What price is decking? A common question by many end users is "what is the price difference between hardwood decking and softwood decking"? "why do they vary in price so much"?
Softwood decking, Hardwood timber decking or composite decking information needs to be readily made available so the end user can understand the difference in look, quality, longevity and most importantly cost.
What is the cost of Softwood Decking?
The best decking in softwood timber for you is one that you can afford and a decking product that you will be happy with, including the colour and fixing technique. I wouldn’t get carried away with rebating and plugging holes in softwood or using a hidden fastening system, this adds unnecessary costs to what should be an entry level product in any case.
For standard decking the thickness of approx 38mm for pine is acceptable with decking screws simply inserted 2 per timber joists set at 400mm intervals, no need to pre-drill as the timber is soft enough not to split, allow the screw to be inserted slightly under the surface. This allows for a light sand prior to finishing the deck with exterior timber oil to enhance the look and increase the longevity.
Softwood Pine timber decking installation will cost from £80.00 to £110.00 per square metre, with balustrade to match costing £90.00 per linear metre.
Although Cedar is softwood and in some cases softer than pine should not get confused with a budget installation. Cedar decking is £140 to £150 per sq m installed; this would be for Clear Western Red Cedar and using quality Stainless Steel screws. Always use stainless steel screws on Cedar otherwise the reaction between other metals will show an unsightly black blotch around every screw.
There are many different species of hardwood timber suitable for decking construction in the UK. Ipe being a common decking material, this is due to the extreme durability and hardness, there are others.
Ipe, Massaranduba, Elondo, Kurupay, Teak, Merbau, Cumaru, Iroko, Belinga.
They all have their own unique characteristics; some are harder than others and the colour and grain changes with each different species.
The most important process in selecting a hard wood is that it should really have a durability rating of “1”(TRADA refers). Any rating less than this wll have a much reduced lifespan and not represent value for money.
BS EN 350-1 recognises five classifications of natural durability for timbers
There are various techniques to fixing your deck boards, they will have a cost impact on your chosen decking:
1. Predrilled, countersunk and the surface mounted screw is then visible, this is standard.
2. Rebated holes and plugged for a surface mounted fixing.
3. Side profiled with Ebty or IpeClip (plastic clips) provide an almost hidden fixing system
4. Patented invisible fixing system by Exterpark proving a true interior parquet for outside
5. There are many other side fixing systems available.
The costs of a hardwood decking system vary tremendously, rather like having a piece of furniture bespoke made; each one is unique and completely different.
The cost for a cost effective/standard hardwood deck will be from £170 to £180 sq m this will be a simple design, cheaper hardwood material, predrilled and countersunk holes. One has to appreciate sanding and oiling will add to this cost. The other additions like fascia, lift out hatches and steps will add more to the cost. The largest cost of course is for a curved design, there is a lot of waste generated here, perhaps as much as10%.
For a rebated and plugged finish the labour does mount up rapidly as this is a slow process, this is for real wood lovers that appreciate the craftsmanship involved with this style of work.
Hidden fixing systems can cost from £200 and also Exterpark at a similar cost, albeit an increase in cost for Exterpark it is the best on the market. Decks can cost an unimaginable amount for fine teak or if a thicker decking board is used. For a 35mm thickness commercial deck constructed from Ipe the cost would be in the hundreds per sq m.
If the designer or client were to specify a hand selected timber with a particular cut to the timber,e.g. Quarter cut; similarly if the colour of the timber were to be homogenous within a colour range then the cost would again be very high. This selection process is rare for the majority of timber decking and unless money be no object take the timber as it comes and accept timber for what it is.
I am not going to comment on which composite decking manufacturer is best, simply to advise on cost and what’s out there.
Millboard, TimberTech, EcoDek, Maine Deck, Tilon, Xyltech, there are many others and costs range from £130 to £150 sq m to include subframe and installation
Costs represented are exclusive of vat. Every decking will be a different cost, the end user must take into consideration the material, shape, elevation, complexity and detailing.
If you have any questions pertaining to your deck, would prefer assistance with materials selection or would like us to qualify a quotation do contact us with your enquiry here.
Karl Harrison from Exterior Decking
This blog is update from time to time, Apr 2012,
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