Category: Garden DIY

Is Composite Decking Cheaper Than Timber?

When it comes to creating a stunning outdoor space, decking is often the go-to choice. It not only adds aesthetic appeal but also provides a functional area for relaxation and entertainment. However, when considering decking options, cost is a crucial factor that cannot be ignored. Many people wonder whether composite decking or traditional timber decking is the more budget-friendly choice. In this article, we will explore the cost comparison between composite and timber decking, taking into account both initial expenses and long-term maintenance. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of which option offers better value for your hard-earned money.

The Initial Cost of Timber Decking

Timber decking has long been favoured for its natural beauty and affordability. When compared to composite decking, timber typically has a lower initial cost, especially if softwood varieties like pine or spruce are used. Softwood is readily available and less expensive than hardwood alternatives such as teak or cedar.

However, it’s essential to consider the additional expenses that can arise with timber decking in the long run. Without proper maintenance, timber can deteriorate over time due to exposure to the elements. Let’s dive deeper into what these maintenance requirements entail.

Regular Treatments: Sealant and Varnish

To keep timber decking watertight and protected from moisture damage, regular treatments of sealant or varnish are necessary. This ensures that water doesn’t seep into the wood and cause swelling or rotting. Typically, these treatments need to be applied annually or biannually depending on the climate you live in.

While sealants and varnishes aren’t overly expensive on their own, the costs can add up over time. Additionally, applying these treatments requires effort and time investment on your part or hiring professionals for the job.

Mold and Rot Prevention

Another concern with timber decking is its susceptibility to mold growth and rotting. To prevent these issues, regular treatments with anti-fungal solutions are required. These treatments help maintain the structural integrity of the deck and prolong its lifespan.

The cost of anti-fungal treatments, although not exorbitant, should be factored in when considering the total expense of timber decking. Moreover, the time and effort spent on applying these treatments periodically should also be taken into account.

The Long-Term Cost Effectiveness of Composite Decking

While composite decking may have a higher initial price tag than timber, it boasts significant long-term cost savings. This is primarily due to its low maintenance requirements and exceptional durability.

Minimal Maintenance Needs

One of the most appealing aspects of composite decking is its minimal maintenance needs. Unlike timber, composite boards don’t require regular sealing, varnishing, or anti-fungal treatments. They are designed to resist moisture, mold, rot, and insect infestations.

To keep your composite deck looking its best, all that’s usually required is occasional cleaning with soap and water or a gentle pressure wash. This simplicity saves you both time and money in the long run compared to the ongoing maintenance demands of timber decking.

Extended Lifespan

Composite decking materials are engineered to withstand harsh weather conditions while maintaining their structural integrity for many years. Unlike timber that can warp or splinter over time if not properly cared for, composite boards retain their shape and strength throughout their lifespan.

The extended lifespan of composite decking translates to reduced replacement costs in the future. While timber decks may need refurbishment or complete replacement after a certain number of years, composite decks can last significantly longer with proper care.

Environmental Considerations

Apart from financial factors, it’s important to consider environmental implications when choosing between composite and timber decking options.

Sustainability Concerns

Timber decking raises concerns about deforestation and sustainable sourcing practices. It’s crucial to ensure that any wood used for your deck comes from responsibly managed forests certified by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

On the other hand, composite decking is often made from recycled materials and utilizes sustainable manufacturing processes. By opting for composite, you can contribute to reducing waste and promoting a greener future.

Energy and Water Usage

When it comes to maintenance, timber decking requires more energy and water resources due to the regular treatment processes involved. In comparison, cleaning composite decking is a relatively low-energy and water-efficient task.

Considering the environmental impact of your decking choice is essential for those who prioritize sustainability in their lifestyle.


While timber decking may have a lower initial cost, it’s important to weigh the long-term expenses associated with its maintenance. The need for regular treatments, such as sealant, varnish, and anti-fungal solutions, adds up both financially and in terms of effort required. Composite decking offers an attractive alternative with minimal maintenance needs and exceptional durability. Although it may require a higher upfront investment, its long-term cost-effectiveness makes it a worthy choice.

Additionally, by choosing composite decking made from recycled materials, you can contribute to a more sustainable future. So when considering your options for creating a stunning outdoor space, don’t overlook the value that composite decking brings to both your wallet and the environment.

