Which wood is best for your deck?

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When it comes to choos­ing the best tim­ber for your deck, your bud­get will likely be the big­gest fac­tor to con­sider, says Gareth McKen­zie, owner of McTim­ber Struc­tures.

Although SOUTH AFRICAN CCA-TREATED PINE is a soft tim­ber, it’s a good op­tion if you’re com­mit­ted to treat­ing it reg­u­larly. The acro­nym refers to the cop­per, chromium and ar­senic in the so­lu­tion in which the tim­ber is soaked. De­pend­ing on what the tim­ber is used for and where it is used, the strength of the CCA mix­ture can be ad­justed and is in­di­cated with rat­ings from H2 (in­ter­nal use such as roof trusses) to H5 (outdoor use, in con­tact with wa­ter). Any­thing higher than H3 is suit­able for outdoor struc­tures.

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Both IPE and MASSARANDUBA are ex­tremely hard and very sta­ble. “When work­ing with these woods, the sub­struc­ture of your deck is very im­por­tant as it can bend and crack if it isn’t prop­erly sup­ported,” says Gareth. He rec­om­mends us­ing a Silk­wood deck­ing sealant ev­ery six to eight months.

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BALAU is es­pe­cially suited to coastal regions as it needs lit­tle to no main­te­nance in ar­eas with high hu­mid­ity; it does, how­ever, re­quire reg­u­lar main­te­nance in­land. Frikkie Gre­eff, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Woodoc, rec­om­mends us­ing ei­ther Woodoc Deck Dress­ing (ev­ery six to nine months) or Woodoc Wa­ter-Borne Deck in­land (ev­ery 12 to 18 months) as the tim­ber does dry out and can crack.

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GARAPA is an­other good op­tion that, like balau, needs lit­tle main­te­nance in coastal regions; it re­quires an­nual treat­ment in­land.

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As it’s an African hard­wood, ZIM­BAB­WEAN TEAK is able to han­dle the ex­treme tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions in South Africa very well, es­pe­cially in­land. It’s an ex­tremely dense tim­ber so the chances of it crack­ing are very slim, but it does need to be treated ev­ery six to eight months with an oil-based sealant such as Silk­wood M7 or ev­ery 12 to 18 months with a wa­ter-based sealant such as Woodoc Wa­ter-Borne Deck, de­pend­ing on the amount of di­rect sun­light it gets.

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