Hardwood vs. Softwood Decking
- The Pros and Cons
One of the most common questions asked by those planning to construct decking in the garden is whether to choose hardwood or softwood. There’s a lot to consider when choosing between these two types of decking material, from durability and eco-friendliness to cost. What confuses many people is that the terms hardwood and softwood don’t actually relate to the physical hardness of the wood. They are broad, biological terms that are used to describe wood species. Read on to discover the pros and cons of hardwood and softwood decking.
Hardwood decking is usually constructed from slow-growing deciduous trees such as ash and oak. Beech trees are also sometimes used. Since the structure of these trees is more complex, they’re harder to process. This, together with the fact that it takes many years for them to grow, makes hardwood decking one of the pricier options. Not all hardwoods are durable enough for use outdoors, but many are and these can be found as hardwood decking.
Whilst hardwood decking isn’t the cheapest, it’s a fantastic investment overall. Extremely durable, you can expect it to retain its attractive appearance over the years. With a potential lifespan of around 50 years with good maintenance, you can look forward to enjoying your hardwood decking long into the future.
Hardwood decking has several key benefits. However, it’s important to note its downsides too. Keep reading to discover the biggest pros and cons of hardwood decking.
Pros of hardwood decking
Cons of hardwood decking
Softwood decking is made from either coniferous or evergreen trees such as spruce and pine. These trees are faster growing than the trees used to make hardwood decking. Softwood decking needs to be pressure-treated with preservatives before it’s used. This is designed to protect it from fungal and insect decay as well as deterioration from the environment.
Around 80% of the world’s timber is made from softwood since it’s so widely available, easy to work with, and cost-friendly. Even though softwood decking is much more affordable than hardwood decking, many people feel it’s equally attractive once installed. Unfortunately, you can expect softwood decking to begin losing its good looks after a few years. This type of decking doesn’t last as long as hardwood decking, even when pressure-treated. Ultimately, since softwood decking is quick and easy to install and cost-effective, it’s still a good solution if you’re not too concerned about lifespan.
Softwood is the first-choice material for decking in homes across the UK. Whilst it has many benefits, there are also drawbacks to consider. Read on to find out what you need to know about this popular decking solution.
Pros of softwood decking
Cons of softwood decking
Whichever decking you opt for, regular maintenance is essential to keep it looking and performing well throughout the years. Hardwood and softwood decking both need to be looked after as well as possible. You’ll need to:
More and more people are installing decking in their gardens due to the vast array of benefits it brings them. Providing an attractive and convenient space to relax, dine, and entertain, it allows you to enjoy spending time outdoors all year round. Garden decking can also boost your property’s value if installed to a high standard. Whether you opt for hardwood or softwood decking, it’s important to be clear about the pros and cons of both types. Arming yourself with all the information about these popular decking solutions will allow you to make the right choice.