Which wood is best for your deck?
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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