Choosing Natural Decking Materials: Timber Vs Bamboo

In the UK, the trend of enhancing outdoor spaces through decking projects is on the rise. The debate between traditional timber and contemporary bamboo is relevant as ever. This analysis will guide you in choosing between hardwood, softwood, and bamboo. We will show you a strong focus on the differences and nuances between these materials.

In 2005, Mike and Ross founded Gripsure to tackle wet weather challenges in Cornwall. They introduced non-slip decking boards, and today, Gripsure is a leading European brand. Unsure of the right provider for your decking? Choose Gripsure today as a safe and durable choice. Contact us now for expert advice on your project.

 

Hardwood Timber vs Bamboo

The Charm and Resilience of Hardwood Timber

Hardwood timber has a long history in garden design. People value it because it is strong and visually appealing. Varieties like oak, teak, and iroko dominate the market, each offering unique qualities.

  • Durability: Hardwoods resist damage and wear due to their dense structure. This makes them ideal for high-traffic areas.
  • Design: Hardwoods have diverse grain patterns and hues that enhance designs. They work well with both traditional and contemporary styles.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Regular maintenance, including sealing and staining, is essential for longevity.
  • Cost Implications: Hardwoods are often more expensive, reflecting their durability and aesthetic value.

Bamboo: The Eco-Friendly Contender

Bamboo’s popularity as a decking material is due to its sustainability. It is also chosen for its modern appeal:

  • Sustainability: Bamboo is a fast-growing grass, making it a sustainable resource. It offers an eco-friendly option instead of slow-growing hardwoods.
  • Strength and Durability: Advancements in bamboo processing have made it as strong as hardwoods. This makes it suitable for decking due to its durability.
  • Maintenance Ease: Bamboo decking requires less intensive upkeep, often just regular cleaning.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Bamboo’s longevity and low maintenance make it cost-effective over time. Though the initial costs can be high, the benefits outweigh them.

Softwood Timber vs Bamboo

Softwood Timber: The Price-Friendly Option

Softwood timber, like pine and spruce, is affordable for decking in the UK.

  • Affordability: Softwoods are generally cheaper than hardwoods, making them accessible for various budgets.
  • Treatment and Maintenance: To enhance durability, softwoods need treatment against rot and pests.
  • Lifespan and Performance: Treated softwoods have a decent lifespan but don’t last as long as hardwoods and bamboo.
  • Aesthetic Versatility: Softwoods have aesthetic versatility with a range of finishes. They can be painted or stained to suit design preferences.

Bamboo: Uniformity and Eco-Friendly Appeal

Bamboo’s uniform structure contrasts with the natural variability of softwoods.

  • Quality Consistency: Bamboo provides a uniform quality, reducing the occurrence of weak spots.
  • Environmental Benefits: Bamboo is still eco-friendly, with minimal pollution and high renewal.
  • Modern Aesthetics: Its sleek, contemporary look is well-suited for modern garden designs.
  • Resilience: Bamboo is more resilient against moisture and temperature changes than softwoods.

In-Depth Considerations for Your Decking Project

Understanding Your Surroundings

When picking materials for your deck, think about the weather in your area. Bamboo does well in various climates. It’s good at handling moisture and temperature changes, so it doesn’t need much upkeep.

However, regular wood might need extra care in tough weather. This includes treatments to stop it from bending or rotting. If you choose a material that suits your local weather, your deck will last longer and look better. It’ll also handle local weather problems better, with less work needed to maintain it.

Costs Now and in the Future

It’s important to balance the initial cost of your decking with its long-term value. Softwood decks might be cheaper to start with, but they can cost more to maintain as time goes on.

Bamboo might cost more at first, but it’s a better value over time. Its strength and low upkeep mean you’ll spend less in the long run. Think about both the costs right now and in the future to make a smart, budget-friendly choice.

Matching Your Style

Your deck should look good with your house and garden. Hardwood is classically beautiful – perfect for traditional styles. Softwood is flexible in looks and can be easily changed with paint or stain. Bamboo has a modern, clean appearance and is great for up-to-date outdoor areas.

