Decking Timber Species
 What type of decking wood is best?
 What is the live-time of a garden deck?

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Types of decking timber

What wood species are available and which is the best for alfresco areas?

There is a range of wood species for outdoor use e.g. Treated Pine, Cypress Pine or several hardwood types. Some of them may have small advantages compared to others but it is more important to achieve the result and the look you want and to stay within your budget. Choosing a different decking timber can affect the final price by approximately 25%.

Untreated class 3 and 4 timbers should not be used for rain exposed Decks. The natural durability of heartwood classes 1 and 2 promises a service-life of up to 25 years and longer. Native Australian hardwoods are an excellent choice for decking because of their high rigidity, durability and resistance to attack by fungi and insects - perfect for the conditions of Australia.

Table of timber species for outdoor use and properties

Species Place of origin Characteristics Properties*
Blackbutt
Coastal areas of NSW and QLD Australia. Eucalyptus type, light brown Hardness: hard
Termite Resistance: resistant
Marine Borer res.: class 3
Durability above ground: class 1
Durability ground contact: class 2
Cypress
Inland areas of Australia. Yellowish brown to cream, brittle character, susceptibility to surface checking, many knots. Hardness: moderate
Termite Resistance: resistant
Marine Borer res.: class 2
Durability above ground: class 1
Durability ground contact: class 2
Jarrah
South-west of Western Australia. Eucalyptus type, rich red to dark brown. Hardness: hard
Termite Resistance: resistant
Marine Borer res.: class 3
Durability above ground: class 2
Durability ground contact: class 2
Kapur
Indonesia, Malaysia. Yellowish to reddish brown. Hardness: hard
Durability above ground: class 2
Durability ground contact: class 3
Merbau
South-east Asia Light to dark reddish brown, moderately coarse texture. Hardness: hard
Termite Resistance: resistant
Marine Borer res.: class 3
Durability above ground: class 1
Durability ground contact: class 3
Spotted Gum
Coastal areas of VIC, NSW and QLD Australia. Light to dark brown, moderately coarse texture. Hardness: very hard
Termite Resistance: resistant
Marine Borer res.: class 4
Durability above ground: class 1
Durability ground contact: class 2
Selangan Batu
South-east Asia, Indonesia. Yellowish to reddish brown, fine to medium texture. Hardness: hard
Natural durability: class 2
Very resistant and durable.
Sydney Blue Gum
Coastal areas of NSW and southern QLD Australia. Eucalyptus type, dark pink to red-brown, moderately coarse texture. Hardness: hard
Termite Resistance: not resistant
Marine Borer res.: class 3
Durability above ground: class 2
Durability ground contact: class 3
Treated Pine
VIC, NSW, QLD, TAS, SA, WA and some can also be imported. Pale-brown. Hardness: soft
Durability depends on the level of treatment. Naturally low resistance against fungi and insects but can be very high for Treated Pine.

*Hardness rating: Soft - Moderate - Hard - Very Hard

*(Natural) durability describes the timber's resistance to attack by wood destroying fungi and insects. The sapwood of all timber species has poor resistance and so the natural durability rating applies only to the heartwood of a timber species. Classes one to four, the lower the number the higher the performance in terms of durability.