You’ve decided to build a timber deck for the flooring of your outdoor living area. Great choice, as a timber deck has many advantages over other materials, not the least of which is that it will look great for many decades to come.
But which timber will you choose for your timber deck? Hardwood or softwood?
In the end your choice is likely to come down to a simple case of numbers, or more correctly the amount of money you can afford for your timber deck. That’s because a softwood timber deck will be more affordable than one built from hardwood.
This doesn’t mean, however, that softwood is necessarily second best. Yes, for many treated pine – the softwood most often used for timber decking because of its durability – isn’t the best looking product in the world, but there are a range of coatings you can choose that will help to protect your timber deck and make it look great.
For example, Cabot’s Timber Finishes claims that if you want to change the colour of your treated pine to look like a hardwood Merbau deck, they have a stain to do the job. If it’s an aged oak look you want, yep, they’ve got a stain for that too. Stains come in water-based, which can be completed in a single day, and oil-based, which take longer to dry but provide a richer, more classic look.
Of course, you can always paint a softwood timber deck as well. You then have a choice of a large range of colours, to suit your home and surrounds.
If money isn’t as tight, however, most people will choose hardwood.
There’s a reason why Merbau timber decking is the most common timber decking material in Australia and that’s because it looks beautiful. And while it is possible to turn a softwood deck into a Merbau-look deck, for most people the result isn’t quite as good as the real thing.
Merbau isn’t your only choice. There are a variety of timber decking boards sourced from Eucalyptus species to choose from, which have the added advantage of having knots and other imperfections that add a ton of character.
At the end of the day, whichever timber you choose you won’t go wrong. Softwood and hardwood timber are both great products and – with a little maintenance along the way – when used on a timber they will give you decades of hassle free relaxation and entertainment opportunities.
Find out about Outside Concepts’ 10-year structural warranty. Call us on 1800 601 674.