The Truth About Decks


I am sure you have seen the glossy pictures of decks demonstrating how beautiful they can look. Have you ever noticed how beautiful the wood grain is? Quite often this is achieved by wetting the deck for the photo opportunity. The truth is that they may never look that good again. Timber ages, weathers and greys off and in some cases this even adds to the character of it.

Let’s take a look at what most companies don’t tell you about decking products.

All of these products highlighted here have their own characteristics and limitations. It is important that when a DECKHQ professional consults with you that you understand what the product will look like in 1 month, 1 year or even 10 years. It is also important that the products used are suitable for your surroundings and your lifestyle. We are your complete design and build professionals.

Pine decking

Radiata Pine

Pine is the most commonly used timber in decking and fencing projects. It is a softwood and easy to work with. If pine is ground treated it is durable and will last for 25 years or more if cared for correctly.

So what are the weaknesses of this common building material? As it is a softwood it can be susceptible to being marked in high traffic areas. Even kiln dried pine will swell up in the wet winter months and shrink in a hot, dry summer. This will sometimes result in uneven gaps appearing and then closing up again. Such is the nature of timber.

This is however our most sustainable product available. In New Zealand we can take a tree from seedling to harvest in just 25 years. It is cost effective for most building requirements and lasts a long time when cared for correctly.

Pine can be mounted or fixed in many different ways. Hidden or concealed fixings are acceptable with this product along with visible stainless steel screw fixings. Never nail a deck board down!

Talk to us if this might suit your particular build requirement.


Hardwood Timber

Hardwood timber like Kwila has been very common in the New Zealand decking industry for years. Other hardwoods like Purpleheart, Vitex, and Garapa are also used throughout the industry.

Hardwood by its name indicates that it is extremely durable and hard wearing. Not all hardwoods are the same though. Some hardwood timbers have a higher density than others and are more suitable for high traffic areas and commercial applications. Most hardwoods will last for 25 years or more. They look great they are cleaned and oiled periodically.

All of these hardwoods are very dense and require pre-drilling both the mounting hole and the countersink hole. Fixing a hardwood deck down with 2 stainless screws per joist is the only system we would consider. Remember never nail a deck down!

Give us a call and let’s see if hardwood is right for you.


Composite Decking

Composite decking products are extremely common and the choices limitless in the Northern hemisphere. This product stands up to the cold winters, snow and ice and has proven to be a good alternative to timber. Most products have a good slip resistance factor and some even look like timber.

As the name Composite indicates this product is made up of a number of components. Typically they are made of 50 % recycled plastic and 50% recycled timber. In some cases the recycled material will be wood flour, rice husk or peanut hulls. Whilst many manufacturers claim to use recycled plastic many have struggled with inconsistent content of blended recycled plastics.

The most important consideration when choosing a composite decking product is the warranty. If the product does not have a warranty of 20 years or more you need to ask yourself why?

Composite decks very durable and offer that maintenance free factor that many people require. They are splinter proof and are great in commercial applications, high traffic requirements and around pool areas.

Composite decks are usually laid in a picture frame manner. Often times one picture frame beside another. Concealed biscuit fixings are the norm and are the best method for fixing down the deck boards. The composite deck boards should not be butted together, end to end as you would with timber.

The reason that you cannot have these long runs of composite decking is that it is prone to longitudinal expansion and contraction. Composites can grow or shrink over one millimetre or more for every metre of length. The picture framing technique allows for expansion and contraction to occur with these temperature fluctuations.

Give us a call to view our range of composite decking.