Outdoor decks are part of the great Australian lifestyle, especially in summer.
They’re the perfect place to hold barbecues, outdoor pool parties and alfresco dinners. But wear and tear, combined with the harsh Australian heat, could put your deck under stress this summer.
Discover how to extend the life of your wooden deck by years with these easy tips and tricks.
A great deck is handy in the warmer months of the year.
Use the right decking material
Choosing the right material is important. Popular treated pine decking is termite and rot resistant, but may not be the best option to brave the elements.
Composite decking is also an extremely popular choice, due to its environmentally friendly and long-lasting nature.
Made from recycled plastics and timbre fibers, it won’t rot and is very low-maintenance compared to its timber counterparts
The material incorporates non-wooden materials that retain heat, making it a potential danger to kids and pets in summer.
Aluminium decks don’t need to be resealed every year, unlike wooden ones. It’s a great option for those who live near bushfire-prone areas, as it is not a fire accelerant.
Depending on how much direct sunlight the area receives, consider how hot a metal deck may be on bare feet.
Hardwood decks provide great protection from the elements.
Hardwood decking can provide protection in areas with high temperatures and direct sun. Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the right hardwood.
Spotted gum has established itself as the top-choice for many builders around the nation for its stunning appearance and grain structure. The native hardwood performs well in the harsh Australian environment.
Blackbutt is another great choice with beautiful cream to pale brown colouring. Its high moisture content and anti-flammable nature could make the difference this bushfire season.
If your deck isn’t made from the most ideal material, don’t fear. There are many measures you can take to weatherproof your outdoor setting this season.
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Complying with Australian standards
After the Black Saturday bushfires, new laws were introduced in an effort to protect homes from fire. AS3959 -2009 relates to building in a bushfire-prone area and covers both new and existing buildings.
- Any structure built after 2009, including outdoor decks, must now meet stringent requirements to reduce the impact of flames and wind-driven embers.
- Adequate landscaping should be implemented around outdoor decks. Flammable shrubs and woodchips should be replaced with fire-resistant decorative stones and fire resistant plant species.
- Deck spacing is important. Wider gaps allow for fire fuel to accumulate, potentially creating a huge fire risk for you and your family. Ensure your decks are spaced between 0 – 5mm instead.
- Enclose the floor underneath the verandah using double-folded mesh or fire-resistant timbers.
Landscape your garden to help reduce the risk of fire.
If your deck was built prior to 2009, you can take measures to ensure you help reduce the chances of a disaster.
- Remove leaves and twigs from the roof and gutters.
- Keep your veranda well maintained by sealing timber with a non-combustible seal. Fill in small gaps around the deck structure where an ember might be able to lodge – larger openings can be fitted with ember guards such as perforated mesh with 2mm openings.
- Apply deck oil with a lamb wool applicator.
Stay safe: protecting your property from bushfires