If you're constructing a new deck, you will probably have already put a great deal of time and effort into choosing the right materials to build it from, and many deck builders forego modern metals and plastics for the solidity, reliability and attractive looks of timber. However, if you choose to construct your deck from wood, the specific type of wood you choose is also important, as some varieties of timber as far more suited to deck building than others.
Australia has the edge on other countries when it comes to finding suitable timber for deck building, as a wide variety of her unique, native tress provide woods capable of withstanding inclement weather, heavy foot traffic and all the other difficulties a deck must endure. Spotted gum, taken from a species of eucalypt tree, is a particularly useful timber, and constructing your new deck from spotted gum can have a number of advantages:
Unlike some other commonly used decking timbers, such as pine and spruce, spotted gum is a hardwood, and it has all of the durability such a classification would imply. Compared to most softwoods, spotted gum is dense and rigid, protecting it against dents caused by heavy impacts and dropped loads as well as preventing wear caused by heavy foot traffic around doors and steps.
Spotted gum is also naturally resistant to more subtle forms of damage, and the timber naturally contains oils and compounds that inhibit the growth of mould and fungal rot. While these natural oils should always be supplemented with anti-fungal wood treatments, they give spotted gum the edge when it comes to resisting mould and damp, a particularly useful quality if yor deck is not raised and sits close to damp earth.
As you can imagine, this durability means that a spotted gum deck can last for a long time when well cared for. If anti-fungal treatments are kept up, and the surface is occasionally sanded down to prevent it wearing smooth, a spotted gum can see decades of safe, enjoyable use.
The density and rigidity of spotted gum contributes to its immense load-bearing strength, and the timber is particularly useful for creating raised decks with vertical supporting beams. Spotted gum is also useful if you are crafting a larger deck that will hold heavy objects, such as large barbecue pits and outdoor dining sets.
Dense woods are generally more difficult to work with than their weaker cousins, but spotted gum has a prominent, relatively uniform grain that makes the timber easier to work with than many tropical hardwoods. Spotted gum is therefore an attractive timber option if you are constructing your deck yourself, and is especially useful for custom deck designs that will require modification of existing beams and boards.
Despite all of these great practical qualities, spotted gum is far from all style and no substance. The wood's attractive and easily-visible grain, combined with the eponymous spots that dot some varieties of spotted gum timber, make for a very distinctive and attractive look. The wood is also available in a variety of shades, from ale golds to rich reds and browns, so you can always find a spotted gum deck that matches the overall aesthetic of your home.
Reach out to a decking timber supplier for more information and guidance.