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    What’s the best timber for decking?

    We show you how to choose your timber, and whether recycled material is the best option

    Hannah | Oneflare

    A deck is a great addition to any home. They are perfect for entertaining company, soaking up the sun, and eating al fresco when the weather is nice. But before you call your contractor, you may want to consider the kind of materials that you will be using in your renovation project. Why be wasteful and use new timber when you can reuse and repurpose recycled timber for your project. There are many benefits to using recycled timber for building your deck. Read on for more information on using recycled timber for your project.

    Timber grading

    For centuries, builders and suppliers have used grading systems to assess the quality of construction-grade timber. Today, timber grading has evolved into a complex system that’s virtually impossible for the layman to comprehend. Unless you’re an industry professional, chances are you won’t be able to identify an F14 piece of hardwood or explain how select grade is better than standard grade.

    If you’ve ever wondered how timber is graded, here are a few of the basics.

    Not all timber is created equal, there are different grades available / Source: Bridgebuilt Pty Ltd

    Grading tests

    Timber that’s destined for structural use is submitted to these two stress tests:

    • Visual: This type of test gauges the timber’s natural strength in relation to its species, and can determine the overall quality of an entire timber load by appraising the apparent defects in different lengths of wood. Timber that is unseasoned is graded from S1 to S7, and timber that is seasoned is graded from SD1 to SD8. The lowest number indicates the greatest strength.

    • Mechanical: This type of stress test gauges the overall strength and flexibility or rigidity of the timber. A high number indicates a stronger timber. With the mechanical system, timber is graded from a weak strength of F1 to a high strength of F34. For example, a less-dense timber, such as radiata pine, typically grades from F5 to F14.

    Grading for aesthetic timber

    Timber that is used for aesthetic or decorative purposes, such as hardwood flooring, is also graded before it can be marketed. Aesthetic timber is classified into three grades:

    • Character grade: Aesthetically, this is the lowest grade, and this grade of timber will be full of knots and streaks, presenting a rustic appearance.

    • Standard grade: This is a medium-grade timber, which will have some sap streaks, knots and burls; it is commonly used because of its distinctive wood grain appearance.

    • Select grade: This grade of timber has few visible knots, burls or sap streaks, and is generally smooth and even, with a uniform, straight grain.

    Aesthetic timber grading doesn’t take strength or durability into account; just appearance. For more formal areas, you’ll want to choose a select grade with a smooth wood grain. For a rustic cabin or primitive-style room, you might want to consider using a character grade.

    When purchasing a parcel of timber, be aware that not every piece has been graded or appraised. It’s a good idea to take the time to inspect as many pieces as you can for serious defects. By paying attention to the grading and making your own inspection, you’ll find the right quality timber for your construction project.

    Contact local decking experts

    Using recycled timber for decking

    There is plenty of recycled timber to choose from in a variety of different species, so there is a broad window of opportunity to use your favorite type of timber for your project. Here is a look at just some of the timber that may be available to you:

    • Ironbark
    • Tallowwood
    • Blackbutt
    • Jarrah
    • Spotted Gum

    Recycled timber is available in a variety of sizes ranging from 19mm-30mm in depth and between 60mm-260mm in width. There are also different and unique deck edging available to give your deck a unique look.

    What to consider when choosing recycled timber for decking

    If you going to go forward with recycled timber for your deck you will need to consider a few factors. These factors include:

    • Availability: Not all timber types will be available due to season, demand, and local variety. Also, keep in mind that suppliers may not have enough of a particular timber depending on the size of your project.
    • Strength and durability: You need to select a wood that can withstand the pressure of a group of people of varying sizes, as well as furniture and weather, as well. Recycled timbers that are designated for building decks are classified. Make sure you choose timber that has a 15-year guarantee.
    • Cost: A big factor that is sure to alter your decision is cost. Not all timber costs the same. Find a timber that will meet your needs and stay within your budget.
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