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Timber v. Aluminium Decks: What's the Difference?

Timber decking – it’s the quintessential feature of the traditional Aussie home. With its natural beauty, warmth and rustic bush charm, it’s no surprise that timber decking remains one of the most popular decking choices. 

However, with stringent bushfire building codes across Australia, plus many homeowners seeking a more low-maintenance option for their deck, Australians are seeking alternatives to timber to deck out their home for the summer. Timber-look aluminium decking is a durable, easy-install decking option that can replicate the timber appearance homeowners love. 

It is important to choose the right material for your project. Here are some of the key differences between natural timber and aluminium decking. 

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Installation

Whether or not your timber deck is easy to install depends on the species of timber chosen. While softwoods are relatively easy to install, hardwoods can be difficult to drill or nail into place. Some types of timber planks can be quite heavy as well. Aluminium, however, is lightweight and easy to install. Often, aluminium decking boards such as DecoDeck are designed to easily lift into place, click together using specialised decking clips which also allow it to screw down directly to your subframe.

Maintenance

As owners of timber decks know, maintenance can cost them thousands per year, depending on the size of the deck. Timber decks deteriorate rapidly and can fade in the sun, meaning they require sanding and restaining, oiling or painting every couple of years (or even annually) to retain their appearance. Timber will eventually rot, warp, shrivel and crack over time – this can be sped up if it is exposed to moisture frequently – and boards will eventually need replacing. Aluminium, however, is a very dimensionally stable material, which will not twist or warp even after many years. Aluminium decking can also retain its appearance for a long time. If you choose an aluminium deck with a sublimated, Class 2 powder coat finish, the timber appearance will not fade, wear or peel off, leaving you with the same beautiful timber aesthetic years later that you had when you first installed it. 

Fire Safety

An essential aspect of any building these days is fire safety. After the Black Saturday bushfires caused widespread devastation in 2009, the Building Code of Australia was revised to include more stringent fire safety codes. Building owners must check what Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating their property has, and may only build with materials that fit the specifications for their property. In high-risk areas such as BAL 40 and BAL FZ, completely non-combustible materials must be used. As timber is a combustible material, it cannot be used in these areas. However, powder coated aluminium is 100% non-combustible, and will not ignite or spread flame, even when exposed to high heat or ember attack. This means it can be used to recreate that beautiful timber look even in areas where timber itself is unsuitable to be used.

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Slip Resistance

Who doesn’t love a pool deck? Decks and pools go together like summer and sunshine – but having a slippery deck around the edge of a pool is unsafe and unsuitable. Decks must pass Australian Standard AS 4586 outlines the slip rating required for a material to be used in wet areas. Timber typically does not meet the requirements to be used in such areas, as it can become slippery when wet, and often textured, slip resistant finishes must be added and maintained, adding to overall maintenance costs. If you use an aluminium decking such as DecoDeck, however, it can come with a special slip-resistant powder coating, which will not wear off over time. This means it can achieve a P4 slip rating, making it safe for wet areas such as around pools and on boardwalks. 

DecoDeck®

Made from sublimated, powder coated aluminium, DecoDeck® is the realistic, long-lasting alternative to natural timber. With over 150 woodgrain finishes to choose from, DecoDeck® recreates the appearance of many popular Australian and exotic timber species, while being low maintenance and easy to install. With a P4 slip rating for use around pools, and safe for all bushfire zones, DecoDeck® gives you the timber deck look you always dreamed of, without the hassle. 

To find out how DecoDeck® can enhance your backyard, contact one of our friendly team. 

 

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