Best deck timber in Australia

Posted: September 16, 2010 by DIY Big Boss in Timber Structural / Construction / Other
Tags: , ,

Spotted Gum Deck from Bransons Building Materials

If you decide to build your own deck sometime this spring one of the first questions that will leap to mind will be what is the best Australian decking timber to use?  There are so many different types around, so how do you select something that will both look good and be durable in your area?  Well today we are going to look at hardwood decking timbers and what is available.

Knowing and considering your climate and the conditions your deck will endure is so important because as a natural product timber is susceptible to its environment.  If you live in a dry area and your decking will potentially be exposed for many hours to harsh direct sunlight it will require a different type of timber than if you are up in the snowy mountains.  The other thing to consider is whether the area is subject to pests, for example if you have had termites previously, planning on a termite resistant timber will be essential.  All in all though if you keep in mind that Australian timber is best suited to Australian conditions you will be on the right track.

Why hardwood?

Hardwood timber represents the strongest and most durable timber for deck building, but you will find that as such it is more expensive than softwood.  Hardwoods are generally more resilient to pests and are reacher in colour.  Timber is ranked on its strength and durability, the scale runs from 1 (highest) to 4 (lowest).  All timbers used for decking should be at least a level 1 or 2.

The timbers most commonly available in Australia are:

  • Bartu & Merbau – These two types of timber are from Asia, but have been included because they are favoured by many Australians as the choice of timber decking.  They are both of class 2 durability and are usually cheaper than the Australian natural timbers.
  • Blackbutt – Is great to use in areas that are in a Bush Fire classified area because they have a natural fire resistance.  Blackbutt has a durability class of 2 and is Brown in appearance
  • Ironbark – Ironbark is stronger than Blackbutt (durability class 1) and can be purchased in a red colour or grey colour.
  • Jarrah – Has a durability rating of 2 and has a beautiful deep crimson shade to it.
  • River Red Gum – Durability of 2 and is a pale cherry red colour
  • Spotted Gum – Is great to use in areas that are in a Bush Fire classified area because they have a natural fire resistance.  Like the Blackbutt it also has a durability of 2 and is Brown in colour, though you can get some fantastic variation in Spotted Gum.
  • Stringy Bark – Comes in a three key colours, Yellow Stringy Bark, White Stringy Bark and Red Stringy Bark.  All have a durability rating of 3, except the Red Stringy Bark which is currently at 2, though may be likely to move to a 3 soon.  Because it has a lower durability ask an expert in your area to confirm whether it is a suitable timber species for your deck in your area.
  • Tallow wood – Has a durability of 1 and is yellowish in color.

Australian Hardwoods - image from Aus Timber Supplies

Find your hardwood timber at DIY Bargain Bin Timber Structural, or for more information on selecting timber for Australian decking see the Deckwood Selection Guide published by Outdoor Structures and more information on the durability ratings of timber can be located at Wood Solutions – Timber – Natural Durability Ratings.


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