We now have a balcony (and a backyard) and we have thoughts of doing decking at our balcony. It is one of the area which we spend quite a number of time researching on.
|Image from Evorich|
Our start plan is we want something with minimum maintenance and the choice is easy, WPC decking, also known as Wood Plastic Composite decking. They do not need sanding and re-vanishing every few years, unlike natural wood. They will also not have splinters or crack or split.
However when our ID shown us the product sample, I had second thoughts. It feels very plastic and further research points out the cons, like getting very hot for bare sole under direct sun, having to have a bigger gap between planks to cater for larger expansion, will scratch like natural wood but it will become permanent as you will not be able to sand and re-varnish again.
Of course there are different grades of composite decking. Absolut Outdoors‘ composite decking is already “pre-expanded” so they could build with smaller gaps, and the feel is alot less plastic. Forexia Eco Wood Composite Decking from Evorich comes with a 25 year warranty.
|Image from Jason Parquet|
On the other spectrum are the natural wood. Common wood used are Chengal, Ironwood, Teak, Merbau and Balau. If you like the feel of wooden decking, there is no compromise. The natural wood feel/”warmth” gives you the resort feel. Chengal seems to be the preferred wood by many, including my ID. This is because Chengal is characterised as hard wood and is naturally resistant to termite attacks and fungal growth. You can find out more from Nam Soon Timber.
|Image from Calvary Carpentary|
Engineered wood, or eco wood, falls in the middle. These includes brands like Accoya (carried by Evorich), Heveatech (carried by several companies like Floorxpert), and Abodo (carried by Calvary Carpentry). These are treated wood where they go through processing to make the wood perform better. Hence these brands often offers warrenties.
|Image from Hafary Holdings|
Then there are wood tiles, or tiles that look like wood. These post very minimum maintenance as they are tiles. There will still have grouts though as they are afterall tiles. But done by the correct people, it can look great too. Hafary Holdings carry a wide selection to choose from.
For WPC and tiles, the look should stay the same thru the years without major fading. However for natural wood and engineered wood, it will the vanish/coating will fade and it will look greyish (for Chengal). It will look like old jetty wood decking landing. So after a few years, you would need to sand down and re-varnish again.
After much deliberation, we decided to go for Chengal decking for our front balcony, mainly cause we like the feel of real wood decking and we would be able to sand and re-varnish for a look like new decking every 3-5 years.