Think about how each option fits with the style of your home. You want your outdoor space to be unified and appealing.

Eco-Friendly Choices

Choosing sustainable materials is very important. Bamboo grows fast and can be replaced easily, so it’s kind to the environment. It’s better for the planet than hardwoods, which grow slowly, and softwoods.

Picking bamboo for your decking helps the environment. It fits with green living and lowers your environmental impact.

Setting Up and Looking After Your Deck

Think about how easy it is to install and maintain your deck. Bamboo decking is simple to put in place and doesn’t need much care. This is because it naturally fights off bugs and moisture, so you don’t have to treat it often.

On the other hand, wooden decks need more effort to set up and keep in good condition. Choosing bamboo can save you time and work in both putting it in and looking after it long-term.

Conclusion

Selecting the perfect decking material requires considering aesthetics, functionality, sustainability, and budget. Timber appeals to various preferences and needs, offering traditional charm and reliability. Bamboo stands out for its environmental credentials. It also has a modern appeal and resilience. When considering your needs and preferences, weigh these factors first. This way, you can choose a material that enhances your outdoor space and aligns with your values and lifestyle.

Incorporate Gripsure into your project today and experience the difference for yourself. Our non-slip decking solutions provide top safety and durability. Contact us today to get started!

 

Related articles:

UK timber shortage: can I still get decking for my garden?

Gripsure celebrates double ISO accreditation for quality and environmental sustainability

Alternative decking solution from Gripsure made with innovative Accoya wood

Gripsure performance warranty and strength graded decking

Slippery Decking Day 2023: when are decks most dangerous?

We have named Sunday 29th January ‘Slippery Decking Day 2023’. That’s because this is when all the contributing factors are aligned, putting us at the greatest risk of an accident as decking in the UK reaches ‘peak slipperiness’.

Traditional timber and composite decking boards become dangerously slippery when wet or icy and as the result of the build-up of algae and leaves. We have pinpointed the last Sunday in January as the day when ordinary decking is potentially at its most treacherous.

January is the wettest month of the year, with ice more likely as average temperatures drop towards the end of the month. Mean monthly evaporation is at its lowest, causing decking to stay wet for longer. Algae is also most likely to be prevalent during the winter and after a wet spell, while fallen leaves are decomposing and becoming slippery.

Short daylight hours add to the risk and, with people more likely to venture into their gardens at the weekend, this increases the likelihood of accidents.

Gripsure Managing Director Mike Nicholson said: “Despite its many benefits, traditional decking has one major disadvantage: it becomes dangerously slippery when it’s wet. And that’s a big problem, particularly here in the UK where it can make a garden a no-go area for much of the year.

It’s fair to say that at Gripsure we’re obsessed with the slipperiness of decking. We understand the combination of factors that can make decking dangerous because it’s what we’ve been tackling for more than a decade. We’re not only committed to increasing safety, we also want people to make the most of their outdoor spaces throughout the seasons.

Our team of decking experts has assessed all the risk factors and the combination of wet, cold weather, damp conditions and rotting leaves and algae creates a perfect storm. We believe Sunday 29th January is the day in 2022 when decking will reach peak slipperiness, putting people at risk of accidents.

While we created Slippery Decking Day as a light-hearted event, it does have a serious message and we want to highlight the dangers. We hope Slippery Decking Day will make people think about changes they can make to safely enjoy their gardens all year round.

The slip ratings of surfaces, including decking, are measured using the Pendulum Test Value (PTV), with a rating of more than 36 being regarded as ‘low slip’. Crafted from sustainable timber and aggregate inserts, all Gripsure decking achieves a minimum value of PTV 85, which is classed as ‘very low slip’, and exceeds the British Standard for slip resistance.

Gripsure has experienced a surge in demand from homeowners during the pandemic. We are also proud to have provided our non-slip decking to high profile customers, including Kew Gardens, the Eden Project, Center Parcs and the University of Cambridge.

