Exterior Decking Options - Choosing Hardwood, Softwood or Composite?
Decking is a great way to increase the living space you have in and around your home. Suddenly providing you with a whole new area to relax and socialise, if you plan your decking with care it really will make your home seem a whole lot bigger.
With Christmas just behind us, it’s normal for our minds to start to wander to the warmer months that will be upon us before we know where we are. That’s probably why exterior decking options are something that many people consider at this time of year. And one of the biggest dilemmas they face is choosing between hardwood, softwood or composite.
If you’ve decided that in 2017 your investment is going to be in an exterior decking option and you could do with a helping hand when it comes to choosing hardwood, softwood or composite – read on! At Wood and Beyond we stock both hardwood and composite decking. We do this because we are (of course) huge fans of hardwoods for flooring, decking and worktops. However, we also recognise that composite decking has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and the composite we have to offer is not only great to look at, it’s great value for money too.
Hardwood exterior decking
Hardwood exterior decking is, in many ways, the original decking option. Used because it’s natural, long lasting and looks great, it is the choice of most traditional decking fans. With options of woods such as balau, ipe and teak available, there is a hardwood decking option to suit most budgets and looks.
One of the biggest reasons for choosing hardwood decking is because it’s such a natural option. However, it is only fair to say that more and more people are turning to composite decking because of its ease of maintenance. Although hardwood decking isn’t particularly complicated to look after, it does require a bit more regular maintenance in order to stay looking great than the likes of composite decking.
Softwood exterior decking
Softwood decking comes from fast growing trees, such as evergreens or coniferous varieties. When a tree grows fast, the timber that comes from it is less durable than the timber that comes from a slow growing tree. Slow growing hardwood trees, which tend to be broadleaved varieties can take decades to grow and are more difficult to process than softwoods. Softwoods, on the other hand grow fast and are easy to process. As a result of both of these features, softwoods are relatively cheap.
So, there is no getting away from the fact that if you want a cheap decking option, then softwood ticks that box. However, the thing to be aware of with softwood decking is that it will be significantly less durable than a hardwood or composite solution, so the economies you make could be short-lived.
If you are looking for a decking option that will look good on installation, but is unlikely to stand up to much in the way of wear and tear, softwood could work out for you. All of that said, at Wood and Beyond, we tend to think of decking as a long-term investment that gives our clients a great return, which is why we choose not to stock softwood options.
Composite exterior decking
Composite exterior decking is a great solution for anyone who wants the great looks of hardwood decking but can’t be bothered with the maintenance. A man-made decking option, like most things man-made, the quality and look of this sort of decking just gets better and better as time goes by.
Not so very long ago, if you’d told the team at Wood and Beyond that one day we’d stock a composite decking option they’d have laughed out loud. But now, we’re so impressed with one particular composite decking solution that we proudly stock it next to our carefully selected hardwood range.
Tough, available in a range of colours, widths and lengths, composite decking really is a terrific option for anyone for whom a bit of annual maintenance makes them shudder. An exterior decking option that looks great, requires little in the way of TLC and won’t break the bank, a composite solution can be a great solution. You can see our full range here.
If you’re torn between hardwood and composite decking, why not reach out to the team at Wood and Beyond. We truly have an impartial, yet informed view on this subject and can help you choose the very best solution for your personal preferences and your unique project. Together we will find you a stunning decking solution for you that won’t break the bank.