An Expert’s Guide to Decking

An Expert’s Guide to Decking

Published on Friday, May 19, 2017

With summer just around the corner, often consumers wish to focus on updating and refreshing the garden for those all-important garden parties and BBQs.

Decking can be used to enhance a garden space in a variety of ways - from being used as a social space such as a dining area right through to being installed to help even out sloping garden terrain. Elevated decks can also be used to add an extra layer to the garden.

The aesthetic benefits of decking speak for themselves, but it also provides a comfortable, even surface to sit and walk on and is particularly durable and low-maintenance.

So you’ve already decided to go ahead with installing decking - but what next? Selecting the right species and looking after your timber decking can seem tricky at first but our handy expert guide will tell you all you need to know…


Selecting Your Decking Species

When choosing your decking species you need to ask yourself a few key questions:

  • >What will your decking be used for?
  • Where will your decking be located?
  • What do you want your decking to look like?

Once you have the answers to these questions you can start the process of choosing your decking species.

At Duffield Timber we provide a variety of species for customers to choose from. Different woods all have different characteristics and these will help you decide which species is the right one for you! The main factors are aesthetics, practicality and cost. Behind these factors lie many features of timbers such as durability, water resistance, colour, hardwood and softwood and the square metre price. How you’ll be using your decking is also a factor when it comes to deciding what timber to choose. For instance, if you are surrounding either a pool or hot tub, the timber species that you select will need to have good water damage resistant characteristics. If you are using your decking frequently for entertainment, especially with children and pets, you’ll want a hard-wearing timber!

Below is a list of species we currently stock in our Cladding & Decking Centre. Which one’s right for you?

Siberian Larch

Siberian Larch is a light-coloured softwood, but it’s also one of the most durable on the market. It’s even harder than some hardwoods! It does tend to move more than Thermowood and the other hardwood options, though.


Thermowood is a dark-coloured heat-treated softwood. With this timber being heat-treated it is extremely stable and does not move as much as Siberian Larch or Finger-Jointed European Oak. As it’s also one of the cheapest decking solutions it could be a cost effective option for those on a budget.

Finger-Jointed European Oak

Finger-Jointed European Oak is the least expensive hardwood option available at Duffield Timber. The finished product, once oiled, is a medium to light brown colour and the finger joints in the timber will be visible. When finger-jointed, European Oak is a very durable hardwood, though Oak can tend to move slightly more compared to tropical hardwoods so it would be worth putting a slightly larger gap in between the boards.


Iroko is a top-of-the-range tropical hardwood decking which is extremely durable and stable. The timber can vary slightly in colour, but once oiled this variation becomes less profound to the eye. With Iroko being a tropical hardwood, it has a warm dark colour and is even considered as an alternative to Teak once it has been oiled. A stunning choice for those wanting to add some flair to their garden space.


Balau is another top choice when it comes to tropical hardwood decking and has very similar characteristics to Iroko. The main difference between Balau and Iroko is that Balau has a much more consistent reddish brown colour. Like Iroko, Balau is extremely durable as well as being stable and it also resists water well. Perfect for pool parties!


Trade Tips For Installing Your Decking

You may choose to hire a professional to help install your decking but, for those keen DIY-ers, it’s possible to install your own. Here are some handy tips to help you get it right…


Use protective precautions when installing your sub-frame.

  • Damp protection pads can be purchased to place between your subframe and the ground to stop any water being transferred from the ground and into your subframe.
  • Decking tape can be used to cover the face of your sub frame, ensuring that your decking and sub-frame are not touching and transferring water between the two.


Ensure your decking is securely fastened to your sub frame.

  • Use a high quality stainless steel decking screw when fixing your deck down. If you use standard wood screw or a poor-quality decking screw these will eventually break and will allow the boards to move and warp, resulting in your deck bulging up in certain areas. Screws that are not stainless steel will also bleed and stain your timber a dark black brown colour. Remember the classic “Buy cheap buy twice” motto!


Make sure air can circulate around your decking, which will help stop your sub-frame from becoming damp, moving and even rotting.

  • Ensure that there is a 5mm gap between your decking boards (when using Oak, you may want to increase this to around 7mm as there will be more movement when using this species).
  • Use spacers in between your subframe and decking boards.


Finish your deck with a high-quality UV protection oil.

  • This will give your deck an extended weathering life against the sun, ensuring your deck does not become a bland grey colour (coat with protection oil every one or two years depending on the product you use).
  • UV oils can sometimes contain an added grip feature to make your decking a safer area.


So there you have it - you’ll be a decking expert in no time. Don’t forget our team are always on-hand at our site in Ripon to help give even more advice and expertise, too! Contact us if you’d like to discuss decking with us further.