Compare Different Material Options for Your Decking Project

22 November 2019

A simple home with the basic rooms and areas for daily activities is more than enough to sustain the needs of your family. However, if your property has a lot of still unused spaces, you might think of converting it into something that can be useful for the household.

The deck of a house is considered to be a kind of home extension, where you utilise and convert a space into an area with functionality. As decking projects become prominent in Australia, there has been tremendous progress towards the material choices that can be used to build a deck. From wood to composites, building a deck out of specific materials can bring some advantages and disadvantages to you and your property.

Pressure Treated Lumber

Perhaps the most sought out material for decking projects, pressure treated lumber is milled from southern yellow pine and then treated to resist rot and pests. This material is fairly affordable and can be found almost anywhere, which makes it popular among homeowners and home builders. Moreover, nails and screws can cut and fasten into this material with ease.

Alternatively, the pressure treated lumber doesn’t look appealing compared to other decking material. And despite any treatment, this material can still crack, split, and warp according to the surrounding environment. There would also be some risk of shrinking and twisting when you opt to choose the cheapest pressure treated lumber in the market, which makes this expensive to maintain and repair.

Redwood and Cedar

Unlike pressure treated lumber, both the redwood and cedar brings a natural beauty that can be appealing for homeowners. These materials have vibrant colours that can enhance the appearance of the property. Also, both wood materials contain tannins and oils that protect them from rot, decay, and pests.

The richness of colour and resistance to harmful agents make both the redwood and cedar three times more expensive than the pressure-treated lumber. The resistance of the materials has limitations as well since the location of the heartwood and sapwood determines their resistance level. Also, preserving the materials’ colour requires the application of stain. Without this, both materials will weather to a silver gray.

Tropical Hardwoods

From the name itself, tropical hardwoods came from materials found on the tropics.  Some examples of this material are ipe, cumaru, tigerwood, massaranduba, garapa, cambara, Philippine mahogany, and red tauari. Just like the previous materials, tropical hardwoods can resist rot and insects. They are also hard and durable, making them a great choice with deck projects.

Of course, tropical hardwoods have their own weaknesses. The durability of tropical hardwoods makes it difficult for nails and screws to go through without any pilot hole borings. Moreover, tropical hardwoods are more expensive than the pressure treated lumber, but are priced almost the same with the redwood and cedar. Lastly, this material doesn’t accept any type of stains very well. You must specifically go for oil-based penetrating stain for the protection and coating of the material.


Despite being manmade, the combination of wood fibres and recycled plastic of the composites makes the material resistant to any weathering factors, stains, cracks, splits, and rotting compared to others. Additionally, the production of this material is defect-free, which eliminates the need to get rid of unused materials.

However, a disadvantage of using composites is the presence of mould and mildew over time. Moreover, this material is still susceptible to decay in the long run since composites are partly made of wood.

Choosing the best material for your decking project depends on your preference. If you want more help about your decking projects, give us a call at Prestige Construction and Design Sydney. We specialise in deck building that will match your needs.