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What type of wood works best for your deck?

By Andrew Bell

Owning real estate in Surfers Paradise affords you opportunities that aren't available everywhere in Australia. Not only can you own a property that sits right on the beach (or not far from it), your house will also be nestled in a thriving tourist hub, meaning lots of economic activity – and never a shortage of tenants. 

In fact, SQM Research vacancy rates for this area currently sit at 1.9 per cent – and that's near the peak of the renting cycle. Overall, the vacancy rates have been trending downward since at least 2011, showing that demand for rentals in Surfers Paradise is only rising. 

To really stand out from the pack and make sure your home is the most sought-after on the block when tenants come to call, it's important to present a fantastic abode that people want to spend time in over and over again. And with the sunshine strong for so long here, that means making sure your outdoor areas are looking fantastic – and staying that way.

With this in mind, let's look at the types of timber that people can use when constructing a great outdoor deck area. 

Hard or soft?

Timber generally falls into one of two categories – hardwood and softwood. While softwood is more economically viable and good for hand crafted projects, it is usually not recommended for deck use, as it is more susceptible to wear, tear and invasion from pests. Hardwood is the go-to type of timber when you want something strong and durable – which is exactly what you want in an excellent Surfers Paradise property. 

But what type of hardwood do you work with?

Pick the right class and category

Hardwoods come within two categories: In-ground and above-ground. In each of these categories they are classed from 1 to 4 in terms of durability, with class 1 woods the longest-lasting. In a durability report from Timber Queensland and the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, there are several types of wood outlined for use in decks along these guidelines. 

For the posts supporting your deck that will touch the ground, it is recommended that you use in-ground class 1 hardwood, but pine and sapwood that has been treated with preservatives is also a good idea. There is the possibility of using some in-ground class 2 hardwoods, but you have to make sure they can be easily replaced in case they sustain damage or rot. 

When it comes to the main part of the deck, you should only use top class above-ground hardwood. After all, it's going to be where you or your tenants catch the sun and enjoy a fantastic Surfers Paradise view – you want it to be safe! 

Choose the appropriate type of wood

So which types of wood come under class 1, and are good for deck use? Preservative-treated pine is approved for use anywhere in your deck, so if you have access to bulk lots of this, it could be a good plan. Turpentine, tallowwood, red mahogany, red or grey ironbark​, and forest red or grey gum timber are all good for use in any part of a deck as well.

Kwila, belian and yellow balau are also types of wood that can be used, but only for the decking itself – keep it away from the posts. 

Beyond this, there are a lot of Building Code of Australia regulations that you should look up and adhere to. Building or renovating a deck won't just add a view, it will likely add value to a property – but make sure it's safe and up to code. Contacting a professional is a great place to start. 

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