Choosing Decking: A Step-By-Step Guide

Choosing Decking: A Step-By-Step Guide

Whether you want one to host al fresco style dinner parties for friends or to simply relax outside and read the latest best seller, a deck can be a great addition to your backyard. A deck not only adds to personal enjoyment, but also can benefit you fiscally – it can increase the value to your property.

But choosing the right decking for your space can be a bit of a minefield. In today’s market, there are countless options available, so it’s no surprise if you’re feeling confused about what sort of deck you should buy.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer as to ‘what’s best’. Traditional timber and composite both have particular benefits that make them ideal candidates, but when it boils down to it, the right deck for you depends on a range of factors, which we will analyse in this blog.

Selecting decking material

One of the greatest considerations in choosing a deck is look vs durability. Timber is sourced from re-growth forests and plantations, while composite is manufactured with reclaimed sawdust and plastics. Timber’s market appeal relies heavily on the aesthetic. If that is what you are looking for in a deck, then you cannot go wrong with timber.

Choosing Decking: A Step-By-Step Guide

Composite Decking Material. Source: Architecture and Design

However, many customers have misconceptions about composite material. Although composite is a man-made material, it is still a great choice for decking. Nearly any problem timber decking encounters– staining, warping, rot, insect damage, wear and exposure is eliminated with the installation of composite decking.

Installation of decking

When buying decking material, the cost of labour/installation is generally overlooked, despite its potential to consume a large portion of your budget.

Composite decking is much easier to install than timber decking, because it is manufactured with a groove system with special fixings that allows planks to quickly slot into place. It is also possible to install composite decking on your own, as you do not need any special tools.

Timber is generally more time consuming to install and therefore more expensive. Because of the potential to incorrectly perform the installation, we highly recommend you contract a quality tradesperson to install your timber decking.

Deck maintenance

If you are time poor, you might want to think twice about getting a timber deck. To keep traditional timber looking in tip-top shape, you will have to dedicate time to cleaning and oiling it, as well as possibly periodic sealing and resurfacing. Composite, on the other hand, is essentially maintenance free limited to just cleaning as required.


Some people are fascinated by the natural beauty of timber. When used in decking, timber can create a warm and inviting space that connects you with the outdoors. However, a lot of people fail to realise the design potential of composite material.

In terms of customisable design options, composite is definitely superior, due to its ability to be manipulated into curves; it is great for building in unconventional spaces. Composite is also available in a wide range of colours and styles, including wood grain patterns to closely resemble natural wood.

Return On Investment

If you’re looking at decking from purely a financial perspective, it can be tricky, because both timber and composite are good investments.

In terms of upfront costs, timber is the cheaper investment, coming in at roughly $75 per square metre, whereas composite has a median price of around $140 per square metre.  However, composite excels as a long term investment for three reasons:

  •     It is easy to install
  •     It looks better for longer
  •     It is inexpensive to maintain – it needs no sealing or resurfacing

Over an extended period of time, it will be cheaper to install composite. It all depends on how long you expect to wait for your return on investment. If you are looking to quickly improve your place to sell it for a profit, we’d recommend using timber. However, if you intend on living on the premises for many years to come, composite may be a better option.

We hope this article has informed you about timber and composite decking materials and will help you make a decision when it comes time to buy.

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What our clients say

Austim are a great partner and timber supplier. Our business is based on the East Coast of Australia and we partner with Austim for WA projects. We have had a long lasting and great working relationship with Austim for many years. Highly recommend them.
daniel wright
daniel wright
06:31 18 Jun 19
Austim is always the first place I try when I need timber and it’s rare that I can’t get what I need there. Stuart is a rare gem of a gent to deal with – quick to respond to any queries, full of good advice and goes out of his way to help get whatever project I’m working on happening to my schedule, even when all I need is a few sticks and a handful of fixings. Highly recommend Austim, the team and young Stuart.
Anni Lilford
Anni Lilford
00:51 16 Nov 18
Stuart went out of his way to make sure we got the product we wanted. He made suggestions on possible constructions and timbers suitable. Very knowledgeable friendly staff all around. Excellent experience, highly recommended.
Holger Butenschon
Holger Butenschon
05:14 22 May 18
Hi Ben,Just wanted to thankyou for your help and advice in our selection of the Millboard Vintage Oak decking also in you recommending Grant from Premier Hardwood Decking. Grant has just completed our decking and we couldn't have asked for a more professional, reliable and competent tradesman. The decking has been installed to a very high standard and the decking itself is stunning. Ian and Sue
susan smith
susan smith
06:27 08 Oct 18
I've used Austim on a few occasions for home projects like decking and pergola, etc and each time the response to my requests for price and delivery have been excellent, the deliveries took place as negotiated, the timber quality was great and value for money. The team at Austim do a great job and make dealing with Austim a breeze.
Michael Robinson
Michael Robinson
09:06 25 Oct 18
I have worked with Austim for around 8 years now and they are one of the best suppliers in perth to deal with. I would highly recommend to use them for any timber needs!!!
Art of Timber
Art of Timber
07:55 05 Mar 20
I had been looking for some cedar for my kayak project and had rung a couple of other places with no luck. When I contacted Austim they were very helpful, had the timber in stock and I was on my was in 20 minutes. The wood was very good quality and has really finished up beautifully. Thanks to Austim.
mark alderson
mark alderson
02:03 08 Apr 17
I"d like to thank Austim for there help in supplying me with material that firstly I thought I'd have trouble sourcing as it was marring up with originally 30 year old existing timber.My project was not a massive project but still needed the attention of an new build.The timber supplied by Austim was machined to size with absolute perfection, where I had to remove old pieces and replace with the new pieces they fitted perfectly.once the floors are re-sanded and varnished they will be back to there former glory. Thanks again to the staff at Austim.Regards Bob Heppenstall.I've just added a finished photo after the Floor Sanding was completed.Original timber was Tassie Oak, and the new is Vic Ash, as you can see there is only a slight variation in the final product.I hope this gives anyone thinking doing the same the confidence to proceed. Regards Bob Heppenstall.
Robert Heppenstall
Robert Heppenstall
10:05 12 Oct 18
Great service over phone and by email. Product supplied is high quality - no issues. Staff accommodating and friendly.
00:18 07 May 20
Good service with fair prices.
Colin Della Bosca
Colin Della Bosca
08:14 04 Jun 20

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