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The best decking materials – from the experts

Wednesday 10th July 2019 by Anthony Abbott

What are the different types of materials – and what is best in particular conditions?


Decking is now recognized as the most common alternative to the use of traditional patio/seating area products, such as paving slabs.

Timber decks, and the more modern composite solutions are the favoured choice for those looking to create the perfect garden space for entertaining and spending time as a family.

But what are the best decking materials – and which work best in certain conditions?

Well, like any outdoor improvement scheme you want to bring to your garden, it’s got to be something you want. There is little point in choosing a product that may have better qualities if you don’t actually like the look it creates.

At the end of the day, you have got to have something that fits in perfectly with your tastes…never compromise the need for individual choice!

There are other factors you will want to consider too. You will probably be working to budget and also looking for something that has longevity. We all lead busy lives too, so ease of maintenance maybe key to your final choice too.

Don’t rush into a decision. Take some to weigh up the positives and negatives of each product. It is good idea to sit down with a piece of paper and, for each decking product, write down the plusses and the minuses of each. It could really help you make your final decisions.

Get the opinions of your friends too, well the ones with good taste! It is also a good idea to find out what the rest of your family like. The last thing you want to do is spend your hard earned money on a stunning new decking area, if you are the only person using it!!

So, let’s see how our two contemporary decking adversaries face off – and which is likely to come out on top.


The case for timber…


Let’s start with budget. Timber does offer a more cost effective solution over its composite and PVCu rival, but ultimately the actual cost will depend on what type of timber you want to use.

Unsurprisingly, while softwood products are cheaper, they aren’t as durable as hardwood.

Remember that maintenance factor too. Wood, by its very nature, needs looking after with regular treatment using stains, oils, preservatives. Hardwood is tougher, but it doesn’t matter what wood you opt for, completely neglect a timber deck and it will eventually rot and crack.

That means you may have another costly outlay for a new deck! With the right level of care, some timber deck solutions can last up to 25 years – and sometimes longer. It really depends if you have both the time, and the inclination, to maintain it.

 It should be said though that modern timber products are improving all the time to better compete with their contemporary composite rivals. Wood too, arguably, looks more natural in garden surroundings although there is an increasing number of composite products coming to market that look just like timber.

Timber also looks great when it’s used to create steps and/or walkways, as well as for a seating areas, as it blends in well and provides a great contrast to the rich greenery of lawn areas and foliage.

Wood decks do present a slip hazard too. To help combat this, pressure washing to remove algae can help, but too much washing can cause timber to deteriorate at a faster rate. There are also products on the market that can create a better grip to the surface, small inobtrusive aluminum inserts fitted into the deck.


The case for composite/PVCu…


If you want a tough, hardwearing decking solution that requires minimal maintenance, yet still has a life span of 20 to 30 years – and more, then composite could just be the product for you.

In this contest, it’s definitely the heavyweight contender, although hard wood products are punching in a similar category.

Composite won’t crack, rot or warp, has great non-slip properties and you won’t need to be reaching for the oils, stains and preservatives…ever. Just the occasional wash down will keep it looking great. No sanding, no sealing, the advantages just go on and on.

Boards also come in a range of colours and finishes, whereas with wood, you have to put plenty of hard work in if you want to change its colour!

The PVCu alternatives often come in cheaper than timber too, but don’t have the same visual appeal as timber. But as we have already indicated, there are many composite brand that look so much like timber, it is difficult to tell the difference unless you look close up.

Where the modern composite products perhaps work best, is in a more contemporary setting, but if it is the traditional look and feel you are seeking to achieve, then timber decking is probably the winner for you.


Millboard composite decking – is it in a class of its own?


Alongside more cost effective composite solutions, Harbron Home Improvements work with the Millboard range of composite products that have raised the bar for quality and durability.

But what makes the Millboard composite deck so good?

The main reason lies in the manufacturing technique. While extrusion techniques are used to form most composite boards, Millboard’s team of experts hand mould the deck from original timber. It retains the appearance of wood and can be hand coloured at the same time.

The materials used in the construction are quite different to those that make up other composite products. Instead of a combination of wood fibres and plastic, Millboard uses mineral stone with a unique resin mineral.

There’s no rotting or warping, and the Millboard deck is also damp free. It also won’t fall victim to insect infestation either. What’ also perhaps surprising, is that despite its touch composition, the Millboard deck is also remarkable easy to cut, as well as shape. It doesn’t even require predrilling for fixings.

What’s more its environmentally friendly do, so you will be doing your bit for the plant is you choose Millboard composite decking boards.


Choose Harbron for Millboard composite – and other, more cost effective composite decking solutions.

The in-house decking installation team at Harbron Home Improvements has completed a specialist, advanced training course with Millboard – so you can trust in their knowledge and expertise if you choose this premium product for your decking project.

Find out more about composite and all our decking solutions at www.hhigroup.co.uk/decking