Do I Need Special Fixings for My Deck?

When it comes to building a deck, there are many important factors to consider. From selecting the right materials to planning the layout, every decision plays a crucial role in the overall integrity and longevity of your outdoor structure. One often overlooked aspect is the choice of fixings used during construction. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore why special fixings are necessary for your deck and discuss the different options available to ensure a sturdy and durable end result.

The Importance of Corrosion Resistance

Outdoor structures like decks are constantly exposed to various weather conditions, including rain, snow, and humidity. Over time, these elements can cause regular metal fixings to corrode and weaken, compromising the structural integrity of your deck. That’s where special fixings come into play.

Stainless Steel Fixings: The Ultimate Choice

Stainless steel fixings are highly recommended for decking projects due to their exceptional resistance to corrosion. Unlike other metals, stainless steel does not react with oxygen in the air, making it rust-resistant even in harsh outdoor environments. This not only ensures that your deck remains aesthetically pleasing but also guarantees its long-term durability.

Galvanised or Coated Carbon Steel Fixings: A Viable Alternative

If stainless steel fixings are not readily available or fall outside your budget range, you have another option: hot-dipped galvanised or high-quality coated carbon steel fixings. These types of fixings undergo a protective treatment that significantly reduces their susceptibility to corrosion. While they may not offer the same level of rust resistance as stainless steel, they still provide adequate durability for most decking projects.

The Advantages of Screws over Nails

When it comes to fastening your deck boards, screws offer several advantages over nails. It’s important to choose screws that are specifically designed for outdoor use and made from corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel or galvanised steel. Here’s why screws are the preferred choice:

Secure Fastening

Unlike nails, screws provide a secure and reliable fastening method for your deck boards. Their threaded design allows them to grip the wood more effectively, reducing the risk of loose or squeaky boards over time. This ensures that your deck remains stable and safe for years to come.

Easy Removal for Maintenance

Another benefit of using screws is their ease of removal. When it comes time to perform maintenance on your deck, such as replacing a damaged board or accessing the space beneath the deck, screws can be easily removed without causing excessive damage. This accessibility is particularly important for long-term deck maintenance and repairs.

Choosing the Right Size and Type of Fixings

To ensure proper installation and optimal performance of your deck, it’s essential to choose fixings that are suitable in size and type for your specific project.

Screw Length

When selecting screws for your decking boards, a general rule of thumb is to choose ones that are 2.5 times the thickness of the boards you are using. This ensures that the screw penetrates deep enough into the joists or support beams, providing maximum stability.

Bolts and Joist Hangers

In addition to deck boards, other components of your deck may require special fixings as well. Bolts are commonly used for securing posts to footings or attaching beams to posts. Joist hangers play a crucial role in connecting joists to beams securely. Both bolts and joist hangers should be made from rust-resistant metals like stainless steel or galvanised steel to maintain structural integrity.

Concealed Deck Clips

For those seeking a seamless look with no visible fasteners on their decking surface, concealed deck clips are an excellent option. These innovative fixings allow you to install deck boards without any visible screws or nails on the surface, creating a clean and polished appearance while still maintaining the necessary strength and stability.


In conclusion, using special fixings for your deck is essential to ensure its long-term durability and structural integrity. Stainless steel fixings are the ultimate choice due to their exceptional resistance to corrosion. However, if stainless steel is not an option, hot-dipped galvanised or high-quality coated carbon steel fixings can provide satisfactory results. Additionally, screws offer advantages over nails in terms of secure fastening and ease of removal for maintenance purposes. By selecting the right size and type of fixings for your specific project, you can create a beautiful and long-lasting deck that will bring joy and relaxation to your outdoor space for years to come.

Should I use composite wood or hardwood for my deck?

When it comes to building a deck, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is choosing the right material. Two popular options that often come up in this discussion are composite wood and hardwood. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, making it a matter of personal preference. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the factors you should consider when making your decision, including budget, aesthetics, functionality, durability, maintenance, and environmental impact. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to choose between composite wood and hardwood for your dream deck.

Budget-Friendly Composite Wood

If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option without compromising on quality, then composite wood is worth considering. Made from a blend of recycled materials such as wood fibers and plastic, composite wood offers an attractive alternative to traditional hardwood decking at a lower price point. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Affordability

Composite wood typically comes at a lower upfront cost compared to hardwood. This can be especially appealing if you’re working within a tight budget but still want a high-quality deck.

