Best wood to use for decking?

Hi all,

Thinking of doing wooden decking at my alfresco and front porch for my house in Perth. The total area is roughly 30sqm. Quoted around $3.5k for Merbau decking boards. Is this reasonable?

I know there're lots of different kind of wood materials for decking? Which one would you recommend for most natural looking & least maintenance required?

Thanks in advance!


  • +1

    3.5K is pretty steep without structural work

    look out for jarrah floor board seconds at building/timber supply joints and salvage yards. ring around, people in these places are pretty helpful.

    seconds will have burrs and knots but u can mix and match and put imperfections up against the wall where bbq, table etc will go, no one will notice

    if you are not handy, find an odd job man/semi retired builder from your local paper for a cash job

    I reckon youd get under $2K that way

    • Well, it did say includes treated pine framing, so I presume that's the structural work you mentioned?

      I'm definitely not handy, not with something so complicated. Any idea if the wood/plastic is any good?

      • No personal experience with the plastic, but was told when enquiring for a similar project that the plastic tended to get hotter than wood if in a sunny situation. The other problem that plastic had was with scratches from chair legs etc dragging on the surface. Apparently plastic can't be repaired easily. Don't know if the advice we got was true or not, however we used a "mixed hardwood" and have been happy with it.

    • Go For Merbau Timber, Merbau Decking timber are easy to installed, very adaptable to movement and durable. Merbau decking can last 20 years and over.
      I bought my merbau timber last month from Out Deco living in Campbellfield
      Their prices is quite competitive, they stock all the set lengths and their Merbau timber are all A Grade. Just a hint, dont buy Merbau decking timbers from Bunnings, their timbers is a shocker due to random grades quality and very limited in merbau set lengths.

  • +1

    Merbau initially looks good but it does leach a lot, like all woods but more. Unless you want the silvery look from non stained wood, I think Merbau shows when it needs a re-stain more than a lot of other woods. Have a look at some Pelawan, commonly called northern or southern box. It's a very hard and durable timber that you can get with some mixed colour variation, as well as being cheap led me to choose over other timbers. Here is a link to a description of it and I'll upload a picture of my deck a bit later.

  • Wood looks (and smells!) terrific when new. But… you need to oil it once a year to extend its life (not cheap), and it deteriorates fast. After some years it starts to look so-so, and eventually deteriorates very badly (how many years? it depends on location). Eventually you have to replace it, as it rots and is dangerous to walk on.

    Composite wood (various mixtures of plastics, bamboo, woods, etc) is more expensive, but lasts forever with zero maintenance (25 years warranty is not unusual - what is warranty on merbau decking?). Single lengths can be replaced if damaged if scratches worries you (often composite deck uses click in mountings). One quick look at a 10 years old deck made from merbau (or any other wood) and composite material would convince everyone.

    This is good introductory article (though a bit old, some details changed): Google for more info, read some reviews. There are many composite decking brands, some very expensive, BUT it all depends on how much maintenance you are willing to do, and how long you want the deck to last. Avoid cheap imported Chinese products. This is a case when you invest in future maintenance, difficult to see the savings on day zero. Try to find someone with composite deck installed and talk to them.

    • I'm actually leaning towards composite wood now. Can't see myself oiling the deck once a year for sure. Any recommendations on brands popular in WA? Cheers

      • For me the main issue is that even with oiling once a year the deck does not last that long, I want to do improvements around the house once, and forget about fixing or maintaining in future. I will be replacing a large deck about half a year from now, so my research is not complete. Leaning towards Modwood brand, it appears to be the only one made in Australia. Not cheap:

        It is also important to consider cost of mounting system: often it is high, but good stainless steel invisible click in type is what I prefer. Example: Do not worry about what is popular in your region: whatever you order needs to be delivered by truck anyway, and all distributors deliver anywhere in Australia. Installation is very simple: I will do it myself, but any decent tradesman should be able to do it without big drama. Good luck!

  • +1

    I live near the beach and my WA "river reds" are a class 2 ….they stand up well IF looked after!.

    A great class 1 timber is Tallow wood which is outstanding in durability but often very expensive, I have seen it at times on a clearance situation in building material auction sites.

    I would also suggest a water based "Oil" on a new deck - Wattyl make a good one, but it must be used from the start on raw wood, as it will not work properly if the deck has been treated with traditional oil based products… it would require a total strip back to bare wood which is almost impossible on an existing deck.

    For traditional existing oiled decks it's best to use a deck oil with Tung oil in the mix for better durability, which is what I do, but if I ever had to build a new one I would use water based oil products.

    Hope this assists.

  • CHEP pallets. OB4LIFE

  • I have decided to go with composite wood, but Which composite wood brand is the best? So many out there!

    • Hey buddy, what did you go with in the end? I'm about to start decking my backyard so keen to know your experience.

      • I went with the brand futurewood, so far nothing to complain about. 6 months on, the decking still look pretty new I got it cheap from Masters last time, so unsure how you could source it locally now.

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