What’s the best decking? 6 questions to help you make the right choice

1. You want to buy the best decking for your garden, but how do you know what will suit your project?

You’ve decided to go for it and install a deck in your garden, but what’s the best decking to choose? There’s a lot to consider, from your budget to the look and feel you want to achieve. Here are six important questions to ask yourself so you can make the right choice and create a beautiful, practical space to enjoy all year round.

2. How will I use my deck?

It’s a good idea to start by focusing on what kind of space you want to create and how you’ll use your deck. Perhaps you’re longing for a practical space for outdoor dining, a safe area for the kids to play or a relaxing spot to sit and read.

Knowing how you plan to use your new deck could help you decide on the look you want to create. Smooth dark timber boards could be a striking surface for a smart dining area, for example, while grooved light wood decking can beautifully complement traditional planting.

Spending time planning how you’ll use your deck will also help you identify some practical considerations. For example, if you want to host family and friends on the deck, you will want to ensure it’s safe and non-slip, especially if anyone has mobility problems. Equally, to make full use of a quiet corner of your garden all year round, anti-slip decking will stay safe and accessible throughout the seasons.

3. What look do I want to achieve?

Modern or traditional? Cosy or elegant? Country cottage or tropical idyl? The aesthetic you want to achieve in your garden is a personal choice and, when it comes to decking, there are options to suit everyone’s taste.

Consider your house and any other buildings around the deck, as well as the colours in your planting scheme, to decide whether light or dark timber would work best. You could opt for smooth decking if you want a clean, sharp finish. Alternatively, you may prefer the character of grooved timber boards. The Timber Decking and Cladding Association (TDCA) has some interesting insights on smooth and grooved decking.

For a look that’s unique to your garden, you could add some graphic elements. Gripsure DeckArt allows you to incorporate an image or slogan, injecting some personality and fun into your deck.

Bear in mind that, as it is a natural project, timber decking will change colour over time. Many people like this gradual weathering. However, you can maintain and restore the colour using UV stabilisers and stains.

4. How environmentally friendly is the decking?

People are – quite rightly – increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases. When it comes to timber decking, you can look for two certifications: FSC and PEFC. These industry standards show that the timber has come from responsibly managed forests.

It’s also worth checking out the manufacturer’s environmental credentials. At Gripsure, this is something we are passionate about. That’s why we’re committed to a range of environmental sustainability initiatives, including planting a tree for every online order placed with us. We have also just been awarded ISO 14001, a prestigious internationally-recognised certification, for our commitment to environmental sustainability.

If sustainability is a priority, you may want to consider bamboo decking. Gripsure Bamboo non-slip decking is crafted from Moso bamboo, which grows much faster than other timbers and has a net carbon sink over its lifespan.

5. What's my budget?

While it’s fun to dream of the ideal garden, most of us are constrained by budget. At some point, you’ll have to decide how much you want to spend. The cost of a deck will vary considerably, depending on the size of your plot, whether you need to incorporate steps, and, of course, the type of decking you choose. And don’t forget to budget for the cost of installation if you’re hiring someone in to build your deck.

Generally, boards made from hardwoods are more expensive than softwood decking. However, on average they last longer. That means they could be a good investment, saving you money in the long run. Remember, cheap doesn’t always mean good value. Poor quality decking boards will probably need to be replaced sooner. They may also may not prove to be a good investment when you come to sell your home. On the other hand, experts say the best decking could add as much as 10 percent to the value of your property.

Check out manufacture’s reviews, as well as any guarantees and warranties before making your choice. At Gripsure, we’re so confident in the quality of our decking that it comes with a 15-year performance warranty and every product in our residential range has an expected in-service life of 15 to 20 years.

To get a quote for your deck, you’ll need to measure the size of the space so you can work out how many boards you need. We’ve created a handy decking calculator to do this for you

6. How safe is it?

Whatever your budget and chosen aesthetic and however you want to use your deck, safety should be a serious consideration. While traditional timber decking is a beautiful addition to any garden, it can become dangerously slippery in wet or icy weather. The build up of algae and leaves adds to the problem. Sadly, many people invest in a deck but then find that it’s off limits for much of the year. If you’re building a deck, you want to know you will get the most possible use out of it. Opting for non-slip decking means you can enjoy your deck all year round, whatever the weather.

The best decking for your garden will depend on many factors. Taking the time to consider these key questions will help you create a deck that’s perfect for you.

Looking for some inspiration?

Why not request a free sample of one of our decking products to help you decide what is right for you and your next project?