#SlipperyDeckingDay2023

Bamboo decking: the sustainable non-slip choice for your garden

If you’re looking to make garden improvements that aren’t at the expense of the world’s forests, bamboo decking is the answer.

Bamboo decking is a great, sustainable choice for your garden. It’s got just as many qualities as both softwood and hardwood decking. More people are looking to make sustainable choices as they consider their impact on the planet. You don’t need to settle for composite decking and suffer in slippery silence. If you’re looking to make improvements that aren’t at the expense of the world’s forests, bamboo decking is the answer.

But what exactly is it about bamboo that makes it so good for garden decking?

Just how sustainable is it?

Technically, bamboo is not a tree. It’s a type of grass. There are over 1600 different types of it on the planet. These can often be found in tropical, sub-tropical and mild climates. Depending on the variety, bamboo is native to Asia, Africa, South America, and parts of Australia. Just like hardwood and softwood, there are different ways you can categorise bamboo with each having its own traits.

Bamboo is also renowned for its incredible rate of growth. The Moso species of bamboo, for example, can grow up to one metre every day. Native to Asia, it can reach a maximum growth height of up to 20 metres.
Compared to most trees, bamboo can also release 35% more oxygen and absorb five times more CO2. This can help to offset the carbon output of the world to reduce the effects of climate change.

Moso bamboo has an underground system of roots that can connect a whole host of other bamboo plants. When one strand of bamboo is cut down, it will quickly grow back on its own. This reduces the demand on the farmers as its fast replenishing not fast depleting.

Bamboo is also naturally pest-resistant thanks to its tough outer layer which means there is no need to use harmful chemical pesticides.

Moso bamboo decking

Whilst bamboo doesn’t look as robust as a typical hardwood tree, it actually has a strength level higher than steel. This durable, strong material sees uses within the construction industry and is often used to make floors, furniture and even helmets.

Aside from that, it can be eaten, turned into clothing, used for your garden decking and more. Whilst hardwoods typically take 50 years to mature, Moso bamboo matures in just four to five.

Look at it like this. Bamboo decking has an expected service life of between 30 and 50 years. During this lifetime, the same bamboo used to make your decking has already regrown itself five-plus times.

Whilst the cost of bamboo decking is higher than both softwood and hardwood decking, it’s more durable, it lasts longer and it’s kinder to the planet. It has all of the elements and aesthetics of hardwood. One just comes from a tree and the other from grass.

If you’re looking for a long-term, sustainable decking solution for your garden, then bamboo is worth the investment.

MOSO® Bamboo with Gripsure

MOSO® are a global brand supplier of both interior and exterior bamboo products. Their decking takes the bamboo and puts it through a process of Thermo-Density®. This increases the density and hardness significantly. By this point, the bamboo has all the same qualities as hardwood decking. This makes it an ideal solution to finding the most sustainable decking.

With the addition of Gripsure’s non-slip inserts it also becomes safe non-slip decking allowing you to enjoy your garden all year round.

MOSO® are also focused on sustainability and so all their bamboo products are CO2 negative throughout their lifespan. This makes them a great sustainable decking alternative to tropical hardwoods and composite products.

This decking has a long life span and requires little upkeep. It will start with a dark brown look that can be maintained with oil or you can let it turn to a rich silver grey. The surface can be smooth or grooved with no visible fastening points making for a streamlined look. MOSO® Bamboo non slip decking is also extremely stable so won’t shrink, swell, warp or split.

If you’re conscious of leading a zero-waste lifestyle, bamboo in the wild can naturally be broken down and left to decompose. So, once your decking reaches the end of its lifespan, it is easily recycled. It can be turned into chipboard or burnt to generate energy. This contributes towards the production of green electricity—all thanks to your well-loved garden decking.

At Gripsure we are all for responsible forestry, so our bamboo products are FSC® certified. Whilst bamboo’s fast-growing nature doesn’t cause forest depletion, we certify our bamboo decking nonetheless.

