When it comes to building a new deck for your home one of the most important decisions is choosing the right timber. The team at Dysart have used their expertise as providers of timber supplies to put together this guide. It will help you decide between four of our most popular hardwood decking timbers – pine, kwila, vitex and garapa.
Pine Decking – Classic Look, Attractive Price
Pine timber has become a very popular option for decking due to its low price. It’s one of the cheapest high-quality timber options available and it looks fantastic. Dysart supplies pine decking in both merch grade and a more expensive premium grade. Merch grade pine decking contains more knots and imperfections than the premium grade.
Pros and Cons of Pine Decking
Quality treated pine brings many of the same benefits of hardwoods like cedar or redwood but at a much lower price, but there are some drawbacks too.
The benefits of pine timber for decking include:
- Pinewood is readily available, making it both affordable and easy to obtain
- It is very easy to stain pine to your liking
- Pine requires almost no maintenance and will last up to 15 years
- It is grown in New Zealand and is a renewable resource
- Pine is quite strong and stays cool in the heat
One of the biggest drawbacks of pine decking is that although very strong, pine doesn’t match up to hardwoods for density, meaning it can dent more easily and can’t take quite as much weight
Kwila Decking – Naturally Tough
Kwila decking, also known as Merbau, is a hardwood decking that is very popular in throughout Auckland and New Zealand. This timber also has an eye-catching natural red colour and withstands termites organically.
Pros and Cons of Kwila Decking
The major benefits of Kwila decking are:
- Its durability – the naturally occurring oils in Kwila also protect it against harsh environments such as cold and heat, saltwater, and more, making it ideal for outdoor use
- It has low shrinkage
- The tannins in Kwila timber give it a first class durability rating, making it unlikely to crack or split like some other hardwoods.
- Kwila’s durability and strength mean it requires minimal maintenance.
The problems with Kwila are:
- Unfortunately, the same tannins that give Kwila its strength and endurance can leave oily patches which may adversely affect the look of the product if stained or painted
- The red colour when wet will leach overtime turning it to a silver colour – depending on the alternative “look” that you are trying to achieve.
- It needs to be screwed down rather than nailed which can cause splitting
Vitex Decking – Durable and Easy to Use
Vitex decking has become more and more popular in Auckland over the last few years, largely because it is easy to work with and quite durable. With colours ranging from golden brown to pale yellow, this is an aesthetically pleasing timber.
Pros and Cons of Vitex Decking
Vitex decking has a number of benefits:
- Vitex comes in convenient shorter lengths and is very easy to saw
- Vitex has a durability rating of 2, making it quite durable with an outdoor life of 15-40 years
- This timber is quite dense – 700-800 kg per square meter – meaning it is strong and unlikely to dent
- Holds nails well without pre-drilling
Drawbacks of Vitex are:
- Vitex contains a lot of silica, which can degrade ordinary saws. Try using a tungsten-carbide blade.
Garapa Decking – Exotic Colours
Garapa decking – often called Brazilian Oak – is a hardwood decking with beautiful natural variations in colour, including subtle striping. It is a reasonably hardy and quite affordable timber for decking.
Pros and Cons of Garapa Decking
The major benefits of Garapa decking are:
- A naturally beautiful appearance – Garapa decking boasts soft, varied colours, from rich honey to light brown and yellow.
- Increased hardness – Garapa is scratch-resistant and 1.5 times harder than oak,
- Affordability – it is cost-effective both to buy and install this decking
- Naturally resistant – to both mould and decay.
The problems with Garapa are:
- It is only mildly durable, lasting around 10-15 compared to Vitex’s 15-40 year lifetime.
- It can lack stability, though this can be improved by kiln-drying the wood before use.
Of course, the perfect timber for your deck will rely on your personal taste and conditions. For more personalised advice, get in touch with the Dysart team today.