Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Timber Flooring & Decking Options in 2021

  • Choosing, Buying
  • Published: 10 September, 2021
  • Updated: 10 September, 2021
Jarrah timber decking overlooking a lake

Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Timber Flooring & Decking Options in 2021

Timber deckings are great. They allow you to enjoy the outdoors from your own home, especially if you have a view to behold.

There are many different options to choose when it comes to flooring for your decking. Traditionally, hardwoods were the ‘go to’ when it comes to decking material. However, recent technology has brought a contender into the market – a wood plastic composite (WPC) decking which is 100% waterproof and fire retardant.

This article will break down the key considerations when investing in an outdoor decking and help you make a decision based on what your individual requirements are. We’ll explore the costs involved, material comparison and a maintenance guide so you can confidently make the right choice.

Step 1: Understanding Outdoor Flooring Options

Real Timber Flooring Decking

Traditionally, outdoor deckings have been made of solid hardwoods coated in water/oil-based lacquer. There are dozens of hardwood species to choose from and many different finishes (gloss, matt, semigloss, etc.) when it comes to timber staining. When wear and tear catch up to your hardwood decking, you can sand down and refinish them for a fresh new look!

Benefits of Timber Decking:

  1. Authentic Timber is a Statement – Timber decking adds significant value to your property and is a gorgeous addition to your outdoor design. This makes timber deckings great for investment properties as well as personal use.
  2. Timber Can be Refinished – One of the benefits of solid timber floors is that they can be sanded and polished when they begin to lose their gleam. Refinishing your wood floors will make them look fresh as new, just like when they were first installed.
  3. Property Value – Hardwoods have the largest positive impact on your housing resale value, and that includes outdoor timber deckings made of solid authentic hardwood.

Timber yard sawn wood

Outdoor Composite Decking (WPC)

Composite decking is made of a ‘Wood-Plastic Composite’ which can be abbreviated to WPC. Composite WPC deckings have recently entered the Australian market and are growing in popularity due to benefits which traditional timbers cannot provide.

Benefits of Composite Decking:

  1. Waterproof – Composite decking is 100% waterproof so you won’t need to worry about heavy rainfall or humid climates. This means a composite outdoor decking won’t have the risk of rotting or warping like timber floors.
  2. Durable – Composite decks are more scratch and dent resistant than natural hardwoods which makes them easier to maintain.
  3. Low Maintenance – Composite deckings don’t require refinishing and new lacquer coatings every other year or so. This saves you significant amounts of money and time down the line.

Whilst they are often considered ‘invincible’ in nature, you’ll find limited colour options in composite decking compared to the vast array of real timber species. Another drawback is that composite decking is simply not real wood, which may detract from the aesthetic if that’s what you are looking for.

WPC Composite decking co-extrusion

Step 2: Understanding Outdoor Decking Costs

When it comes to cost considerations, purchasing and installing a hardwood floor is slightly more expensive compared to composite WPC options. A significant factor that can influence the overall cost is where you intend to install the outdoor deck.

Uneven grounds will require levelling which can be expensive depending on the severity. This is mostly digging and preparing a concrete base with joists as a stable and level foundation for the decking. It is difficult to estimate the cost of levelling as it varies a lot case by case. You will most likely require an expert to provide an on-site inspection for a subfloor preparation quote.

Outdoor Timber Wood Decking Costs:

Material Cost:

You can typically expect to pay anywhere between $80 up to $120 per square metre for timber decking, supply only. The cost of timber plank material will vary significantly depending on the species of timber, thickness and width you choose.

Installation Cost:

Timber decking installations are very difficult and not recommended as DIY projects unless you have extensive experience. There are different components to installing a decking:

  1. Decking Installation – Timber flooring must be installed with screws which installers generally charge $50 – $100 per square metre depending on the elevation. The higher the decking, the more expensive it is to install.
  2. Timber Sealing – Raw timber deckings will require lacquer coatings to seal up the wood. This protects the wood from water, insects, sunlight and general wear and tear. Sanding and sealing typically costs around $50 per square metre.

Maintenance Cost:

Timber deckings require recoating every year or two to maintain a good look. You can expect to pay anywhere between $40 – $60 per square metre for a full refinish and fresh lacquer coating. If timber staining is required, this is usually an additional $20 – $30 per square metre for material and labour.

Polishing timber decking with polyurethane lacquer

Outdoor Composite Decking Costs:

Material Cost:

Composite WPC Decking costs $90 – $100 per square metre for supply only in Sydney as of 2021. Prices vary depending on the width, however most lie within this range.

Installation Cost:

It is slightly easier to install a composite deck compared to hardwood floors. Furthermore, WPC Composite decks do not require lacquer sealing as they are already very durable and waterproof. This makes it overall a little more affordable than solid timber flooring.

You can expect to pay anywhere between $40 – $60 per square metre of general decking floor installation, however customisable specifics and the level of elevation can increase the price.

Maintenance Cost:

As a composite deck does not require refinishing, they are very cheap to maintain. An annual deep-clean will require your own tools and time as you won’t need to hire a professional. Of course, you can hire a handyman or cleaner if you are a busy person.

Outdoor decking overlooking a mountain range

Conclusion – Best Outdoor Timber Decking

The best outdoor decking really depends on what you are looking for. Composite decking is growing in popularity as they are functionally more durable and waterproof than timber decking. However, hardwood coverings are more beautiful and can boost property value. In the end, it really depends on the reason and where you intend to install the decking.

Feel free to contact us for advice or a quick quote. At FloorVenue, we supply both wood timber decking and composite decking, as well as professional installation services.


The best outdoor flooring depends on what qualities you are looking for. For functional durability and ease of maintenance, we recommend composite deckings which have been growing in popularity as they are fully waterproof and more durable than timber options. If you are going for the natural beauty of hardwood, you will have many beautiful decking options to choose from in the solid timber ranges.

Treated pine or hardwoods with a high Janka rating (timber hardness scale) like Spotted Gum (Janka Rating 11.0kN) or Jarrah (Janka Rating 8.5kN) are perfect when it comes to building an outdoor deck. Not only are they very durable, but many hardwoods like Silver Stringybark and Yellow Stringybark are also naturally water-resistant making them excellent decking coverings.

When it comes to choosing a timber species for outdoor deckings, you will want to consider durability and water/rot resistance on the functional side, on top of a great colour that suits your decor.

Choose a species of timber that has high durability like Coastal Blackbutt which has a janka rating of 9.1 kN or Spotted Gum which has a Janka rating of 11.0 kN. If you are looking for a red majestic tone, Merbau or Jarrah are both popular for deckings.

It is unviable to purchase a fully built decking as every site is unique. However, there are innovative solutions like modular decking which makes them easier and DIY friendly to install. The drawback is that these are less customisable and are more limited when it comes to designs.

Composite Decking is a newer decking material that has been introduced into Australia more recently and is available in Sydney. These are made of a wood and polymer composition (WPC) that is more durable and resilient to the elements than timber counterparts. Furthermore, they are 100% waterproof as WPC materials are synthetically designed to be impervious to moisture.

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