Hire the best Decking Expert

Treated Pine vs Hardwood decking timber - pros and cons?

Results 1 to 29 of 29
  1. #1
    Zoe
    Zoe is offline
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SW Sydney
    Posts
    38

    Default Treated Pine vs Hardwood decking timber - pros and cons?

    Hi all,

    We are embarking on our deck in the next few months (as most of you probably know already) and now we have a debarkle about which timber to use. I am stuck on the idea of using hardwood (Jarrah or Merbau), but my other half is not convinced and is talking about using treated pine instead.

    I have issues with pine including its longevity (durability), toxicity with young children and pets and also the general look of the timber (I've read in here that it doesn't take staining too well).

    Could I ask some of you to put forward some arguements both for and against each type of timber (well, treated pine vs hardwood) so we have have a solid ground for making our decision? Let me know of your experiences (or what you may have heard) with using softwood and hardwood for outside decking.

    It would be greatly appreciated!

    The deck will have a roof over it, but will be subjected to strong westerly sun in the afternoons.

    Many thanks,

    Zoe.

  2. #2
    Mr Sexy Beast dazzler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Northern Rivers NSW
    Age
    56
    Posts
    964

    Default

    Whats that saying about quality - price is long forgotten but quality remains or semething.

    I would only use pine decking if there was a termite issue, but even then proper design can reduce this issue for the decking.

    Pine looks like pine looks llike pine looks like pine....................................

    We have pine deck out the back made by the previous owner and I am building a hardwood deck out the front. I will post up the pics as soon as its finished so we can compare the look.
    I just love sheepies!

  3. #3
    Zoe
    Zoe is offline
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SW Sydney
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Hi Dazzler - many thanks for you reply

    I will look forward to seeing your pictures!

  4. #4
    Old Chippy 6K
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    71
    Posts
    6,582

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
    Hi all,

    I have issues with pine including its longevity (durability), toxicity with young children and pets and also the general look of the timber (I've read in here that it doesn't take staining too well).

    Zoe.
    Dazzler's right on at least one score - it's pine and many chippy's and DIYers are not radiata's greatest fans - my forester mates called them the 'rats of the forest' . . . , but really it is more an aesthetic and personal choice. Longevity is fine, toxicity as you describe is not an issue (although inhaling the sawdust of any timber especially treated is unwise) - the general look is the nub really (and cost and ease of working can be too).

    TP is that green/grey uneven colour and weathers to a silvery grey colour - some like that some don't. If you want that rich timber grained look then HW is the only choice as pine look very ordinary with any stain (although if you coat using opaque deck finishes of timber or regular paint colours it looks fine). I quite like the TP natural look with the translucent silicone based protectants applied - they are easy to maintain the coating goes on with three initial coats and another each 12mths or so. Both choices have technical issues - main thing is that both will require maintenance and the biggest problems arise (after initial installation and coating) because that is not carried out soon enough - or at all.

    I use TP sub-floor and HW decking mostly, but have put in TP decking that people love - especially around pools or on wet and salty coastal areas. Many will offer various technical reasons for their preference - but it remains a preference - the technical pros and cons can be made for each. Biggest issue is - what do you like and are prepared to live with.

    BTW - I reckon it's your choice not his - while they'll put in their view up front few blokes really think it is important for very long - most women will. But that's just this one persons view . . .

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    61
    Posts
    173

    Default

    Zoe,

    I agree that stained hardwood looks better than stained tp, but what about painting the deck. I built a gazebo last year, used treated pine for everything except the rafters, and painted the whole thing, floor was terracotta red to match the garden pavers all else white (blue mini-orb colorbond roof) - the blue and white was to match the house. We were/are very happy with the look - I know the tp will last longer than we want to live here - and it was much cheaper than hardwood.

    Only tip if you paint is to paint all the bits before you connect them together - that way they are still sealed if there is movement.