Browse our bamboo

As exclusive distributors of MOSO® Bamboo decking, Gripsure is confident in its benefits towards sustainability. This highly stable decking is durable, safe, and fire-resistant. MOSO® also has a 25-year warranty on its outdoor decking. So, you can relax in your garden knowing you made a sustainable decision to enjoy for years to come. Browse our bamboo decking range or get in touch with us today.

3 minute read: our quick guide to choosing timber

Decking comes in a wide range of timbers and it is important to pick the right one for your decking project. This decision is one best made early as timbers not only dictate the finished appearance of the deck but have differing properties that will have an impact on where they can be used.

The first big decision when choosing the timber is whether you want to use a hardwood or a softwood. There are several important differences between the two that you should consider when planning your project:

Lifespan

All softwoods will be pressure treated to protect the timber from rot and decay and will generally come with an in-service life expectation of between fifteen and thirty years. Hardwoods are far more durable and can come with a life expectancy in excess of fifty years depending on the species. Hardwoods do not require any form of pressure treatment.

Appearance

Due to the treatment process softwoods will originally have a green or brown tinge to them which will fade to a silver-grey over time with exposure to the elements. This same process happens with hardwoods however the original colouring has a larger range owing to the multitude of different species available and the lack of treatment. It is also possible to apply a UV protection oil to maintain the colour of the boards if you prefer this.

Availability

Most merchants will stock a range of softwood decking which will usually include at least one anti-slip option, however, hardwoods tend to be supplied by a more select group of companies or as special orders. Generally, softwoods are available in a wider length range than hardwoods, particularly towards the longer end of the spectrum.

Structure

When planning your substructure it is important to make sure that the thickness of the decking you are using will be enough to span the joists you are using. The main difference between the two types of timber here is that hardwoods are stronger so a thinner section can span the same distance as a much thicker section of softwood.

Specialist uses

Certain species of hardwood are classed as marine timbers, these are particularly durable and last far longer when in contact with water. This makes these timbers particularly good when decking is being installed into particularly wet areas such as pontoons or fishing platforms.

Certification

Softwoods will generally come with either an FSC or PEFC certification meaning that the timber has been sourced from a sustainably managed forest. Both of these certifications are available with hardwoods as well, however, depending on the species you are looking at it may be harder to source and therefore increase the cost you will have to pay.

Cost

Softwoods will generally be cheaper than their hardwood equivalents due to many of the factors discussed above. When comparing hardwoods you will find a varied range of pricing depending on the rarity of the species, for example, Yellow Balau would come in at the lower end as it is readily available compared to something like Ipe which is much more scarce.

In conclusion, it is important to consider what you want from your decking at an early stage and consider the factors above when thinking about what type of timber you would like to use for the project. This will ensure you get the appropriate product for your project and budget accordingly.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with one of our friendly team.

Alternative decking solution from Gripsure made with innovative Accoya wood

Accoya wood is made from sustainably grown pine that is modified by acetylation. This is a permanent modification from the surface of the timber board right through to the core. The modification improves the timber's durability stability and in-service life. Classified within BS EN 350-2 Class 1 as very durable.

Leading non-slip decking manufacturer, Gripsure – with over 30-years of experience in resin and aggregate coated surfaces – have expanded their product range to include decking made from Accoya® modified timber.

Founded in 2005, Gripsure has invested in their manufacturing facilities, and developed their range of non-slip decking products, to offer a solution for any application. Having gained second tier distributor status, Gripsure now offers a contemporary decking board made from Accoya. Featuring two non-slip aggregate infills, Gripsure non-slip decking made with Accoya is suited for projects where longevity and safety are paramount.

Accoya wood is made from sustainably grown pine that is modified by acetylation. This is a permanent modification from the surface of the timber board right through to the core. The modification improves the timber’s durability stability and in-service life. Classified within BS EN 350-2 Class 1 as very durable.

With its 50-year above ground and 25-year in ground/freshwater guarantee, Accoya wood is a natural fit for the Gripsure brand committed to delivering quality products that stand the test of time. The Accoya process ensures consumers get the very best results from their decking.

Gripsure decking made with Accoya wood comes with a 15-year non-slip guarantee, so when it comes to eliminating the risk of accidents, you can rely on Gripsure to outperform other products – guaranteed.

