Over the last 25 years we have used a variety of materials to build decks, and until recently used either treated softwood or hardwood, (often Yellow Balau) for our decking projects such as the photo above in Giffnock, Glasgow.
For the last couple of years we have been increasingly using a type of composite decking made by Millboard, which looks like real wood and doesn’t require maintenance.
Low maintenance has become a high priority for most clients in recent times, and is often at the top of the design brief we are given for garden design. What we have found is that most people don’t have the time to keep their timber decking in top condition due to the amount of upkeep and maintenance involved. This upkeep is especially necessary in our wet climate and doubly so if the position of your deck is in a North facing position, where it doesnt receive much sunlight. This means that the deck remains wet for longer. It then easily becomes slippy and very hazardous to walk on. In South facing positions where the deck receives more sun and gets a chance to dry out more, the effect is lessened. However it will still become slippy unless it is given regular attention. This applies to both softwood and hardwood decks. Here is a Yellow Balau deck that we did in Bishopton near Glasgow.
The other disadvantage of timber decking, and this applies to timber fencing too, is that timber when outdoors fades to grey eventually unless the UV from the sunlight is blocked by way of a coloured oil or stain. This is because UV light breaks down the lignin in the wood. Some people really like this look, and the grey can look quite contemporary in the right setting.
We have had clients who have kept their decks in top condition, and have been willing to put in the considerable time and money to maintain them. If you choose to go down the route of timber decking we would recommend regular cleaning and the application of a penetrating oil with a tint and we have had good results with Osmo Oil. Clear oils do not block the effect of the UV and the deck will go grey eventually. Many deck stains and paints just sit on the surface and eventually look scruffy as they wear off due to weathering and footfall.
A few years ago we used composite deck for the first time, it was a type that the client, an architect, chose. It looked good and it was a high quality one, but it had a bit of shiny surface which was a little slippy and it looked like plastic trying to be wood. I have found this to be the case with most of the composite decks on the market.
Then we discovered Millboard after I visited a client who had a Millboard Deck a few years ago. I was very impressed by the appearance, and could hardly believe that it wasn’t timber. We have been using Millboard decking ever since, if the client’s budget allows. It is very expensive, but it is beautiful, it is not slippy and comes in a matt finish, attractive colours and best of all, no maintenance.
We would be happy to advise you on the various options and costs, please email us on email@example.com for a free initial consultation