If you’re considering building new timber decking for your house, possibly the most difficult decision you’ll need to make it the choice of timber for your decking boards.

So which is best? Softwood or hardwood timber decks? The ever reliable and beautiful merbau or a stunning timber deck made from one of the varieties of Eucalyptus species?

Softwood or hardwood?

First, let’s clear up a common misconception. Softwood is not soft. In fact, some softwoods are harder than some hardwoods. Whether or not a timber is a softwood or a hardwood is one for the botanists, and is determined by plant reproduction and not the toughness of the timber. However, it is generally true that the timber decking boards that most of us see and use will be tougher if they are made from hardwood.

When it comes to hardwood, in Australia we have access to a wide variety of hardwood decking boards, including merbau, which is widely used and when well maintained will keep its beautiful rich red colour for many years. Australian Eucalyptus timber decking boards, such as blackbutt, jarrah and spotted gum, are also widely used. They are incredibly tough and have wonderful knots and variations that practically tell a story once laid down on your deck.

If you’re building a deck on a budget, however, it’s hard to go past softwood timber decking or treated pine. It’s still a highly attractive option – although not as attractive as hardwood for most people.

Bare in mind that treated pine is not as tough as most hardwood timber decking options so you can expect some marks and blemishes over time, particularly in high traffic areas. This can be negated, however, with regular maintenance.

Which timber decking is best for me?

So, in the end, which timber decking is right for you?

If you’re on a budget, softwood will be a great choice. If budget is less of a concern, consider a hardwood that will match or complement floor coverings in your house, or simply go for the one that you find the most attractive.

While it’s understandable that choosing a timber decking is a decision many of us will labour over, at the end of the day there really are no wrong decisions. Every timber decking board looks great and, when laid by professionals such as Outside Concepts, will give many years of no-fuss enjoyment.

Find out about Outside Concepts’ 10-year structural warranty. Call us on 1800 601 674.