Order a free sample

Nothing beats seeing and feeling Gripsure decking for real, and Gripsure Accoya is certainly no exception. Order a free sample today and get inspired for your next landscaping project.

Do I need structurally graded timber for deck boards?

From time to time, we get asked to provide our deck boards structurally graded to C16 or C24. This is something we can offer our clients on request, but is this really necessary for timber deck boards? In this blog piece, we explore how softwood boards are appearance graded at source and discuss how the structural grading rules cannot be applied to deck boards due to the application of the timber.

Appearance grading

The majority of softwood deck boards in the UK is manufactured from European Redwood trees grown in the forests of Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic States. This is because the cold climate and short growing season in these countries is ideal for producing a high-quality, strong and close grain timber. With timber being a natural product there are variances between each board due to a number of different parameters which include live knots, dead knots, checks, wane, cross grain, compression, fungal attack, discolouration, and dimensional deviances. These different parameters will affect the quality and suitability of the timber.

Qualified and experienced graders working at the mills will grade the timber by checking and measuring the different parameters against the defined rules within the Swedish appearance grading standard for softwood – SS EN 1611-1. The timber is then sorted into groups (or grades) of broadly the same quality of timber which allows the end user and companies such as Gripsure to choose a grade suitable for the application in which the timber will be used. Grades I to IV (the higher grades) are sold together and tend to be used for internal joinery products where knot content and size of knots need to be minimised. The most common grade for deck boards is the Scandinavian V grade but the VI grade is sometimes offered as an economy option by some merchants and manufacturers.

Structural grading

The appearance grades which are commonplace within the decking industry are different to the structural strength grades and classes. Structurally graded timber is required for certain applications to ensure the timber is strong enough for the load being placed on it. Products which require structural grading include roofing rafters, floor joists, wall plates and stud work for partitions walls where it is crucial that the timber being used is suitable for its application.

The load bearing capabilities of a piece of timber is dependent on its dimensions, species and spans being used in the construction. Timber is graded against structural grading rules that limits strength reducing factors such as knot size, position of knots, rate of growth, sloping grain, fissures and fungal attack. The timber is passed through a machine or more commonly examined by trained graders who visually assess the timber against the structural grading rules which specify acceptable limits (EN 14081-1 which is supported by BS 4978 (softwoods) and BS 5756 (hardwoods)). This process produces two strength grades – GS (General Structural) or SS (Special Structural). These strength grades can then be used to sort timber into strength classes (most commonly C16 or C24) which contain timber from different species and strength grades as per BS EN 338.

Each piece of structurally graded timber is stamped which displays information about the method of grading, strength grade, strength class, the graders license number, certification body, company reference, species, standard reference and condition of timber (moisture content at time of grading). Structurally graded timber must be clearly marked to show that it complies with the correct standards and strength requirements as set out in the building codes and regulations.

Can structural grading rules be applied to timber used for deck boards?

The TDCA (Timber Decking & Cladding Association) who are an independent technical and advisory body state that there are no established structural grading rules for timber deck boards. Structurally graded timber against EN 14081-1 is designed for rectangular timbers used on edge. The structural grading rules cannot be applied to timbers which are used flatwise. Therefore, the strength classes of structurally graded timber (C16 and C24) are irrelevant when the timber is being used for timber decking as the rules cannot be applied to that application.

A simple analogy is that in the same way an internal floor joist is structurally graded (most commonly to C16) and the internal floor board used upon it is not structurally graded, an external decking joist is structurally graded (most commonly to C16) and the external deck board used upon it is not structurally graded. Both the internal floor joist and the external decking joist are used on their edge so the strength class can be applied to that application (as per EN 1408-1). The boards themselves are used flatwise so the structural grading rules cannot be applied.

It is understandable that we receive a handful of enquiries for structurally graded deck boards, as C16 and C24 graded timber is prevalent for many timber products. With the lack of easy to digest and clear information it is easy to believe that you need your deck boards structurally graded too.

What should I look out for?