    Cheers,
    Adam

  6. #6
    Rigid Member UteMad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    sydney
    Posts
    821

    Default

    Besides the ugliness of pine .. there is also the density difference with pine approx 500kg/m3 and entry hwd starting around 850kg/m3 up to ironbark at around 1350kg/m3.. Density is a good indicator of surface hardness or less ability to dent and mark
    Fire retardency .. Hwd like merbau and ironbark have a great smolder rating where pine decking is just considered flamable

    less ugly knots in hwd

    pine tends to use more oil to coat and recoat versus hwd

    If you need more reasons then go pine

    cheers utemad

  7. #7
    Zoe
    Zoe is offline
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SW Sydney
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Thanks guys for all your advice.

    In all honesty I am dead keen on hardwood - it's the other half I have to convince! I've never liked pine (yes, I have a slight bias towards hardwood and I am a great believer of the "you get what you pay for" (on the whole at least)).

    What you have all said will definitely be helpful.

    Thanks utemad for those stats on the density - as marking will probably be an issue which I can bring up. I'm hoping the other half will agree that we don't want to spend thousands on a deck only to have it marked by shoes or chairs!

    And seriously - ANY other reasons why HWD would be better over pine would be greatly appreciated!

  8. #8
    Zoe
    Zoe is offline
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SW Sydney
    Posts
    38

    Default

    I am a litte concerned about termites though - as they are VERY prevalent in our area (we just have two huge gums removed from next door which were full of live termites).

    I read somewhere in this forum that someone had seen termites travel over hardwood to get to treated pine - would this be a true indication?

    Would we need to get treated hardwood if we were to choose hardwood for our deck? I don't want to be erecting a termite magnet!

  9. #9
    Tool Whore - 1K Club Member Vernonv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Armidale NSW
    Age
    51
    Posts
    1,181

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
    I read somewhere in this forum that someone had seen termites travel over hardwood to get to treated pine - would this be a true indication?
    Do you have that back to front? I don't know about treated pine, but termites will certainly travel over non desirable timber to get the desirable stuff.
    Cheers.

    Vernon.
    __________________________________________________
    Bite off more than you can chew and then chew like crazy.

  10. #10
    GeoffW1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sydney Australia
    Age
    75
    Posts
    605

    Default Toxicity of treated pine

    Hi,

    I think the toxicity of CCA treated pine certainly IS an issue, even though the arsenic used is the pentavalent form, which is not actually the notorious poison. It means really you should seal any EXISTING treated pine which can regularly come into contact with persons' skin, whether with a clear sealer or otherwise.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/...649203062.html

    The relevant Aust Government authority has banned it from use in new decking and handrails from Mar 2006.

    http://www.ecovoice.com.au/evonline/...ine-evo30.html

    It has been known for some years that arsenic can leach out in small quantities from the timber, and it is now recommended that root vegetables not be grown near it (within 100mm)

    http://www.ensisjv.com/ResearchCapab...6/Default.aspx

    Cheers
    Last edited by GeoffW1; 5th Feb 2009 at 07:40 PM. Reason: clarification

  11. #11
    Zoe
    Zoe is offline
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SW Sydney
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Vernonv View Post
    Do you have that back to front? I don't know about treated pine, but termites will certainly travel over non desirable timber to get the desirable stuff.
    Hi Vernonv - nope! That's what I read - that termites would prefer to munch on the treated pine than the hardwood. (Unless the pine wasn't treated either? )

  12. #12
    Tool Whore - 1K Club Member Vernonv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Armidale NSW
    Age
    51
    Posts
    1,181

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
    Hi Vernonv - nope! That's what I read - that termites would prefer to munch on the treated pine than the hardwood. (Unless the pine wasn't treated either? )
    Hi Zoe,
    I seriously doubt that termites will attack treated pine in preference to almost anything. Doing so would kill them. Maybe, as you say, the pine wasn't treated.

    When building our deck I had a couple of thousand metres of mixed species hardwood decking laying in a pile (slightly off the ground and under a tarp) ... and it only took a couple of weeks for the termites to get stuck into it. Yet I have lots of treated pine sleeper either buried or lying on the ground and the termites have never touched them.
    Cheers.

