Australia’s passion for the great outdoors translates beautifully into our homes, with outdoor living spaces playing an essential role.
A deck can be the crown jewel of this space. However, it’s not just about slapping on some timber; quality craftsmanship is paramount and when it comes to building a deck, there are a lot more options than traditional timber decking.
So, how do you ensure you’re entrusting this pivotal decking project to the right deck builder?
Well, that’s what we’re going to help you with in this article. We’re going to discuss a timber decking alternative material – composite decking – as well as the things to keep an eye out for when looking for decking builders.
Keep reading to learn about getting your new deck installed.
Composite Decking – An Alternative to the Traditional
In our sunburned country, timber decking has long been a favourite. But there’s a new player in town: composite decking. This material combines wood fibres, plastics, and bonding agents. Not only does it offer the look of traditional timber, but it’s also known for very little maintenance, making it perfectly suited for the Australian climate and lifestyle.
What Exactly is Composite Decking?
Composite decking is an innovative blend of wood fibres, recycled plastics, and bonding agents. Unlike traditional timber, which is purely wood, composite decking offers the beauty of wood without many of its downsides. The name “composite” stems from its composition, which combines the natural appearance of timber with the durability of synthetic materials.
Pros of Composite Decking:
- Durability: Composite decks are renowned for their resistance to fading, staining, scratching, and mold. They’re also insect-proof, so you won’t have to worry about termites feasting on your deck.
- Low Maintenance: One of the most significant advantages of composite decking is its very little maintenance requirement. Unlike timber, which may need annual sealing or staining, composite decking only requires occasional cleaning with soap and water.
- Eco-Friendly: Most composite decks are made from recycled materials, making them an environmentally conscious choice. Using recycled wood and plastic means fewer trees are cut down, and less plastic waste ends up in landfills.
- Aesthetics: Available in various colours and styles, composite decking can mimic the look of different wood types, offering a range of design options.
- Longevity: With proper care, composite decking can last 25-30 years, or even longer, outlasting traditional timber decks by a significant margin.
- Safety: Composite decking boards are splinter-free and often have added slip resistance, making them a safer choice, especially around pools or in rainy regions.
Maintenance of Composite Decking:
While composite decking is praised for its low maintenance, it’s not entirely maintenance-free. Here’s how to keep it looking its best:
- Regular Cleaning: Sweep the deck regularly to remove dirt and debris. A gentle soap and water cleaning twice a year should be sufficient for most decks.
- Tackle Stains Swiftly: While composite decks resist staining, it’s always best to clean up spills as soon as they occur.
- Mind the Gap: Ensure there’s proper spacing between the deck boards, facilitating adequate ventilation and preventing water accumulation.
For more tips on how to clean and maintain your composite deck, read this.
Finding Decking Builders: Understanding Qualifications and Licensing
Decking installation requires expertise if you want to see long lasting results.
But beyond skill, there are legal and professional standards that need to be met. Here’s a deep dive into the qualifications and licensing considerations when choosing a deck builder.
Deck builders or ‘tradies’ in Australia often complete vocational education and training. Courses such as Certificate III in Carpentry can provide them with the foundational skills. A tradie who has taken the time to earn a qualification demonstrates a commitment to their craft.
In Australia, each state has its own licensing requirements for building and construction trades. For instance, a deck builder in Melbourne might need to adhere to different regulations than one in Brisbane. It’s essential to ensure that your chosen deck builder has the appropriate license for your state and for the specific work you need done.
Membership in Professional Bodies
Being a member of a recognised industry association, like the Housing Industry Association (HIA) or the Master Builders Association (MBA), is a good sign. These memberships often require tradies to adhere to a code of ethics and can be an indicator of professionalism.
Licensing often goes hand in hand with insurance. Make sure your deck builder has the relevant insurances in place, such as public liability insurance. This protects you and your property in the unlikely event of damage or injury.
History of the License
It’s not just about having a license; it’s about the history attached to it. Checking if a tradie’s license has ever been suspended, cancelled, or attached to any disputes can provide insights into their business practices.
Building codes, safety regulations, and best practices evolve. A top-notch deck builder will participate in continuous learning, ensuring they’re updated with the latest industry standards and regulations.
Understanding qualifications and licensing is not just about ticking boxes. It’s about ensuring that your decking project meets legal standards, ensuring the safety and longevity of your investment. Beyond the tangible aspects, it also provides peace of mind knowing that you’re entrusting your project to a professional who adheres to industry best practices.
Other Matters to Consider When Looking for Trusted Deck Builders
Previously we were focusing on the licensing and qualification of deck builders, which is extremely important. On top of this, there are other things to consider when someone to help build your outdoor living space. Including:
- Local Experience with Composite Materials
The unique Australian climate demands in-depth experience. From the tropical north to the temperate south, a decking builder should be well-versed in local conditions. This expertise ensures the end result aligns with both the homeowner’s vision and the region’s demands.
- Requesting Previous Work Samples
Before diving into the deck building process, request a portfolio. A trusted deck builder should provide samples of their work, showcasing their quality and style. Whether you’re looking for a pool deck or an expansive outdoor living area, their previous projects will offer insights into their craftsmanship and professionalism.
- Ensuring Warranty and Insurance
For peace of mind, always inquire about warranties specific to composite materials. Additionally, ensure that the deck builder has current insurance. These measures protect both the homeowner and the tradie, ensuring a smooth decking journey from consultation to construction.
- Communication and Transparency
Your decking project is a significant investment, enhancing the value of your property and enriching your lifestyle. Transparent communication about costs, timelines, and materials is crucial. Opt for deck builders who offer a free consultation and quote, ensuring clarity from the get-go.
- Sustainability and Composite Material Choices
With Australia’s increasing focus on sustainability, your deck should be no different. Composite decking offers an eco-friendly alternative to traditional timber. So, as you move forward with your project, consider the environmental impact of your chosen materials.
Looking for deck building experts?
Finding the right deck builder is about more than a free quote or their range of services. It’s about ensuring that your outdoor space, be it in Melbourne, Brisbane or anywhere else in the country, resonates with quality, style, and durability.
With these top tips, homeowners can confidently navigate the process, ensuring their new deck is not just an addition to their house but an enhancement to their life.
If you’re planning on installing a deck made from WoodEvo’s composite decking materials, we’ve got a list of amazing deck installers who can help you to create your ideal outdoor space. Check out the list here. And if you have any questions about any of our composite deck and cladding materials, get in touch with us here.