If you are looking to use a treated softwood deck board, here at Gripsure we would recommend choosing a product which is:

  1. Scandinavian V grade European Redwood which has been appearance graded against SS EN 1611-1
  2. FSC or PEFC accredited timber to ensure that the timber is responsibly sourced and the forests are well managed and sustainable
  3. DeckMark Plus accredited manufacturer – Manufacturers who are annually audited and approved by the TDCA (Timber Decking & Cladding Association)
  4. Boards which are treated to the right treatment classification for the specific environment the boards will be used in to ensure longevity
  5. Boards which contain non-slip inserts with an initial PTV rating of 65 or above (extremely low slip potential) to mitigate the risk of personal injury in wet and slippery conditions
  6. In addition to the deck boards we would recommend that the timber used for the sub-structure is structurally graded as this will give the deck it’s strength. The TDCA have calculated recommended joist centres in two span tables based on a domestic and commercial application which takes into consideration the size, profile and species of timber as well as the point and live loads placed onto the deck structure (as per BS EN 1991-1-1). We recommend following their recommended joist centre spans to ensure the deck isn’t springy under foot which can be caused if the joist centres are too far apart.

    It is also important that the correct fixings and an experienced and competent installer is used to ensure the deck will pass the test of time. If any cuts are made to treated softwood boards, ensele must be used to seal the treatment to avoid premature failure.

Get in touch

We hope this blog piece clears up some of the grey areas around why the structural grading rules cannot be applied to deck boards. It is more important to focus on other factors such as treatment classification, appearance grade and slip potential when choosing a softwood deck board. If you would like to discuss any aspect of the blog further, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team.

Which type of wood is best for timber decking?

The most common material used for decking is a pressure-treated softwood as it is readily available and cost-effective. Builders’ merchants will generally stock at least one softwood decking board with some now stocking an anti-slip version as well. While softwood is the most common option there are alternatives on the market, which may be better for your project.

Hardwood

The main advantage that hardwood holds over softwood is its longevity. While most softwood timber decking boards have up to a 15-year in service life expectancy, hardwoods such as Yellow Balau can be expected to last for up to 50 years, and in some cases longer. They are far more durable and hard-wearing than softwood products, so consequently come at a larger cost.

Hardwood timber is generally considered higher quality than softwood. It’s more colourful and natural timber appearance makes it very popular for decking. The cost of hardwood varies significantly depending on the species, profile size and timber certification you are looking for, but as a very rough rule of thumb, you will be looking at around three or four times the price of softwood.

Requiring minimal maintenance and well suited to a wide variety of projects, hardwood decking is an investment to seriously consider for your decking.

ThermoWood

ThermoWood is available in a variety of timbers, including ThermoPine (softwood), ThermoIroko and ThermoAsh (hardwoods). The process of creating ThermoWood involves heating the timber in a low oxygen environment to alter its chemical structure and increase its durability. This is particularly effective for softwoods and can be a more environmentally friendly way to increase the life expectancy than using a chemical treatment.

The thermal process also increases the stability of a decking board. Invisible fixing systems can be used on the ends and sides of the board as the board will expand and contract less than normal. The biggest downside of using a heat treatment is its effect on the strength of the board. Some estimates suggest thermal treating reduces the overall strength of the board by 30%. The price of ThermoWoods varies depending on the species and sizes, but the costs are often comparable or slightly higher than hardwoods.

Accoya®

Accoya® is produced from fast-growing and sustainably sourced timber which undergoes a chemical process to modify the timber completely. The resulting timber is incredibly stable and comes with a life expectancy of 50 years when installed above contact with the ground and an amazing 25 years when installed in freshwater or in direct contact with the ground. In addition, the timber is virtually rot proof so can be used in virtually any environment. Currently, Accoya is available in a limited selection of lengths and comes in at a high market price, however for the investment you get a phenomenally stable and long lasting timber.

