Your wooden decking questions answered
Today across the country, classic wooden decking has become more popular than ever before. Constructed in a range of styles and timber, they contribute to the al fresco lifestyle many Australians love.
Why do we choose to install decking?
Often, because of water restrictions and the consequent effect on lawns, wooden decking is a viable alternative. Another common driver is that decking offers lower maintenance than garden areas. For for many, decks simply provide a practical, aesthetic complement to a low-maintenance indoor/ outdoor living area.
What finish to apply to your wood deck remains an area of uncertainty for many people. Let’s outline your choices:
- Leave the timber in its natural state, exposure to sun and rain will cause it to turn grey, and remain as such. Unequal exposure may cause inconsistent weathering and appearance. Many people are happy with this option, although in the long term it could reduce the life of the deck.
- Apply and maintain a suitable protective finish to protect the surface of the timber from weathering and to maintain an attractive appearance. From a durability perspective, the main purpose of the finish is to slow down the rate at which the timber will take up or lose moisture. The finish should contain a fungicide to prevent mould growing on any sugars or starches that may be in the coating.
The main types of timber finishes or coatings:
- Film-forming finishes, such as paints, clear surface coatings and heavy-bodied stains create a visually smooth surface. This won’t significantly penetrate into the surface of the timber.
- Penetrating finishes, like water repellents, decking oils and decking stains do not form a significant surface film. Due to the wear expected with foot traffic, penetrating finishes are generally better for decking boards than film-forming finishes.
- Translucent coatings and stains are typically a combination of film-forming and penetrating coatings with added preservatives, fungicides, and colours.