Garden decking is a popular garden feature, but some homeowners looking to install wooden decking are deterred by the regular maintenance it requires. So, what alternative can installers offer to ensure new decking remains enjoyable, rather than another gardening chore? Here, Nick Cowley, managing director of exterior cladding and outdoor living product provider Endurawood, explores why aluminium is an ideal alternative decking material.
Decking has been a popular garden feature since the 1990s and is still sought after by many homeowners today. The panelling provides an attractive space for outdoor activities, removing the maintenance of mowing a grass lawn, and is usually quicker to install compared to a patio.
Traditionally, decking has been made from timber, which is desired for its attractive aesthetic and can add a touch of modernism to outdoor décor. However, wooden decking can present a number of maintenance and safety issues, which can prove time consuming and costly for property owners. As the most widely used non-ferrous metal in the world, aluminium offers a number of benefits to the outdoor living industry and is able to tackle many of these challenges.
Arguably one of the biggest maintenance challenges garden decking faces is its susceptibility to warping under hot temperatures. When the panels become too warm, they can swell and bow out of shape, causing them to expand. Not only is this a costly inconvenience to homeowners, as panels must be replaced, but warping can pose a danger, particularly to families with children who may injure themselves on the panels.
Aluminium is commonly used to form structures that cannot risk warping or bending. Notably, the material was first widely used in the construction of New York’s Empire State Building, and the building’s basic structure and components were completed in aluminium. The building reigned as the world’s tallest structure for almost 40 years, and still stands without any structural implications today.
Unlike wooden decking, aluminium is resistant to warping caused from heat, making it an ideal decking material to install as minimum maintenance is required, so it can be enjoyed by homeowners all year round.
Naturally, as wooden decking ages and is tarnished by the weather, its colour can become faded. This requires maintenance such as annual staining treatments to ensure the colour remains fresh.
While this task is one that many garden enthusiasts take pride in, wood coated aluminium eliminates the chance of natural fading and the demand for yearly re-staining. This means that installers can guarantee their decking will retain its woodgrain finish for many years, ensuring homeowners will not have the hassle of maintaining its colour.
Although garden decking is predominantly used during the summer when there is minimal rain, it’s important that it remains safe to use during all seasons. For example, decking can become slippery from rain, ice or snow, but is safe to use once the it has dried. Moss on the other hand is a persistent problem for wooden decking and can make the deck extremely slippery to walk on.
Moss retains moisture and grows when there is a build-up of leaves and debris on the decking, causing it to become slippery and dangerous to walk on. While there are methods available to eradicate moss, it can become a nuisance to homeowners if it must be removed multiple times a year.
By offering wood coated aluminium decking such as Endurawood, which is slip, freeze and frost resistant, installers can guarantee the decking will remain safe to use in all weather conditions. Furthermore, moss is unable to grow on the wood coating, removing the need for regular maintenance.
With summer around the corner, many homeowners will be looking to replace their wooden decking, and installers offering aluminium decking will provide an attractive alternative option. The wooden aesthetic of timber has made it a popular decking material for many years, but aluminium decking is demonstrating that it’s still possible to achieve this look, without the maintenance challenges. With resistance to warping, anti-slip properties and colour protection, installing aluminium decking can ensure homeowners’ gardens remain enjoyable all year round.