Medite® Tricoya®

Medite Tricoya is produced using wood fibres that have undergone the same chemical treatment as Accoya. This creates a panel product which is extremely stable and durable with a 60-year expected life cycle. As with Accoya, Medite can be in water contact with very few negative effects. The biggest downside of using the wood fibre is that the panels are susceptible to abrasion when walked on. Anti-slip coatings are recommended to give you an incredibly safe and hard-wearing product fit for a wide range of environments. Panels can be machined to smaller lengths or supplied as full panels to suit the area you are working with. This makes Medite truly is a flexible option when considering decking. As with Accoya, the cost of Medite will be towards the top end of the spectrum.

As you can hopefully see there are plenty of options to consider when deciding which timber to choose for your decking. You will need to consider the budget, site considerations such as wet or shaded areas and the appearance of the timber you are looking for.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with one of our friendly team.

Should I use composite decking in my garden?

You know you would like to invest in new decking for your garden but which should you go for: composite or timber decking? There are a number of differences between them, from the material used to how safe they are to walk on when wet.

Composite vs timber

So what is the difference? Composite decking is usually composed of wood from sawdust mixed with plastic and moulded to resemble a deck board. The Timber Decking and Cladding Association (TDCA) has received a number of reports of poor composite performance, though these appear to be limited to a particular type of ‘cheaper’ hollow form board. Concerns have also been raised about new decking boards being fitted over existing substructures which are often unsuitable for wood plastic composite. Manufacturing composite decking is complex, so results will vary. If you decide to go ahead and use composite decking, make sure you are going for the best product you can find.

Timber decking is made from a solid, natural, renewable product: wood. Gripsure non-slip decking is made using high-quality, commercial-grade Redwood timber. And this is just the first of many differences:

Safety

One of the most important differences is that composite becomes slippery when wet whereas Gripsure anti-slip timber does not. Our innovative decking includes a non-slip treatment. This means they stay safe even when the decking is covered with surface water, algae, fallen leaves or even ice. All our products are independently tested with Gripsure also offering a 15-year non-slip guarantee, giving you peace of mind that your family are safe from the risk of accidents in poor weather.

Value for money

Many people assume that composite decking will be cheaper than solid timber decking. In fact, to get a reasonable quality composite decking you would need to pay about the same as for a hardwood timber deck. Cheaper composite options are likely to be very poor quality and are unlikely to last, so would not be good value in the long run. If you are on a budget, a softwood timber decking would be a better choice than a cheaper composite. If you have a bigger budget, you could get hardwood timber decking for the same price as the most expensive composite.

Long-lasting look and structure

Many people go for composite decking as they believe it will be a low-maintenance addition to their outdoor space. You may be surprised to hear that this wood and plastic blend needs more regular pressure washing than timber. We recommend a pressure wash to our catalogue of Gripsure products every 12 months. With composite, moisture can seep through the outer plastic layer down to the wood fibre causing it to swell, which over time can lead to holes forming in the surface of the boards. In comparison timber swells much less, reducing any structural damage that might occur. If you are determined to go for composite, do your homework and make sure you are confident you are getting the best decking you can find. We would always recommend timber as the best option for any garden. If you want safety without compromise, value for money and stunning decking in your outdoor space, then anti-slip timber is the answer.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with on of our friendly team.

Gripsure performance warranty and strength graded decking

Gripsure introduces a revolutionary performance warranty for their non-slip decking range.

What is a performance warranty?

Gripsure have introduced a revolutionary performance warranty for their non-slip decking range. You can now be assured your decking will retain its non-slip performance for 15 years, guaranteeing you complete peace of mind. No other company offers this level of performance warranty.

Some decking products will give you an initial slip resistance i.e. what they achieve on day one, before they are even laid. But at Gripsure we think this is irrelevant. Having invested in our product, we think you should have peace of mind for the future. What you really need to know is “how long will my decking remain non slip and to what extent?”

The aim of this warranty is to ensure that our customers have a clear understanding of how well the decking will perform, and what that means in practice.

Find out more about our performance warranty

How is anti-slip measured?

There is a British Standard (BS7976) that uses a pendulum test to measure the slip resistance of a pedestrian surface (pendulum test value – PTV).

