The timber usedThere are a number of different types of timber available which have been carefully selected to fit your taste, your pocket and the environment we found ourselves in.
The most common timbers used are:
This must be CCA Treated to at least an H4 level if outdoors and exposed to the elements. CCA stands for Copper, Chrome and Arsenic. The copper prevents algae growing on the timber caused by dampness. Algae causes rot by breaking down the fibres in wood. Hence the wood can get wet without rotting. The arsenic prevents insect infestation and the chrome binds to two to prevent them from leaching out of the timber. The amounts of chemicals present in the timber do not affect humans, animals or plants in any significant way and it is therefore safe to humans, plants and animals. The level of treatment (H4) refers to the strength of the solution and the pressure at which it is forced into the timber.
Sourced from South East Asia this timber is the most cost effective hardwood. There is no need to pre treat it as it is naturally resistant to rot and decay due to the high levels of oils and resins present in the timber. Balau decking boasts a fire rating of Class A which is the same as concrete or steel.
Garapa, Massaranduba, Keruing:
These are all equally matched to Balau in terms of durability and workability but are slightly more expensive. It is therefore common to use Balau as the sub structure with these timbers as the deckboards and visible components of the sundeck.
It is not advisable to use pine as your substructure with a balau or similar hardwood as deckboards as the timbers expand and contract at different rates and can cause screws to either break or pull out.
When taking into account what timber to use one must remember that the cost to install the deck is often the greater percentage of the total cost and the benefits of paying slightly more to get a balau deck are far greater than the cost saving of using pine.
Composites are manufactured deckboards using largely re-cycled plastic. They are available in a range of colours. The argument is that they are more enviro-friendly than wood and that installation is easier, and therefore less expensive to install. They are normally more expensive per square metre of deck in terms of materials and it is argued that they are maintenance free. However they cannot be sanded once they are installed as they are a plastic composite and should scratches occur on the surface they may prove difficult to remove. They are installed using a CCA Treated Pine batton or joist and the substructure is normally pine. They are however being installed successfully and should not be ignored.