Garden decking comes in a whole host of options these days, with some more pleasing on the eye, and the pocket, than others. The main types of garden decking available on the market today are: wood, composite, PVC and aluminium. All of that said, most people tend to think of wood as the most desirable and most traditional type of decking.
Whenever we think of decking in a traditional setting, we tend to think of wood decking. Even if the wood is faded, worn and weather-beaten, it does tend to be our first port of call when it comes to our fixed notion of decking. Decking today is available in a whole host of species of wood, including cumru, ipe, teak and iroko, all of which will stand up well to the outdoor conditions that life in your garden will throw at it.
When you choose wood decking, assuming you choose a quality option and fit and treat it with care, there is no good reason why you won’t have years of pleasure from your great looking deck. When treating your wood decking, you can use oil, preservative, paint or stain, depending on the look you’re hoping to achieve. That said, decking oil is one of the most popular options because it allows the natural beauty of your deck to shine through, while protecting the wood from the elements.
Irrespective of which wood you choose for your decking, there is really no limit to the design options, apart from your imagination. No matter whether you opt for a raised, or ground-level deck, with the right planning, you can be sure to create a stunning relaxation or eating area in your garden.
Composite decking is a wood decking “lookalike”. Made up of wood fibre and plastic, which is combined to create a plank, it is quite a convincing alternative to wood, but is not a natural product. One of the main features of composite decking is that it doesn’t expand and contract with changes in temperature and moisture, so is less likely to crack, warp or split than solid wood that isn’t well treated. It is also a low maintenance option, which is why many people choose it over wood. All of that said, there is no getting away from the fact that it is not wood and as a result, is not a natural decking material.
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride to give it its full name is one of the top three most widely produced plastics in the world. Known for its adaptability and its strength, there is no getting away from the fact that this polymer is a highly versatile material. That said, when it comes to decking, for most people, it is chosen as a low maintenance compromise for those people who either can’t afford the cost of wood or can’t afford the time to maintain a natural wood deck.
A relatively new addition to the UK decking options, aluminium decking is a cutting edge decking option that is pretty much maintenance free and is reasonably well suited to cutting edge decking projects. That said, it is difficult to see how this option could be incorporated into a classic decking project.
So, while beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, there is no getting away from the fact that wood decking comes up trumps across the board. It’s easy to maintain, it’s eco friendly and, more so than the others, is likely to add value to your home.
Your Options Compared
|Various species including cumaru, ipe, teak and iroko
|Requires treatment with oil, preservative, paint or stain for longevity
|Durable with proper care, but can fade, wear, and weather
|High; nearly limitless design options
|High; natural look of wood is often considered more aesthetically pleasing
|Blend of wood fibre and plastic
|Low maintenance; doesn’t expand and contract with changes in temperature or moisture, so it’s less likely to crack, warp or split
|High; less susceptible to weathering effects than wood
|Limited; not as versatile as wood but can still provide a good range of designs
|Medium; looks like wood but lacks the natural feel
|Mixed; uses plastic, but also often made from recycled materials
|Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic
|Very low maintenance
|High; resistant to wear and tear
|Limited compared to wood, more than composite
|Low; lacks the natural look of wood
|No; made from plastic
|Virtually maintenance free
|High; very resistant to weathering
|Lower; less likely to be suited to traditional decking designs
|Medium to low; modern, clean aesthetic but lacks the natural appeal
|Mixed; metal can be recycled, but its production is energy-inte
1. What are the main types of garden decking available?
The main types of garden decking available today are wood, composite, PVC, and aluminium. However, wood is often considered the most desirable and traditional type of decking.
2. What are the features of wood decking?
Wood decking is available in several species, all of which can withstand outdoor conditions well. It can be treated with oil, preservative, paint or stain, depending on the look you’re hoping to achieve. With proper treatment and care, a high-quality wood deck can offer years of pleasure.
3. What is composite decking?
Composite decking is made up of wood fibre and plastic, offering a convincing alternative to wood. It doesn’t expand and contract with changes in temperature and moisture like wood does, making it less likely to crack, warp, or split. It’s also low maintenance, but it’s not a natural product.
4. What are the features of PVC decking?
PVC decking is a low maintenance option, often chosen by those who can’t afford the cost or time to maintain a natural wood deck. PVC is known for its adaptability and strength, making it a highly versatile material.
5. What is aluminium decking?
Aluminium decking is a relatively new, cutting-edge option in the UK. It’s virtually maintenance-free and well suited to modern decking projects, although it might not fit well into classic decking projects.