How To Choose The Right Decking For Your Park

How to choose the right decking for your park

When developing or refurbishing your holiday or residential park, you’ll want to choose the most effective materials. Decking typically comes up in conversation.

It’s not surprising. Decking provides fast, cost-effective outdoor space for homes. Plus, communal areas such as bars and restaurants come to life with relaxing decking areas in the fresh air. You can even create lakeside jetties from correctly specified decking.

When you’re not in the know, it’s complicated to choose the right decking. And the implications of getting it wrong are substantial.

Having supplied miles of timber decking to holiday parks and park homes across the UK, we can help you understand key considerations and what questions to ask your contractor before going ahead with your decking project.


Keeping them safe

All construction materials have risks to manage. The biggest issue for decking – whether timber or composite – is becoming slippery when wet.

Without mitigating the risk, ‘wet decking’ days can be lethal for all ages. And it’s not just steps that become slippery, flat areas also lose grip when they’re wet. 

You don’t want complaints and injuries on your site.

Thankfully, there’s no need to endure slippery decking and limit use of outdoor areas when the weather’s unfavourable. Specific products exist to help minimise the risk of injury. 

Getting this right keeps your park safer for everyone.


Anti-slip decking explained

Grooved timber is generally used to create anti-slip decking. A resin and aggregate formulation fills at least two grooves, sitting slightly proud of the timber. This creates a sturdy grip underfoot, significantly reducing the risk of slipping – even when the decking is wet.

Anti-slip timber decking is a long-term, professional solution. It won’t deteriorate over time. In fact, the grip is as good after ten years as it was on day one.

By choosing factory manufactured anti-slip decking you won’t compromise on the look of your deck either. The resin and aggregate appears subtle, ensuring you still enjoy the pleasure of your timber expanse. 

Anti-slip decking gives you 365 days a year use, despite rain and ice. Maybe you want to extend your season? Smart material choice is vital.

Understanding PTV scores

When comparing different anti-slip decking boards, look for the Pendulum Test Value (PTV) score as this confirms the level of safety achieved. Avoid anti-slip decking without a score at all costs.

Wet decking is PTV tested to compare safety credentials.

A score of 35 or above confirms ‘low slip’ potential. Robust anti-slip timber decking achieves a score of 70 or above when wet.

By comparison, wet composite decking typically achieves scores of 36 – it’s a myth this product is naturally anti-slip.


Timber decking facts

Its endearing look and tactile feel confirm why timber is traditionally used to create decking.

Correctly specified timber decking is pressure treated to Use Class 3, ensuring you enjoy its maximum life. We provide a 10-year warranty for all our anti-slip timber decking.

Made from many different hardwood and softwood species, there’s also a wide variety of groove profiles to consider.

You don’t need to retreat or stain pressure treated timber decking during its lifetime. Naturally, timber silvers as it ages, yet performance doesn’t diminish. Of course, should you prefer a different colour, timber accepts many stain treatments.

Maintaining timber decking is straight forward. Regularly sweep off debris and consider washing it annually – using a brush and hose or a pressure washer.


The truth about composite decking

An assortment of attractive composite (or plastic) decking boards exist today. Made from plastic and wood fibres, they’re manufactured to look like wood and are generally more expensive. 

Many suppliers believe they’re the answer to the slippery deck issue and easier to maintain.

That’s simply not the case.

Grime, debris, and moisture builds up on composite decking, just like timber decking. This makes it slippery. And PTV scores show composite decking is not naturally anti-slip. In fact, some composites have anti-slip properties, just like timber.

Often overlooked, the longevity of your decking depends on correct structural timber treatment, whether you choose timber or composite boards. 

The untrained eye just sees decking boards. But below them is usually a timber structure, whatever sits on top. Should this structure fail due to poor specification, your entire deck fails.

Sitting in the ground, this structural timber must receive Use Class 4 treatment to ensure long-term performance. Composite suppliers might be less thorough on this point – yet it’s crucial.


Lowering your carbon footprint

Most parks are trying to reduce their impact on the environment and promote themselves as a sustainable way of life. In fact, several sites have committed to becoming carbon neutral.

There’s no doubt timber is a sustainable construction material to choose. Permanently capturing carbon dioxide, using timber from sustainable, replanted forests helps reduce your impact year after year. 

In contrast, composite boards demand more energy in production and retain a high oil content. And whilst recycled materials form the basis of some, they’re impossible to recycle at the end of their service life. The boards are doomed for landfill, unlike timber.

When you’re trying to do the right thing, timber is the only choice.


Questions to ask your timber decking supplier

Always ask to see relevant documentation so you know exactly what you’re choosing. Any reputable supplier will provide this before you ask for it.

1.    Are the boards pressure treated to Use Class 3?

2.    Is the structural timber treated to Use Class 4?

3.    Can they confirm your timber is sustainably sourced?

4.    What warranty will you have?

5.    And for anti-slip timber decking, what’s the PTV score?


By taking time to understand the complex specification of decking, and by appreciating the value of anti-slip decking to your park, you’ll gain a deck that serves you and your customers for years, safely and sustainably.

We’re happy to answer your queries about timber and anti-slip decking. Treating all our timber on-site, we can also help you with treatment questions. Please call us on 01482 338950 or visit https://www.wj-group.co.uk/deckwright.

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