2. Low Maintenance

One significant advantage of composite wood is its low maintenance requirements. Unlike hardwood that requires regular staining or sealing to maintain its appearance and protect it from the elements, composite wood only needs occasional cleaning with soap and water.

3. Durability

Composite wood is highly resistant to rotting, warping, and splintering due to its composition of synthetic materials. It also stands up well against moisture damage and insect infestation – common issues faced by decks made from natural hardwood.

While composite wood offers several benefits in terms of affordability and low maintenance, it’s important to note that there are some drawbacks as well.


  • Composite woods may not have the same natural look and feel as hardwood.
  • Extreme heat can cause composite wood to become hot underfoot.
  • Over time, the color of composite wood may fade due to exposure to sunlight.

Timeless Beauty of Hardwood

If you have a higher budget and prioritize the classic appeal of natural materials, hardwood decking might be the perfect choice for you. Let’s explore the advantages that hardwood brings to the table:

1. Aesthetics

One of the most significant benefits of hardwood is its unmatched beauty and natural warmth. The rich colors, grain patterns, and textures create a timeless elegance that many homeowners desire for their outdoor spaces.

2. Longevity

Hardwood decks are known for their exceptional durability and longevity. With proper care and maintenance, they can last for decades, maintaining their strength and beauty over time.

3. Variety

Hardwood offers a wide range of species to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. Whether you prefer the deep red hues of Mahogany or the golden tones of Teak, there’s a hardwood option that will perfectly complement your design vision.

While hardwood decking has numerous advantages, it’s crucial to consider some potential limitations as well.


  • Hardwood generally requires more frequent maintenance compared to composite wood.
  • It is more susceptible to scratches and dents than composite wood.
  • Price points for different hardwood species can vary significantly.

In conclusion…

Choosing between composite wood and hardwood for your deck ultimately depends on various factors such as your budget, desired aesthetic appeal, functionality requirements, durability expectations, maintenance capabilities, and environmental concerns. Both options offer distinct advantages; it’s about finding the balance that aligns with your preferences and needs. Whether you opt for the affordability and low maintenance of composite wood or the timeless beauty and longevity of hardwood, investing in a well-designed deck will undoubtedly enhance your outdoor living experience for years to come.

Do I Need Planning Permission to Install a Deck?

Installing a deck in your garden can be an excellent way to create an outdoor oasis, providing a space for relaxation, entertainment, and enjoying the beauty of nature. However, before embarking on your decking project, it’s essential to understand whether you need planning permission. This blog post will guide you through the regulations and considerations regarding planning permission for decks, ensuring you have all the information you need to proceed confidently with your project.

Understanding Planning Permission

Planning permission is a legal requirement in many cases when carrying out building work or making significant changes to your property. It ensures that any development adheres to local regulations and does not negatively impact the environment or neighbouring properties. When it comes to installing a deck, there are specific criteria that determine whether planning permission is necessary.

Decking Height: To Seek Permission or Not?

One crucial factor that determines whether you need planning permission for your deck is its height above ground level. In general, if your decking is less than 30cm above ground level, it falls under “permitted development” and does not require planning permission. This means you can proceed with confidence knowing that your project meets the necessary guidelines.

However, if your decking will be elevated 30cm or more above ground level, planning permission may be required. This elevation limit ensures that any raised structures undergo proper scrutiny to maintain safety standards and prevent potential issues such as obstructing views or violating privacy.

Assessing Garden Area Coverage

Another consideration when determining if planning permission is needed for your deck is the percentage of garden area it covers. If your proposed decking covers more than 50% of the total garden area (including any existing extensions or outbuildings), then you will likely require planning permission.

This rule aims to preserve sufficient open space within gardens while preventing excessive construction that could harm biodiversity or impact neighboring properties’ amenity value. By considering this aspect, planning authorities ensure that your decking project strikes the right balance between enhancing your outdoor space and maintaining a harmonious environment.

Exceptions and Additional Considerations

While the guidelines mentioned above provide a general framework for understanding planning permission requirements, it’s essential to note that exceptions and additional considerations may apply. Local regulations can vary, so it is advisable to consult with your local planning authority or seek professional advice if you are unsure about the specifics.

