Sustainable Wood Choices: Which One Is Best For Your New Deck?

Posted on: 20 September 2016

The emergence of spring means it is time to clean off the barbeque and get your outdoor area ready for summertime entertaining. As a new homeowner who is wanting to build a deck before summer arrives now is the time to be planning your project and ordering your timber supplies. Sustainable wood choices are a hot topic when it comes to deck building because choosing sustainable wood means you are having less of an impact on the environment. So, what type of sustainable wood is most suitable for your decking needs? Consider these three options.

Bamboo Decking

Not all bamboo wood is harvested from a sustainable plantation, so before you consider this option you need to make sure you are purchasing bamboo from a legitimate source. You can do this by asking your timber supplier which plantation it came from and then do a little research of your own. You can use the internet to make sure the bamboo was harvested from a sustainable forest, or you can contact Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division if you want to clarify the background of the bamboo you are buying.

Bamboo is a super strong, good-looking wood which will perform as well as any hardwood choice you make. However, bamboo does require annual maintenance to keep it free from mould and mildew. This means annual staining or sealing to keep the water at bay. Do keep in mind that if you live in Victoria or Tasmania, bamboo should not be your number one choice. Bamboo does not perform well when exposed to a lot of rain or extreme cold, and these states offer plenty of both those conditions.

Hardwood Decking

Hardwood timber options that are sustainably harvested within Australia and Oceania can be found quite easily and are worth considering. Jarrah, Blackbutt and gum are all examples of native Australian hardwood that will work well in a decking setting.

Hardwood decking made of Blackbutt or Spotted gum is ideal for states with a history of forest fires such as Western Australia and Victoria. These woods are already naturally fire resistant. When it comes to building in fire prone areas, you have to follow Australian Standards as to what type of wood can be used. These woods do not need any additional fire retardant added to them as they can stand up to flames all on their own.

Hardwood comes in a range of different colours, and you can always stain it if the wood you choose is not available in a hue you would like. Hardwood does need to be stained or sealed each year so water does not seep into it. An oil-based stain will repel the water while giving you a colour that complements your home.

Softwood Decking

Softwood in Australia predominately refers to treated pine products, and pine is a popular decking choice as it is one of the cheapest wood options. When pine is chemically treated, it withstands the stress of rot and insect attack well. Australia has several plantations who provide the sustainable timber you require for your decking.

There are no real negatives to know when it comes to considering softwood for decking. Softwood can even look like hardwood if you want to stain it to look that way.

Now you know what your three main sustainable wood options are, you can make the choice of which one to order from your timber supplier. They can also give you a cost quote based on the amount of wood you need if you wish to make your final decision based on budgetary constrictions. Whichever wood you do choose, now is the time to get your deck designed and built ready for the warmer weather ahead.