Decking Your New Home: Composite or Natural Timber?

When selecting decking, factors such as cost, texture, aesthetic, and environment must be taken into consideration.

Here at Brian Burke Homes we strive to ensure you understand the choices available at every stage of the home building process. And while practical considerations influence your decking choice, style also plays a part.

Being home builders of best quality dream homes with decades of experience, we recall when timber was the only option. But today’s market is different, with decking coming in a diverse range of choices, across various price points.

exterior backyard view of luxury home looking over wooden decking to the grass and bush

Why composite?

Composite is created from combined wood fibres and plastics. Composite generally has a more uniform surface than timber, but dependant on your budget can more closely mimic the appearance of wood.

Being very low maintenance and enduring is part of the appeal of composite decking. You can also choose composite options with additional protection against sunlight/UV, to increase fade resistance.

Composite lasts for decades, and won’t warp or splinter. This decking option is relatively easy to maintain. No need for the staining, oiling, resealing and so forth recommended with timber decking.

Keep in mind…

Unlike timber, you won’t be able to change the appearance of composite over the years. The colour is set, and cannot be stained. Composite decking must be washed properly over time, to avoid mould.

In extreme heat, some composite proves uncomfortable to walk on. Double-check your composite materials are created from waste and recyclables, for an environmentally aware home build investment.

Why natural timber?

Natural timber maintains its popularity as a decking surface largely due to the beauty of its appearance. The colours and eye-catching inconsistencies within the wood make for beautiful and unique decking.

A number of hardwood timbers are used in decking, and some softwoods, but choice is impacted by the amount of sunlight directly on the decks, cost, and aesthetic preference for lighter or darker wood.

Walking on timber decking during the West Australian summer is not an issue. Timber is also a renewable resource, making it an environmentally conscious choice, if materials are sourced ethically.

Keep in mind…

Timber decking requires maintenance, such as oiling, to stay in peak condition. Wood also naturally changes colour over the years. Over time, timber decking may splinter or warp and crack, especially if neglected.

With timber, the level of care greatly impacts long-term performance. You can sand and reseal over the years. But there is also the possibility you may at some stage need to replace a board here and there.

Decking finishes

While composite doesn’t require finishing, timber decking is a different story. Wood that is unprotected can suffer in the West Australian weather. The main decision is whether to stain or oil the decking.

An oil soaks in and protects against water and mould. Staining seals the surface, and provides great protection. Both have pros and cons. The aesthetic impact of the chosen oil or stain is also a factor.

What about cost?

Timber is generally cheaper upfront, but does require more time and maintenance as the years roll on. Be aware cheaper composite looks less natural, and cheaper timber decking is more likely to splinter and warp. You get what you pay for, so be wary if the price seems too good to be true.

Have you considered timber look tiles?

Aside from composite and natural decking options, timber look tiles are also popular in West Australian builds. They last well, especially in areas with heavy foot traffic. Just be aware they can become hot in harsh summer weather.

The good news is, a tiling option means you won’t face the care requirements wood demands, and pest control is no longer a concern. Best of all, they won’t fade, and are a cost-effective choice.

We can discuss the pros and cons with you

When it comes to WA luxury homes, Brian Burke Homes is proud of our reputation as the state’s best luxury home builders. Our specialists can talk through the options to help determine the best fit for your vision, budget, and lifestyle.

Exterior view of luxury home with large pool area showing us of composite wood decking around pool