbrushes.
Hardwood is what I would call the "purist's" choice. To some, the only choice for a beautiful deck is high quality timber. Hardwoods are available in a variety of natural colours (ranging from light yellows, reds through to dark brown. A denser cellular structure means good resistance to fire, water and weather, but obviously, to keep your deck in top condition, it will need a degree of TLC.
Softwood decking is a versatile, economical choice. Naturally light in colour, softwood decking can be treated to achieve many different shades and colours.
If looked after, softwood decking will last for many, many years.
Is hardwood decking better than softwood decking?
Should I have my decking smooth side up or grooved side up?
The short (and technically correct) answer is SMOOTH.
One of the most frequently asked decking questions! This is a surprisingly passionate topic that has been debated by trades and consumers alike since grooves were first introduced. Many people will argue that this is purely preference based and the only real difference is the look.
Common misconceptions are that the grooves are for drainage, grip and aesthetic value. This is not the case.
The grooves were introduced by manufacturers to provide increased airflow UNDER the boards to prevent rot when fastened against a flat joist and increase the lifespan of the deck.
So far as grip goes, if the boards are groove side up, you actually have less surface in contact with your feet.
Additionally, decks built in this way are a major pain to sweep, plus the fact that water and other materials will sit in the grooves and may cause decay if left for too long.
Can I put a hot tub or jacuzzi on my decking?
Depending on the size and weight, yes. We can reinforce the joist structure underneath the jacuzzi placement area with thicker or doubled up joists and posts. However, we always advise that the best way is to plan in advance and lay a concrete slab (usually 4 inches or 100mm thick) where you want the jacuzzi placed, then build your deck around it.
What is the best way to clean decking?
In our experience, if your deck is regularly maintained, all you need is mild detergent, water and a brush or broom. Once cleaned, a light hose off should do the trick. If your deck has become slippery due to neglect or incorrect cleaning (or you may have inherited it from another owner), you could try a strong disinfectant (such as Jeyes Liquid). This should kill all algae etc. Then a re-oil might help.
Can I pressure wash (jet wash) a wooden deck?
We would never advise this. If you pressure wash timber, you run the risk of exposing the micro fibres and creating a perfect environment for mosses and algae to form.
Can I deck straight over a patio?
Yes. We build many decks over patios.
What size deck should I have for a table and chairs?
Typically for a patio table and six chairs, we recommend at least a 3.6m x 3.6m deck.
How often should I treat timber decking?
We advise a minimum of least once a year. The more often the better!
Can I put a fire pit on decking?
Never put a fire pit or chiminea directly on to a composite or timber deck. You may scorch your deck or even cause a fire!
We can build you and integrated fireproof area into the surface of a deck. usually from adequately thick paving slabs.
Can I put my barbecue on decking?
As with chimineas and firepits, its not advisable to cook (with a charcoal barbecue) directly over a timber deck. Apart from the fire risk, There is usually a lot of grease and fat etc that will stain your decking.