The UK Slip Resistance Group have then taken these figures and issued a guideline as how these results are practically interpreted i.e. how safe is a decking board when it achieves a certain PTV rating. A value greater than 65 is defined as an “extremely low” potential for a slip.

PTV range Potential for slip
0-24 High
25-34 Moderate
35-64 Low
65+ Extremely low

What is strength grading?

Timber is a natural product and as such is inherently variable, not only in terms of appearance but also strength. Grading is used to give a basic indication of the strength of individual pieces of timber and allows for the selection of the appropriate strength grade for expected loads.

How is timber graded?

Timber can be graded mechanically or visually depending on what the material is used for, in the case of decking it is done visually. Graders look for structural issues within the timber, for example size and location of knots, twists, splits, twists and shakes. From this the decking boards will be labelled as Ungraded, C16 or C24, depending on the quality of the board.

Why should I choose graded decking?

Graded deck boards have several advantages when planning a project. Firstly higher grades are capable of handling higher uniformly distributed and point loads with minimum deflection or movement of the boards. Secondly, wider joist centres can be used for graded timbers which can aid in the design of the deck and also reduce the cost of the subframe. Alternatively, a thinner board could be used on the original centres, again reducing the cost of the project.

Graded deck boards have several advantages when planning a project. Firstly higher grades are capable of handling higher uniformly distributed and point loads with minimum deflection or movement of the boards. Secondly, wider joist centres can be used for graded timbers which can aid in the design of the deck and also reduce the cost of the subframe. Alternatively, a thinner board could be used on the original centres, again reducing the cost of the project.

Some good examples of projects benefitting from graded boards:

  • Raised Walkways and Bridges: Graded boards allow for wider joist centres to be used which reduces installation time and subframe costs.
  • Balconies: Thinner boards and wider joists reduce the weight of the decking when securing the balcony to the building, as well as giving you flexibility in matching up with threshold heights.
  • Commercial Spaces: Wider spans can be used without fear of the boards deflecting and causing trip hazards, keeping costs lower whilst ensuring health and safety requirements are met.

Timber treatments

Most softwood timber products should be supplied pressure-treated to give the product the longest possible ‘in service’ life, but what does this mean?

What is pressure treatment?

Pressure treatment is essentially the process of impregnating timber with a chemical preservative designed to protect the timber against fungal attack, rot and decay. These preservatives can be categorised into three broad groups: water-borne, oil borne and light organic solvent, however the application process is generally the same for each as outlined in the diagram below:

Use classes

Pressure treated timbers are split into several different ‘classes’ which are created by using a different solution strength during the treatment cycle. It is important to make sure you pick the correct class for your specific requirements to ensure long lasting performance. As a very brief overview the main classes are:

Class type Class description
Use Class 1 Internal timbers that will permanently be dry
Use Class 2 Class description
Use Class 3 External timbers used above ground and exposed to the weather
Use Class 4 External timbers in direct contact with the ground and/or fresh water

Depending on the class you select you will have a different projected ‘in service life’, this basically means the expected life-span of the timber if it is installed correctly. For example, most decking will be treated to Use Class 3 and come with a 15-year in-service-life.

Colour

Pressure treatment will generally leave the timber with a green or brown colouring depending on the specific chemical being applied, however over time the timber with weather to a silver/grey appearance regardless of its original colouring or treatment. This means that any timber used, regardless of whether you use multiple treatment systems will eventually be indistinguishable.

End grain preservative

The chemical preservative will only penetrate the top layers of the timber, meaning there is a section in the centre of any board that won’t be impregnated. This is absolutely fine if you are installing the timber without any cutting or drilling, however if you do intend to break the treated timber it is essential to apply an end grain preservative to keep the treatment ‘sealed’.

Environmental impact

The chemical compounds used in pressure treated timber are constantly being developed to ensure they are safe for both the users and the environment around them.

References:
https://www.selwood.com/climbing-frames/why-not-pine.html
http://www.tanalisedtimber.co.uk/using-tanalised-timber/use-class-information
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_preservation

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If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with one of our friendly team.