There's no better way to extend and connect your home's interior to the outdoors than by adding a decking area. It looks great and creates a new living space that can be enjoyed much of the year. For some, such as lake houses and other stilted properties, it's the main outdoor space. It can create a raised area to improve views, add a wow factor to swimming pools or ponds, and create stylish terraces.
Decking has been used for hundreds of years, first on ships, piers and the choice material for many seafront walkways and wrap-around porches. Decking for home improvements became popular no sooner than the materials became readily available. The only choice home owners really needed to make was which type of wood they would use and what colour they would stain it. And for the best part of 50 years things remained like that. But as the planet's forests became stripped of their ancient trees, which had grown slow and provided sturdy hard-wearing wood, wood for decking got sourced from tree farms. Farmed wood: fast growing, weaker, and a favourite amongst termites and woodworm. Maintaining wooden decking, though arduous, became the done thing, along with painting the fence and mowing the lawn.
In response to environmental concerns and a shortage of affordable quality wood, around the same time UPVC double glazing for windows and doors became popular, so did WPCs, wood and plastic composites, for decking. Unfortunately, in its infancy, composite decking material was not good. It looked more like plastic than wood, it warped, cracked and sagged more than wood, and there was little could be done to fix it other than replace it. So for most people, wood remained the material of choice. The periodical sanding, treating against bugs and staining continued.
A decade later, like most technologies, the way WPCs were made improved. It took on an appearance more like wood and became more durable. Another ten years and composites became more popular. Being fairly low maintenance and hardy, it appeared in parks and play areas.
Where are we in 2016: wood or composite?
Today, a combination of environmental awareness, hectic lives and more choice, has revolutionised the market for decking material. Like film versus digital for cameras, after years of deliberation over whether synthetic wood will ever replace real wood, this might be the tipping point.
Until now, 80% of homeowners chose wood. But like wood for boats, wooden decking is being trumped by the latest designs in composite decking. Why? Because high-end composite decking material used in products from brands such as https://www.timbertechuk.co.uk/ really looks like wood, the end results can be stunning. It doesn't splinter, need expensive anti-slip varnish or woodworm treatment. It's Mildew resistant, it doesn't rot. In the long run, it's better value too. As testament to its durability, some suppliers provide decent warranties against their products. TimberTech offer a 25-year guarantee, and are definitely one company responsible for the shift from wood, their designs are eco-friendly and wouldn't look out of place in the Hollywood hills.
At the end of a hard day, maintenance free means more time relaxing, and you can't put a price on that.