Some factors that might influence whether planning permission is needed include conservation areas, listed buildings, or properties located in protected areas. These circumstances may impose stricter rules to preserve architectural integrity, protect natural habitats, or maintain the character of an area. Consulting with experts will help you navigate any additional requirements and ensure compliance with all relevant regulations.

The Benefits of Seeking Planning Permission

Although seeking planning permission may require additional effort and time investment, there are several benefits to obtaining approval for your deck installation:

  1. Peace of Mind: By obtaining planning permission, you can proceed with your project confidently, knowing that it adheres to local regulations and won’t face any legal issues in the future.
  2. Preserving Property Value: Ensuring compliance with planning regulations helps maintain property values by preserving neighbourhood aesthetics and preventing potential disputes.
  3. Environmental Considerations: Planning permission ensures that development considers environmental impacts such as drainage systems, biodiversity preservation, and sustainability measures.
  4. Neighbourhood Harmony: Obtaining permission shows respect for neighbouring properties by ensuring that your project won’t negatively impact their privacy or amenity value.

By considering these benefits alongside the specific requirements for your decking project, you can make an informed decision regarding whether to seek planning permission.

In Conclusion

Installing a deck can transform your outdoor space into a haven where countless memories are made. To determine whether you need planning permission for your decking project, consider factors such as height above ground level and garden area coverage. Remember that seeking professional advice and consulting with your local planning authority is crucial to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations.

While navigating the planning permission process may seem daunting, it ultimately ensures that your decking project aligns with legal requirements, environmental considerations, and neighborhood harmony. So, whether you need planning permission or not, take the necessary steps to create a stunning deck that enriches your lifestyle while respecting the surrounding environment.

Fence Painting: The Ultimate Guide

Looking to personalise your garden? Painting your fence is a brilliant way to brighten up your surroundings. Whether you want to simply refresh your garden with a fresh coat of fence stain, or you want to switch up the look completely with a bold and colourful fence colour. Painting a wooden fence is a quick and easy job to do. Read this step-by-step guide and we’ll walk you through the process.

1. Prepare your surroundings

First and foremost, ensure you pick a day when the weather is clear and dry. Then, clear the area around your garden fence. Cut back any trees or shrubs or tie them back to make sure they’re out of the way of your workspace. Move garden furniture out of the way and cover your patio, decking, or lawn with plastic sheets to protect it from any paint splashes.

2. Wash and sand your fence

Your fence may be covered in dirt and cobwebs from the harsh winter. You’ll want to remove any dirt, debris or flaking bits of old paint so that it’s ready for a new lease of life. A stiff brush will usually do the trick, but if your fence is really caked in dirt, you can use warm soapy water to help get it off. If you do use water to clean the fence, make sure it’s thoroughly dry before attempting to paint.

3. Apply the fence paint/stain

It’s time to get painting! Choose fence paint with a tough and durable formula that has been specially designed to be used on exterior wood. Whether you use a paintbrush or paint sprayer is up to you.

If you’re using a fence paint brush, ensure that you paint following the direction of the wood grain for a smooth finish. Make sure you start from the top and slowly work your way down so that you catch any paint and avoid waste. If you’ve got a large surface area, a fence sprayer will help you get the job done quickly. Ensure you wear a dust mask and goggles and make sure you’ve covered the areas surrounding the fence properly, as there will be a little bit of overspray.

Allow the paint or stain to dry for as many hours as the tin advises and reapply coats as needed.

4. Clean your tools

Your tools are important, make sure you can use them again! If you’ve used water-based paint, you can simply wash your brushes in warm, soapy water. If you’ve used oil-based paint, you’ll want to soak your brushes in white spirit to get the paint off. This is because oil and water don’t mix.

Looking for the best deals on fence painting tools?

Check out our amazing deals here on the eDecks website!

We also offer plenty of support and expert advice for most projects – and any products we sell online. Contact eDecks here for personalised advice for your project today.

At eDecks you can not only expect a good deal but also:

Superfast FREE delivery on orders over £150*

48 hour delivery on many products

Handy FREE installation guides (and even instructional videos!)

*Free delivery applies to most of the UK, but some areas may incur a charge, unfortunately – please check the eDecks website for more details.