    Vernon.
    __________________________________________________
    Bite off more than you can chew and then chew like crazy.

  13. #13
    Reno Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Rocky
    Age
    51
    Posts
    100

    Default

    After doing very minimal research I was able to discover that termites will eat any timber . Even treated pine if they have nothing else to eat. Like anything they will take the path of least resistance. If they have an easy meal of leaf litter or an old tree stump etc why would they want pressure treated pine? But that being said they will do just about anything for a feed.

    If you keep moisture out or at least build your deck in a way that does not trap moisture and don't make it easy for termites to get to then you have a fighting chance of steering them away from your place (and into your neighbors place ).

  14. #14
    Rigid Member UteMad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    sydney
    Posts
    821

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
    I am a litte concerned about termites though - as they are VERY prevalent in our area (we just have two huge gums removed from next door which were full of live termites).

    I read somewhere in this forum that someone had seen termites travel over hardwood to get to treated pine - would this be a true indication?

    Would we need to get treated hardwood if we were to choose hardwood for our deck? I don't want to be erecting a termite magnet!

    Heard off a bloke that did a termite inspection that they found termites over 20 floors up in a concrete lift shaft eating a bit of form ply that was left there.. I haven't seen termites eating hardwood boards on a ventilated deck to this day yet and i've seen plenty of stuffed decks.. Termites dont like the light so my rockoning is with the boards facing the sun that they are too thin for enjoyable eating.. could be wrong but like i say never seen it

    cheers utemad

  15. #15
    Zoe
    Zoe is offline
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SW Sydney
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Well here's the thing, the half of the deck will be sitting on top of an existing raised cement slab (1m off the ground) and the remaining deck will be 3m our from this slab. We are going to raise the timbers slightly off the slab (it can only be minimal because of the height of the base of the back door).

    I'm wondering how much airflow (in cm) would be required to maintain adequate airflow?

    We are looking to put an insulated roof over the top so this should reduce any water on underside of the timbers, but it means the deck will not have the 'protection' of full sun to keep any termites at bay.

    Do you think maybe that treated hardwood might be the way to go? Is this readily available? And does anyone have any idea of any price difference? I would LOVE to have the deck done in iron bark (my absolute FAVOURITE timber), but I doubt this will be possible so I'm hoping for either jarrah or merbau. Does anyone have any idea of the price and avilablity of these timbers treated?

  16. #16
    Old Chippy 6K
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    71
    Posts
    6,582

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffW1 View Post
    Hi,

    I think the toxicity of CCA treated pine certainly IS an issue, even though the arsenic used is the pentavalent form, which is not actually the notorious poison. It means really you should seal any EXISTING treated pine which can regularly come into contact with persons' skin, whether with a clear sealer or otherwise.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/...649203062.html

    The relevant Aust Government authority has banned it from use in new decking and handrails from Mar 2006.

    http://www.ecovoice.com.au/evonline/...ine-evo30.html
    It has been known for some years that arsenic can leach out in small quantities from the timber, and it is now recommended that root vegetables not be grown near it (within 100mm)
    http://www.ensisjv.com/ResearchCapab...6/Default.aspx
    Cheers
    The risk with CAA is very low and in any case CCA pine has not been available for sale and use in Oz for a long time. There are other newer TP options and they are fine to use AND are recommended by governments. The TP Zoe would be getting will not be CCA TP so all those sites are not relevant. Just don't burn them or eat or breathe in the dust of any timber - but that's a safety tip for all dusts.

    Get accurate info and make sure it is relevant. Creating fear doesn't help anyone - using solid evidence to get informed and taking care and sensible precautions does.

  17. #17
    Old Chippy 6K
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    71
    Posts
    6,582

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by binda View Post
    After doing very minimal research I was able to discover that termites will eat any timber . Even treated pine if they have nothing else to eat. .
    What the?!! Nonsense. Well I suppose they might try - once, then they die . . .

    Look at the evidence from authoritative sources and ignore anecdote & rumour.

  18. #18
    Senior Member TermiMonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
    Age
    63
    Posts
    424

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloss View Post
    What the?!! Nonsense. Well I suppose they might try - once, then they die . . .

