When considering different decking materials, there are five main options, all available from specialist supplier Ecochoice: naturally durable timber species, pressure impregnated softwood, modified wood, wood-plastic composite and recycled plastic.
From the plethora of decking materials available, the most innate amongst them is wood. Wood blends well with any surrounding environment and will weather in an attractive way, making it a favourite with both developers and clients.
Pressure Treated Wood
For budget-constrained projects in need of large quantities of timber decking with average service lives, pressure treated softwood deck boards are an appealing option.
Standard pressure-treated softwood decking has a layer of preservative chemicals that is impregnated into the timber through the use of a high-pressure system. Absorption is often shallow and may even lead to leaching of chemicals after installation. Some of the previous chemical treatments are now labelled as hazardous, making the wood unsafe to burn or recycle. There are no guarantees that the current mixtures will not suffer a similar fate in years to come.
Any site alteration, such as trimming the ends, requires further treatment. A chemical envelope treatment is a cost-effective option when correctly applied. However, if even the slightest spot is left unprotected then the durability of the wood can be compromised. As it weathers, there is also a chance of splits developing on the surface of the wood, which can further deteriorate the treatment’s effectiveness and therefore the service life of the deck.
pre-drilled decking, pressure treated to HC4, with anti-slip strips in Exeter
Wood and plastic composite (WPC) decks are manmade materials that offer low maintenance, anti-slip surface and durable shape.
This is a new technology where both the types of wood and plastic, as well as their optimal mixture, are still being tested. The vast majority of this material is currently produced in China. Industry regulations are uncertain and the environmental impacts are currently expected to outlast the lifespan of the product.
Timber can be modified in many ways to achieve greater durability and stability. Heat or thermo modification is a meticulously controlled kilning process where wood is heated to a temperature high enough to permanently alter its cellular makeup. This chemical-free process drains the wood of all moisture making the deck boards incredibly stable.
Even after the wood is cut or punctured, there is no need to treat the area to deter rotting because every single cell has been modified in this environmentally friendly process.
These thermo treated woods acquire a darker, yet natural look, are 100% recyclable and safe to burn. Readily available species from Ecochoice include Pine, Spruce and even Ash and Frake, which are knot-free hardwoods.
Another innovation in 2017 is OrganoWood, a silica impregnated Pine decking which is taking the school specification world by storm. It takes inspiration from the fossilisation process and delivers 10 years guarantee without the use of any chemical biocides or heavy metals. It is the eco evolution on preserving timber decking: cost effective, beautiful and environmentally conscious.
Ecochoice assisted in the specification and delivery of FSC Spruce heat modified decking to the 2012 London Olympic village
Tropical hardwood decks are famed for their natural beauty and durability.
Ecochoice provides a variety of FSC certified hardwoods for your exterior projects such as decking, cladding and sleepers. This ensures the forests where these exotic timbers originate can remain productive for generations to come.
Their range of certified durable timbers includes species suitable for domestic and balcony decks such as Pituca and Garapa, all the way to Opepe and Ekki for piers and footbridges. "And everything in between" says Joe Middleton, head of merchant services. "Clients come to us because we can help guide them through the multiple choices available. In the end, they get a certified sustainable decking, that fits their client's demands for durability, looks and price, delivered to site on time."
Decking in FSC Opepe and PEFC heat-modified Ash working side by side at a commercial development in London.
Benefits of Going Green
Going green is not just a passing trend. Many government contracts will only be awarded to projects where sustainable design and materials have been incorporated. Private commercial and residential developments are also following suit in anticipation of their own cost-savings, including government incentives.
The materials you choose for your bids can determine the future of your business as much as our planet. Timber, due to its carbon-sinking nature, insulation properties and low-embedded energy, is a natural champion for any project seeking a low carbon footprint.
By insisting on FSC-certified timber you are contributing to a business best practice which, it is anticipated, will soon bcome standard construction protocol. It can also offer you an advantage in terms of client and employee retention while adding tangible value to your company’s mission statement when that statement encompasses sustainability goals.
FSC Ekki supplied by Ecochoice for Hastings Pier renovation.
Sustainable timber doesn't have to cost more. There are many FSC and PEFC species available at no or very little premium, according to Ecochoice, who promote a variety of certified timbers. Adopting them can only improve your company’s image and lower its operational risk.
Karen Ellis, of WWF-UK, reminds us: “Improving forest management, along with society’s growing expectations of the need for business to operate in a way that is sustainable and in the long term interests of society, mean that both regulatory risks and reputational risks are growing in relation to unsustainable timber.”
Your Source for FSC Certified Timber
“At Ecochoice we are committed to providing quality products that will meet your pricing and performance requirements in an environmentally respectful manner.” says Mike Bekin, Ecochoice’s MD.
Ecochoice offers impartial advice that meets your client’s demands as well as offer you the widest range of species, price points and turnaround times.
Your decking can be delivered with a wide range of extras including anti-slip strips. Deck boards can also be pre-stained or fire-treated to Euro class B requirements.
For a free quote that matches your specs email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let Ecochoice help you make a selection that is right for your clients now, and in the future.
Copyright 2015 Ecochoice Ltd.