It’s in our nature as humans to connect with the outdoor environment, and creating a sanctuary within your own garden can be a great way to facilitate this.
Spending time outdoors in the natural environment has many benefits, such as reducing stress and improving your mood and mental well-being, not to mention the health benefits of being out in the fresh air.
Building a decked area in your back garden allows you to create a space to relax and entertain amongst the natural greenery of the garden space. But when choosing a decking material, what is the best? Most homeowners understandably want an attractive-looking deck that will stand the test of time, holding up against the elements in all weather conditions.
The Traditional Choice
Many decking projects have been constructed out of timber throughout the years, giving the ‘traditional’ decking look that we all know today. Unfortunately, there can be a number of downsides to using timber, from the longevity of the material to the constant maintenance required:
- Timber decking can become slimy and slippery in wet and cold conditions. Mould is likely to develop at certain times of the year when the temperature is optimum, which can also make the surface dangerous.
- Following extreme weather conditions, or if decking maintenance is left too long, the timber boards may warp or bow, possibly requiring replacements to solve the problem.
- In rainier seasons, timber boards are at risk of developing dark patches. This is where fungus meets wet wood, forming a black stain. This is usually a sign that the boards are heading towards rotting, which will leave the timber susceptible to splinters, and over time, damage the board beyond repair.
- UV and water damage can cause discoloration of timber boards, shortening the life span of the decking if left untreated.
All of these problems can be solved with regular maintenance, certain specialist products, and if all else fails, replacement of the affected boards. However, many people do not have the spare time, or money, to facilitate the regular maintenance required by timber decking, leading many to look for new solutions when redesigning their garden space.
What if I told you that there’s an attractive alternative for timber decking, with the same look and feel as real timber, but without any of the downsides?
The Perks of Porcelain Decking
Porcelain decking is expertly crafted to mimic the look and feel of traditional timber, whilst maintaining all of the qualities that porcelain has to offer. Say goodbye to regular maintenance and expensive care products, and say hello to more time spent enjoying your garden space.
Porcelain decking has a very low slip risk, in all weather conditions. This means that even after heavy rain, the decking boards will be much safer to walk over than traditional timber. The composition of porcelain makes it inherently strong, so there’s no risk of scratching or scuffing the boards, and they can bear a heavy load.
Porcelain has little-to-no water absorption, making the decking boards resistant to frost and ice, and able to withstand extreme fluctuations in temperature without any risk of becoming deformed. With no water being absorbed, porcelain decking cannot warp or rot, and due to the nature of its composition, there is no risk of splinters. It also runs no risk of fading or changing colour under UV exposure. Porcelain is the ideal material for outdoor applications such as garden decking, where exposure to dampness and UV are known to cause problems for real timber.
On top of these benefits, porcelain decking is classed as an A1 fire rated material – the highest rating in the classification and suitable for any kind of project. By contrast, traditional timber is very susceptible to fire, making it a safety risk in the unfortunate event of a fire breaking out. If you plan on having a barbecue or wood burner set up on your new decking, choosing porcelain will ensure you have no risk of fire if the coals spit out, and you can be confident knowing that no small burns or scuffs will occur either.
Porcelain decking also requires very little maintenance, without the need for any expensive aftercare products. When it becomes dirty, simply sweep the decking and then pressure wash it. This will only need to be done as you see fit; there is no need to maintain it in a way that increases the longevity of the deck, as you commonly need to do for timber boards.
Lee Cavalier is Decking Product Manager at Dura Composites, an award-winning manufacturer and supplier of composite decking tiles and boards.