    Look at the evidence from authoritative sources and ignore anecdote & rumour.
    Termites are sacrificial. e.g.If a gallery is breached, the soldiers will come out to protect the breach while the workers seal up the breach behind them. (Obviously, the soldiers will die)
    Similarly, the workers will chew through anything to get to a food source. I have seen treated pine studs with termite trails through them. The workers are sacrificed for the good of the colony. This is fact. And is put forth by authoritative sources eg CSIRO, but I can't give reference (and am not really interested in spending valuable time looking it up).
    Believe it or not, termites will chew through Treated Pine, it's just not high on their list of favorites.
    cheers,
    TM.
    Last edited by TermiMonster; 7th Feb 2009 at 11:16 AM. Reason: spelling

  19. #19
    GeoffW1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sydney Australia
    Age
    75
    Posts
    605

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloss View Post
    The risk with CAA is very low and in any case CCA pine has not been available for sale and use in Oz for a long time. There are other newer TP options and they are fine to use AND are recommended by governments. The TP Zoe would be getting will not be CCA TP so all those sites are not relevant. Just don't burn them or eat or breathe in the dust of any timber - but that's a safety tip for all dusts.

    Get accurate info and make sure it is relevant. Creating fear doesn't help anyone - using solid evidence to get informed and taking care and sensible precautions does.
    Hi,

    Ahh, not sure about all that, people. Accurate info, yes, certainly we do need it. That's what I tried for, but you can't win everybody.

    CCA treated pine is still widely available, and a call to any supplier will confirm it (as I did).

    Quite true though, and I did not mention it, the new arsenic free pine treatment is now becoming widely available in decking, after one brand name had a monopoly on it for some years here.

    As for suggesting I was trying to create fear, well, .........I wonder do you look under the bed each night ? ;-]]

    Cheers
    Last edited by GeoffW1; 7th Feb 2009 at 12:00 PM. Reason: wrong tone

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    sunbury, vic
    Posts
    182

    Default

    Hey Zoe, just my 2c worth.

    ive used treated pine decking a few times and have found that the flat side on most are pretty crappy, knots splits etc and ended having to put the reeded side up which I dont like.

    If price is an issue and your on a tight budget then go treated pine as the price difference is huge.

    If you want a decking that will look amazing then there is no comparison go hardwood, even better an australian timber in wide board looks awesome.

    As for your concern about termites I dont think this will be an issue, as your height off the ground is at least 1m it will be easy to conduct regular inspections to see if the little buggers are getting in, use steel or t/p posts and ant caps and you should be able to see them.

  21. #21
    Old Chippy 6K
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    71
    Posts
    6,582

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
    Hi Vernonv - nope! That's what I read - that termites would prefer to munch on the treated pine than the hardwood. (Unless the pine wasn't treated either? )
    Zoe - you didn't read that from any reputable source - it is just wrong.

  22. #22
    Old Chippy 6K
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    71
    Posts
    6,582

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TermiMonster View Post
    Believe it or not, termites will chew through Treated Pine, it's just not high on their list of favorites.
    cheers,
    TM.
    My comment about dying was a joke joyce (hence the ).

    But what you describe just ain't so. Happy to see any authoritative reference site that says otherwise.

    Read what CSIRO has to say about termites here: http://www.csiro.au/resources/Termites.html

    BTW - The answer to Zoe's question remains the same - either choice will do - just decide on the decking, build the deck and enjoy.
    I'm on me bike on this thread.

  23. #23
    Zoe
    Zoe is offline
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SW Sydney
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Wow,

    There's quite a few differing opinions there but definately some sound advice among them. I will be sure to talk to our builder about exactly which TYPE of treated pine he will be using and go from there. I am fairly decided about the type of timber (for the decking boards - I'd love iron bark or jarrah - fat chance though considering what I've heard on here about availablilty!), it's just trying to convince my other half about NOT using treated pine. I work in a lab and so would really prefer NOT to use anything soaked or pressure treated with any kind of chemical which is a poison of any kind. Thank you all so very much for the info you've given me.

