The origin of the word “decking” can be traced back to 15th century ship building. Here in Ireland, however, it has become synonymous with the building boom of the noughties, and a generation of “Decklanders” who (un)paved the way for an alternative solution to outdoor living.
Traditional softwood decks bring a warmth and beauty to any garden but – as we all know – beauty is only skin deep, and requires regular maintenance. Despite the well-documented issues with timber decks, their desirability as a patio option remains strong. A wide range of excellent aftercare products will extend the life of any timber deck; however, consumers are always on the lookout for low maintenance alternatives when it comes to all things outdoors. As a result, homeowners are fast becoming more aware of the advantages of Composite Decking, which the commercial market has embraced for many years. Research shows that – as well as new domestic projects – there are many traditional timber decks being replaced with this versatile alternative. Whiteriver Group have recorded another strong year for composite decking sales and, according to their Sales Director Iain Wogan, they are “forecasting stable growth for 2018 across both commercial and domestic installations.” There are numerous types of composite decking on the market today although most can be broken down into two main categories – traditional and next generation. “Our traditional ‘Portland’ composite decking is the most common form, and comprises of a mixture of wood fibre, recycled plastics, and colour additives to give a durable, low-maintenance, anti-slip, eco-friendly alternative to timber. The option of traditional deck grooves or a flat brushed surface complete the finish, along with a variety of colours. Next generation ‘Ultrashield’ has all the attributes of traditional composite, with added protection in the form of a capped shield which gives the boards a smooth, protective covering and a distinctive wood grain appearance.”
Decking trends and designs are ever changing and there is no limit to what can be achieved with a little imagination and an experienced installer. Size matters, and the days of a functional area for accommodating a BBQ and set of patio furniture are long gone as home owners are looking for more outdoor living space for entertaining family and friends, as well as a safe, clean play area for kids.