DIY 101: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Decking – Timber Vs Composite

April 19, 2018

A popular addition in many gardens, decking is a great way to extend living space to the outside of your home. And there’s no better time to start outdoor projects than spring time!

Decking can be extremely versatile when it comes to complementing outside design ideas. Whether you are looking for a modern, stylish look or want a more rustic feel, decking can bring an abundance of character to a garden. It is also a wonderful addition to both large and smaller gardens. Making it a worthwhile investment for any home owner.

Before installing your decking, the first choice you need to make is whether you are going to use composite or timber decking.  There are a number of pros and cons to both and our article aims to educate and inform, helping you make a decision based on what’s best for your project.


The cost of composite decking is usually higher when compared directly to the cost of wood decking, making timber the more wallet friendly choice. However, it is important that you bear in mind the additional items that will need to be purchased with either option when looking at expense. We have a selection of decking products on offer in our Spring Savers Deals, making it the perfect opportunity to create your dream decking whilst saving some pennies.

Timber decking will need treating with an oil, stain or varnish at least once annually, possibly more depending on the finish you’re going with. This is on top of nails, screws and joists to support your deck. If you decide to go with the composite option, as the boards are hollow you will need to get the end caps to go with them, not forgetting that this type of decking will often have a specialist fitting system to prevent the use of nails or screws.

So, if cost is your main point of interest then you’ll most likely favour timber boards for this aspect.

Life Span

All timber deck boards will be dried and treated to ensure they are resistant to wood destroying fungi to ensure as long a life as possible. Most of our timber decking is guaranteed for 15 years, which means you can expect them to last at least this long. Composite decking generally has a longer life expectancy of 20 – 30 years, dependant on area and climate, so could be worth making the larger investment on as they will need replacing less frequently.


Many people like the look of wood, especially outdoors where it can blend in seamlessly with nature. There are a number of options available in terms of timber types used, all creating a different look and feel for a deck, similarly for composite. This is where your personal style preference will play a big part in the decision.

The main benefit of composite decking in terms of aesthetics is that it will not contain any knots or splits. In addition to this, composite decking tends to have a more attractive finish than the timber boards. Our composite decking comes in three different neutral colour options with matching accessories and fittings which makes it easy to pick a tone that suits your home and garden. Both types will fade slightly over time but this can be expected of all materials that are left exposed to the elements for long periods of time and will be minimal.

Decide on what style you want to achieve. If you are looking for modernity and a contemporary look then composite decking may be the best option. In specific, grey and silver shades are popular choices for creating this look.


A composite deck is the clear winner in this section, requiring virtually no maintenance bar a decent wash once a year. Timber decking will need treatment with a stain, varnish or oil, usually at least annually, if not more. This means that in terms of both time and cost, a wooden deck is the most consuming of the two options when it comes to upkeep.

These are just some of the main things people look at when considering which decking to choose. There are pros and cons for each type of decking, but ultimately, it will come down to personal preference! For more guidance and advice on our range of decking, speak to one of our friendly staff in your local branch.

What will I need for a DIY decking project?

As well as knowing what type of boards you want, you will also need to have your design plan and measurements to hand.  The size of your decking will depend on your garden as well as what you want to use it for. There are a few options with what type of decking you can build such as ground-level deck or a raised deck with stairs. Consider things such as how much sunshine or privacy you will get before choosing the area you want decked. There is a lot to think about so try not to rush the planning process!

Now you’ve decided on the details, it’s time to get your hands dirty. We’ve listed some products that are a definite when constructing your decking project. As always, be sure to have protective clothing during your DIY project such as gloves to protect from splints…

Decking Boards

Decking Screws



Safety Gloves

Tape Measure

Building Line

Decking Accessories (optional)

For additional products, head to our website or pop in to one of our branches. Happy DIY-ing!

And for more more inspiration on patios, paving, decking and much more, checkout our Pinterest Page!