18th Nov 2022 -

A deck can revitalise a garden, offering a huge range of uses for homeowners. When looking to build a deck, it’s vital to remember that traditional timber, particularly softwood timber, will not be able to hold up under long-term exterior use. The best option is to use decking timber, boards cut and pressure treated specifically for installation as a deck. In this overview from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll explore your options when shopping for decking timber, the size and prices of a board, and how you can care for or decorate your deck.

What is Decking Timber?

Decking can be a fantastic way to reinvent an outdoor space, creating an attractive platform for entertainment, socialising, or relaxation. It can be built to adjoin a home or erected further into a garden. When building decking, decking timber is a popular choice, offering a strong natural look. Decking timber will bring its own benefits compared to regular timber, designed specifically for use as exterior decking. 

It will come pressure treated, ensuring moisture resistance under the UK’s famously persistent rain. Timber decking boards will also typically be planed to ensure a fetching appearance and that the people who use them avoid splinters. While decking boards will be typically rectangular, they can be cut to fit a variety of shapes, from the unusual corners of a building to the rounded edge of a hot tub.

What Types of Decking Timber Are Sold in the UK?

When looking for decking timber in the UK, you’ll have the option of softwood or hardwood boards. Both of these options have both positive and negative attributes, differing in cost, longevity, and ease of installation. You’ll also be able to buy anti-slip timber boards, which will bring key benefits in certain decking applications.

Softwood Decking Timber

Softwood is the most popular type of timber sold within the UK, commonly made from trees like redwood, larch, or Douglas Fir. Softwood decking timber brings some key benefits with it:

  • Lower Cost: Compared to both hardwood timber and composite options softwood decking timber will come with a lower price tag. This is because of the comparatively shorter growing time on softwood trees.
  • Pliable: Their relative pliability means that softwood boards will be easier to install for a DIYer. 
  • Attractive Wood Finish: Softwood timber will have the great look of authentic wood, bringing a rustic quality to your garden. Though lighter in hue than hardwood, it can be dyed through staining to give it a darker colouring if needed.

Alongside these benefits, there are also a couple of downsides worth keeping in mind when selecting the ideal timber.

  • Reduced Life Expectancy: Compared to hardwood or composite boards, softwood will have a lower lifespan, with 10 to 15 years of solid performance expected after installation.
  • Cleaning: Compared to both composite options and hardwood, softwood decking timber will require more upkeep and maintenance. You’ll need to thoroughly clean and preserve the wood, oiling and sealing it for structural support and moisture resistance.

Hardwood Decking Timber

Hardwood timber decking is less popular but can give a beautiful and unique look to your garden, with some key benefits.

  • Attractive Look: Hardwood timber boards will look excellent, with deep, attractive colour choices for your outdoor spaces. They will naturally have a darker hue than softwood, looking great from installation.
  • Minimal Upkeep: Hardwood is naturally durable, meaning that it will require less regular upkeep than softwood options.
  • Long Life: Hardwood decking can be expected to offer up to 50 years of performance, considerably more than softwood. If looking for a longer-term investment in a property, it may be worth opting for hardwood garden decking.

Much like softwood, however, there are a few key drawbacks to consider.

  • High Cost: Hardwood will cost around a third more than softwood, making a full deck considerably more expensive. While this can be balanced out by its longer lifespan, most people will not be living in the same house for 50 years.
  • Difficult Installation: Due to the solidity of hardwood decking timber, it can be comparatively difficult to install for a DIYer. While not impossible, this is also something to keep in mind in the case where you are looking to install your decking.
decking staircase

Anti-Slip Decking Timber

When shopping for decking timber, there will also be options which are covered with anti-slip inlays. This can keep the users of a deck safe, particularly handy in areas with a large rainfall or for decking around a hot tub or endless swimming pool. Anti-slip decking will come with a larger price tag than a regular timber deck, and there are other options for installing anti-slip features, such as anti-slip paint, tape, and inserts.

What Sizes of Decking of Decking Timber Are Available?

At Building Materials Nationwide we offer a range of timber decking boards for sale, with standard and anti-slip options. Our boards come in standardised dimensions of 150mm x 38mm, with varying lengths of 3m, 3.6m, 4.2m, and 4.8m.

What is the Price of Decking Timber?

The prices of timber decking boards will vary based on the length and finish. Our standard 150mm x 38mm deck board in 3m length will cost around £17 before VAT, while the anti-slip option will cost around £26 before VAT. For a longer 4.8m board, a standard option will cost around £27 before VAT, while the anti-slip option will be around £42 before VAT. It’s worth considering when deciding on the most suitable option for you that anti-slip decking timber will have a roughly 50% price increase.

What Treatment is Needed For Decking Timber?

You’ll have to regularly clean your decking timber and treat it with oil, stainer, or sealant. This will preserve the wood in several ways, aiding its water resistance and its attractive look. While you should look to regularly clean, sealing your decking boards should be done roughly once a year.  The pressure treatment of decking timber will give it inherent water resistance, but if left alone damage will occur to your deck, especially visually.

Can Decking Timber Be Painted?

Deck paints are available, which can be used to make your decking a wide range of attractive colours, whether looking for a rustic colour to blend with your garden or something more vibrant to create an eye-catching space. Painting timber can also obscure some of the imperfections that can arise over time.

Our Range of Decking Timber For Sale

Building Materials Nationwide offers a selection of decking timber for sale, with high-quality standard board and anti-slip boards, alongside a selection of composite deck boards. We offer a nationwide delivery service, working for both large construction companies and DIY decking projects alike. If you work within the building industry we also offer trade accounts, granting access to our network of suppliers, express delivery choices, and the services of a dedicated account manager. Sign up for a trade account through our website today.

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