There is a lot to think about when planning a decking project. Perhaps the most important is the design of the decking boards. To help with this, Gripsure offers a custom design service that lets you pick each element of the board . We love working with our customers to create a truly unique product. Let’s have a look at some of the options.
Which timber should you choose for your decking?
The first choice when designing your decking is which timber to use. This gives you your base from which to design the rest of the board. The first consideration is working out how long you want your decking to last. Most decks use a treated softwood with a service life of somewhere between 15 and 25 years, depending on the pressure treatment. If you are looking for a longer lifespan you might want to consider a modified timber or a hardwood, which could mean your decking lasts for up to 60 years.
The second main consideration is the timber’s natural colour. With a softwood this colour choice is limited by the treatment options available and is generally either a brown or, more commonly, green. Hardwoods have a wider range of colouring, even within the same species of timber, giving you more options. If left to weather naturally all timbers will fade to a silver grey appearance over time.
Modified Thermowood Ash with Micro grooves and Gripsure non slip infills
How big do you need your decking boards to be?
What size do you want your decking boards to be? This will largely depend on the area you want to cover. A 150mm wide board will be quicker to install than and 125mm wide board and you will need fewer lengths to cover the same area. Thickness is also a consideration and using a thicker board will reduce the timber needed for your sub frame.
What kind of surface would you like for your decking?
Do you want a grooved or smooth finish on your board? There is a large selection of standard profiles available, however if you want something special machining we are more than happy to design a totally unique profile which can then be machined for you.
What grade of timber do you need?
Timber grading is important when you are considering the loads you will be subjecting the boards to and the distance you are looking to span. This is particularly useful for commercial decks, however can be relevant for domestic decks, especially if they are being installed at height, for example on a balcony. You can find more information on timber grading, as well as our anti-slip performance warranty, by clicking here.
How would you like your decking timber to be treated?
There is a wide range of different treatment options available to preserve your timber decking. When thinking about timber treatment you need to consider the colour and the desired service life. When most timber is treated it turns a lighter or darker shade of green, depending on the treatment. You can opt for a brown treatment if this works better with your design. Both options will weather to a silver grey if left to age naturally.
There are different classes of treatment available, each lasting a different length of time. So, for example a treatment called UC3 should last for 15 years, while UC4 has a 25 year expected life. A higher quality timber, such as UC4 is recommended if your decking will be in contact with the ground.
Gripsure ZebraDeck used in the humid tropics biome at The Eden Project
How do you want your non slip treatment to look?
At Gripsure we use aggregate to give an anti slip surface on our decking. It can also play a key role in the design of your timber boards. For example, we created ZebraDeck, which has a wavy anti slip design for the Eden Project.
You can also choose a different colour or different grade of aggregate. My colleague Ross has written about choosing aggregate here. Aggregates naturally occur in a range of different colours, but you can add a pigment to create the exact colour you want. However, the pigment will eventually wear off to leave the natural colour. When looking at aggregate grades you are basically looking at different sized granules of aggregate which have slightly different physical characteristics. When looking at a children’s play area it may be better to opt for a finer aggregate as it will be slightly less abrasive on children’s knees.
Finishing touches – oils and stains for your decking
Oils and stains can be used to alter or preserve the colour of your decking. If you want to preserve the natural colour of your decking you can apply a UV protection oil. This will prevent the board weathering as it naturally would, keeping the original colour intact for far longer than naturally possible. Beyond this there is a large selection of different stains which can be used to alter the colour of your boards. Both of these require re-application over time to continue giving you the benefits, however they provide a cost effective and easy way to alter the decking once it has been installed.