There are many who argue that building outdoor living extensions with timber is more disadvantageous and results in more issues emerging over the long term. This may have been true in the past, given our scant knowledge of it and the less sophisticated timber treatments that were available.
Among the disadvantages sometimes associated with timber are:
- Timber expands and shrinks with the weather. This movement makes the structure unstable, tends to weaken joints and may cause damage to the timber.
- It deteriorates easily. Timber is no match for the ravages of time, weather and wear-and-tear.
- Certain timber treatments can pose a danger to people who come into oral contact with them.
However, these issues are things of the past. We are now able to neutralise these disadvantages with better understanding of timber chemistry and with better and more effective treatments at our disposal. So if these issues mentioned above still cloud the way you look at timber as a building material for your deck — or for any other outdoor living extension, for that matter — then you are needlessly worried.
So Why Treated Timber?
Timber has a number of significant advantages over other materials.
- It is the only material that is renewable. If managed correctly and harvested responsibly, there is no danger of timber running out.
- Treated timber will serve you well for decades. Timber structures can last up to 50 years and even beyond. Of course there are other factors that affect its durability. The species of timber, whether it was obtained from heartwood or sapwood and the protection afforded by the right timber treatment are all important items to be considered.
- It keeps you healthy. The health benefits of timber are well-documented and proven. In fact, spending time on your timber deck or pergola is somewhat like spending time in the great outdoors. Your blood pressure and stress levels come down to healthy levels and you get some time under the sun (just don’t overdo it!).
- Timber is beautiful to look at. From its inherent colour to the grain patterns that stand out when stained, you can’t go wrong with it.
But is timber the best material for building your deck or any outdoor extension to your property? The arguments against it have all been neutralised. The benefits certainly cannot be equalled, not all of them, at least. What do you think?