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Choose the right timber to build your deck

A deck addition is one of the most sort after home renovation projects in Australia. This shouldn’t surprise anyone with our great weather and penchant for frying food over coals. It is however quite important to choose the best hardwood timber for your application so read on as I look at a few options to help you decide.

Teak may well be the number one hardwood for decks. There is little doubt about its performance, often lasting 40+ years and holding nails or screws secure extremely well. Were it not for the high cost, teak would be my choice for all outdoor applications with it’s subtle pale finish. If you can afford teak you won’t be disappointed, just make sure you check the source of the timber to ensure it is harvested ethically and legally as there is a problem with illegal logging of teak in South America and South East Asia.

Spotted gum is adored by architects and home owners for it’s superb grain and alluring patterns, making it one of the most frequently used timbers in Australia. The timber works well in the often harsh and extreme climate and bleeds less tannins than other timbers making it a good choice if you want a natural looking deck without adding stains. Simply cover the wood in a natural timber oil to not take away from the intrinsic beauty of the timber.

Spotted gum pairs beautifully with timber bifold doors from Brio who only use quality timbers in all their door hardware. If you are looking to access the deck through large sliding glass doors take a look at Brio’s range of products to create a seamless and elegant transition between inside and out. All of their sliding and folding hardware uses stainless steel hardware to ensure the mechanisms function flawlessly for many years.

Eucalyptus pilularis or blackbutt is very hard wearing and is also very fire resistant which can mean it is an approved timber for use in certain bushfire zones around Australia. It tends not to warp or split in Australian conditions but can take on pink hue when oiled which may not be ideal for certain buildings. A good way to get around this trait is to use an oil with a slight silver tint to retain it’s natural appearance.

A sometimes overlooked timber is grey ironbark which has an elegant silver grey colour and can look stunning in the right application. It does have some drawbacks though as it does not lend itself well to being fully exposed to the elements and can split over time. It is also quite a difficult timber to work with because of its denseness, however don’t count it out, especially if the deck will have protection from the rain and sun.

Outdoor Hot Tubs – let your stress soak away

Like the idea of soaking a hot tub but hate plastic or fibreglass spas? Don’t worry, there a lot of natural options that let you enjoy the outdoor bathing experience with style.

In stark contrast to many fibreglass tubs, Japanese hot tubs blend beautifully into natural surroundings. These are primarily made from cedar wood and round or elliptical in form held together with stainless steel bindings – essentially a giant wine barrel! The tubs are quite deep allowing you to fully immerse yourself in water which is a bonus when it’s cold outside.

Japanese hot tubs can either be elevated with steps leading up, or sunk to ground level to let you get in easily. Consider also partially sinking the tub within the landscape and using large rocks to build a staircase and platform around the tub to create a really natural, earthy look. Stone makes a stunning backdrop to aged timber hot tubs as the stone compliments the wood tones well.

If you are planning to install a hot tub, be sure to include it in the overall design of the outdoor area from the outset as it can be difficult to integrate later. Also make sure that the tub’s weight can be supported by whatever structure it will sit on top of – generally it is better to have the tub sitting on the ground and then build a deck around the tub. If the tub will be installed on a rooftop, you will need to consult an engineer first to make sure the tub is able to be used as a full tub weighs as much as a small car!