Decks are the ultimate addition. They offer indoor-outdoor flow, the perfect spot to entertain and in many cases, a deck can often feel like another room, especially in smaller, busier households!LEARN MORE
Building a deck is a project that falls into the highly technical and requirement laden category. Think building codes, compliance, and consent! A deck is a structure designed to weight bear, and if elevated, requires a robust engineering effort to ensure it is safe and secure.
If you are a DIY champ, with the tools, the know-how and a thorough understanding of the relevant building codes building a deck will be a walk in the park. If not, this is a project best left to an experienced team.
Before your decking project can begin, you must decide on the decking material that best suits your needs. There are two main categories to choose from, timber or composite timber.
Timber is broken down into two categories, hardwood and softwood.
Composite timber or eco-decking is a recycled plastic and wood fibre blend with a timber-like finish.
Timber decking is a popular choice for many Kiwi homeowners. Not only does it speak to our love of nature, but it also provides a sense of warmth, texture and character to our homes.
With increased pressure on suppliers to disclose their environmental policies, many timber products now come with the promise of having been responsibly and sustainably forested. When making your choice, look out for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark; this will ensure that it comes from a well-managed forestry operation that benefits the surrounding community.
Harwoods build long-lasting decks. Cut from slow growth trees, they are more expensive to produce, but the durability they offer can be worth the investment.
Kwila, Vitex and Fijian Mahogany are among the most popular choices for decking in New Zealand.
Kwila, or Merbau, has naturally occurring oils that protect it from harsh environmental elements, while its tannins make it resistant to splitting or cracking. Kwila is also a low-maintenance option.
Fijian Mahogany is harvested from sustainable plantations and is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly timbers. It is naturally resistant to moisture, decay and insect infestation, and its straight solid grain prevents splintering.
Vitex is sourced from low-impact, village-based operations in the Solomon Islands. The timber has a fine, even grain that gives it a lovely texture. Soft to the touch, it feels lovely underfoot.
Pine decking is an affordable and sustainable choice of decking timber. Traditionally less durable than hardwood options, advances in wood treatments mean that Pine is now seen as a reliable and long-lasting option.
Composite decking is made from a blend of recycled plastic and timber pulp, with a usual ratio of 50-50. It boasts incredible weather-resistant properties, is non-slip, does not splinter, has no visible fixings, and requires minimal maintenance.
A professional must install composite decking to ensure all installation requirements are met.
Kiwi’s love outdoor living, and as such, a deck is seen as a natural extension of one’s home; as with the decisions you made for your home’s interior, the same considerations will come into play when planning your decking project.
Many factors will influence your final decision: budget, aesthetics, and maintenance. Weighing up all these factors against each product's features will help you land on the right choice for your home.
Budget is a genuine consideration and can offer little flexibility for some. But, as with everything, you get what you pay for, so it is well worth looking at the big picture before committing your hard-earned money to anything.
A cheaper product might be immediately affordable but will likely need ongoing maintenance to support longevity and need to be replaced earlier than other products - the cost should be factored in when considering your budget.
Aesthetics extend beyond just looks; they contribute to how it feels to be in a space. Colour and texture combine to create a specific energy, so you must choose a material that will support the ambience you are trying to create.
Timbers age and weather differently. The deck you build today won’t look the same in 10 years. Do your research and ensure that the timber you choose will age in line with your expectations.
If sustainability and environmental impact influence your decision to buy, the good news is that many timber products now come with the promise of being responsibly and sustainably forested.
When making your choice, look out for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark; this will ensure that it comes from a well-managed forestry operation that benefits the surrounding community.
The FSC provides independent certification of wood worldwide. They are a global, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible forest management.
Consider how much time you have, or wish, to dedicate to your deck's upkeep. A timber deck requires more maintenance than a composite deck but only annually.
For longevity, comfort and safety, a timber deck requires staining to protect it, sanding to remove splinters and cleaning to remove slip hazards like moss and mould. Whereas a composite deck only requires occasional cleaning.
Local climate and other environmental conditions must be factored into your choice. If not, the lifespan of your deck could be significantly reduced.
Check with your local supplier before committing to a decision.
Running a regular decking-maintenance schedule will protect your deck from the elements and ensure that it looks its best for the entirety of its lifespan.
Whether you install Kwila, Fijian Mahogany or Vitex decking, maintenance is vital in upholding the appearance and functionality of your deck.
Spring is a great time to address any maintenance issues and ensure your deck is ready for the summer ahead.
All hardwood decks should be cleaned at least once a year. A hose and a stiff brush will help you clear the gaps and remove surface mould.
If you are using a water-blaster, reduce the pressure to low. High-pressure hosing will damage the timber’s fibres and affect its integrity overall.
Staining your deck will ensure the good health of your timber deck and prevent it from fading prematurely. It is recommended that you stain your deck every 6 - 12 months.
A high-quality stain will not only help it to look good but will also help protect it from sun bleaching or timber discolouration.
Oil-based stains are longer-lasting but take longer to dry.
Water-based stains allow air to travel through it, preventing moisture from being trapped. They also dry quicker and maintain their colour quality longer.