    I would honestly rather save up a few more months and get the hardwood over the pine, but again, as I said, it's simply a matter of convincing my other half.
    I was wondering - it ant-capping normal for decking supports? Are they much more expense on top of a normal deck to install? I would much prefer to have them than not.

    Thanks again everyone so much for your help and ideas! This forum is truely amazing.


  24. #24
    Senior Member TermiMonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
    Age
    63
    Posts
    424

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloss View Post

    But what you describe just ain't so. Happy to see any authoritative reference site that says otherwise.
    I understand that from reading that ref you may think what I said is wrong, but I was required to what several days of CSIRO research vids, etc at one stage, a few years ago (re termites) and I can assure you, what I say is so. But you can believe what you will, I don't have refs to hand and am not interested in spending hours looking them up.
    cheers
    TM

  25. #25
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Samford, Qld
    Posts
    70

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
    I was wondering - it ant-capping normal for decking supports? Are they much more expense on top of a normal deck to install? I would much prefer to have them than not.
    No, not at all expensive. I bought some recently. Can't remember how much they cost, but pretty sure it was only a couple of $ each.

  26. #26
    Zoe
    Zoe is offline
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SW Sydney
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoff View Post
    No, not at all expensive. I bought some recently. Can't remember how much they cost, but pretty sure it was only a couple of $ each.

    Fantastic! Thanks Hoff

  27. #27
    Senior Member Ashwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    SE suburbs, Melbourne
    Age
    59
    Posts
    225

    Default

    To add to the mix, just note that ant caps do not stop termites, they only force the termites to have to go around the caps to get to their destination so that you can inspect and see them. Having said that, it might provide a slight deterrent, esp. if there is adequate light since termites like the dark.

    Re treated hardwood, not sure if they sell them, but quite often, after building the structure, the council surveyor may ask that you get a termite guy to spray toxic stuff on it. You can do that before you put the decking on, if you are not happy to have all the poison within touch.

  28. #28
    Zoe
    Zoe is offline
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SW Sydney
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashwood View Post
    To add to the mix, just note that ant caps do not stop termites, they only force the termites to have to go around the caps to get to their destination so that you can inspect and see them. Having said that, it might provide a slight deterrent, esp. if there is adequate light since termites like the dark.

    Re treated hardwood, not sure if they sell them, but quite often, after building the structure, the council surveyor may ask that you get a termite guy to spray toxic stuff on it. You can do that before you put the decking on, if you are not happy to have all the poison within touch.

    Hey Ashwood,

    That is a really great tip - many thanks for that. I have finally won the battle in convincing my other half to go hardwood - although it was our builder who eventually convinced him I think, even after warning us of the price increase compared with pine.

    I will try and do as you say - have the treatment put on AFTER the build, we need to get our house termite inspected for this year anyway, so we might get both things done at the same time.

    Many thanks once again for taking the time to give your thoughts

  29. #29
    Mr Sexy Beast dazzler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Northern Rivers NSW
    Age
    56
    Posts
    964

    Default Photos - hardwood v pine

    Hi

    Finally got around to getting the pics up - sorry for the delay;

    deck-corner.jpg

    deck-front.jpg

    deck-verandah.jpg

    web9_feb_066.jpg

    web9_feb_067.jpg

    web9_feb_038_-800x600-.jpg

    web9_feb_062.jpg

    cheers
    I just love sheepies!


Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 17
    Last Post: 16th Feb 2009, 05:27 PM
  2. HW decking over Treated Pine?
    By Bleedin Thumb in forum Decking
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 29th Jan 2008, 02:43 PM
  3. roofing iron pros/cons
    By zongatron in forum Roofing
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 14th Dec 2007, 09:17 PM
  4. Pool Deck - Timber: Treated Pine or H'Wood
    By Decker in forum Decking
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 24th Sep 2007, 08:59 PM
  5. treated pine vs hardwood for bearers and joists outdoors
    By russ34 in forum Structural Renovation
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 14th Dec 2006, 07:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •