The beauty of natural wood is unrivaled. There is nothing better than a fresh coat of oil on an exotic hardwood to highlight the wide variety of colors and grain patterns. Certain wooden decking planks will perform better in different areas than others will. The main determinants of what will work best in your environment will be your relative humidity, sun exposure and proximity to water or how often your deck will be blasted by your sprinklers. These factors will determine how often you will need to apply a coat of oil to the wood and how often sanding will take place.
Once you have decided that wooden decking is for you, you are left with choosing exactly which type of timber you prefer. Majority of wooden decking sold will fall into 3 durability classes, Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3, with Class 1 being the most durable. The class rating is also correlated to the relative density of the boards. The most common Class 1 deck boards available are IPE, Cumaru, Massaranduba and Rhodesian Teak. The most common Class 2 deck boards available is Garapa and Red Balau.
Composite decking is simply a blend of plastic, virgin and or recycled, combined with finely ground wood fibers, UV-stabilizers, bonding agents and other proprietary blends to create an aesthetically pleasing deck board which requires little maintenance in an outdoor environment.
There is basically two types of composite decking. The First Generation Composite Decking which tends to have a 10 year manufacturer warranty on performance of the boards but will not include staining or fading. We call it first generation composite because the very first composite decking boards are basically a mixture of wood and plastic which are extruded to create a specific size plank. There are no special top coats surrounding the material which means that these planks are still porous. This is because some wood fibers are still exposed. Therefore these planks will be more susceptible to staining and fading.
The problem of the porous first generation composite decking boards was solved by adding a protective plastic layer over the plank to act as a protective shell. This is what has become known as Second Generation Composite Decking. These boards generally come with a 25 year manufacturer warranty which usually includes staining and fading.
An entirely new breed of decking planks has started becoming extremely popular, but these do not contain any wood fibers at all. They are called Cellular PVC Decking. They are lightweight and easy to manipulate on site. They are the preferred type of plank for deck board bending or heat bending. These boards generally have a 25 year manufacturer warranty as well.