What is the Best Timber to Use When Building a Deck?

What is the Best Timber to Use When Building a Deck?
Posted: Nov 25, 2015
Comments: 2

Compare 6 of the best types of wood for building a deck!

Footy season has come to an end. The weather is warming up and your weekends are looking quite empty (apart from when the cricket is on of course!). This is the time to do those little jobs around the yard and get into DIY projects before it gets too hot. For those of us looking to make a little bit better use of their time and roll up the sleeves, construction is the answer.

Which great Australian backyard doesn’t have a generous deck? BBQ outside, fridge just behind the door, and a decent sized table and chair set will make your house the center of attention this summer. Natural timbers look great and are a good place to start when deciding which wood to use, so checkout the below six most popular!

Jarrah - For a premium looking product


Jarrah is an Australian native wood and has many advantages. It’s main points are that it’s durable and can be used in BAL29 applications, making it a suitable choice for some fire prone areas in Australia. Jarrah also is popular for its beautiful colour which can range from light wooden hues to very dark browns and reds. Jarrah is one of the more expensive options when it comes to decking, but anyone wanting a premium deck can’t go past it.

Spotted Gum - The more environmentally friendly option


Another native, Spotted Gum is also very durable and can be used in BAL29 applications. Because it’s a dense timber, it doesn’t shrink much compared with other timbers which makes it an ideal choice for building a deck. If you’re looking for a more environmentally sustainable option, Spotted Gum is often plantation grown. It’s an aesthetically pleasing wood, with colour ranging from pale to chocolate browns.

Blackbutt - The strong, versatile and durable option


Blackbutt (like Spotted Gum and Jarrah) is a strong, durable hardwood which is able to be used in BAL29 applications.  The main advantage of Blackbutt is it’s even texture which means that the grain can be interlocked (but is generally straight) making it an ideal choice for flooring and decks.

It’s colour ranges from golden yellow to pale brown and should always be sealed.

Merbau – The ultimate performer

Imported (from South East Asia)

Merbau is one of the most popular building timbers because of its natural beauty, strength, durability and it can be used in BAL29 applications making it a great option for your deck. It’s very durable like the timbers listed above and also has the added feature of being rot and insect resilient. Available is a variety of widths and even finger jointed It’s colour is an orange-brown when young which matures into a darker reddish-brown.

Ironbark - For the deck that keeps-on-keeping-on


This extremely high density timber can be difficult to work with because of its strength, but if you want a deck that will last - this is the wood for you. Additionally if you’re looking to build in wet areas (such as a pool deck) Ironbark is a great choice as it’s, rot and termite resistant.

The colour of ironbark ranges from pale brown to deep red.

Treated Pine – The most economic option

Can be native or imported

Treated pine has become one of the most popular choices for decking in Australia for one simple reason, it’s low cost. Whilst not as naturally attractive as some of the other timbers listed above, pine can be stained or painted so that you can have any colour deck that you wish. There are 2 grades in treated pine decking, the standard grade with some defect such as knots that add some character, this is the most economical option. Also thre is a premium grade for the quality conscious deck builder, this product is popular for its clear appearance and is generally knot and defect free, stain it up in a dark stain for the Hardwood look at a much cheaper price.

Always check the ‘H’ (Hazard) rating to ensure that it’s suitable for outdoor use. A good decking supplier will be able to advise you on making sure the ‘H’ rating is right for your job! 

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2 comments on article "What is the Best Timber to Use When Building a Deck?"


Annie Frances, 6/29/2016 4:54 AM

I didn't know there were so many decking timber options. I like the affordability of treated pine, but I also like the color of merbau. I'll call a company this week and ask what kind of timber would be best for my deck. Thanks for the info!


Braden Bills, 8/30/2016 10:29 PM

I'm trying to decide what kind of deck to use for my home. I didn't know that you could use something like spotted gum, which is more environmentally friendly! I've always kept that kind of thing in consideration. Thanks for sharing!

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