- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 03 Mar 2021
Garden decking is a popular garden feature, enjoyed as a social area for family occasions or a dedicated space for alfresco dining. However, wooden decking can require regular maintenance, which can take some of the enjoyment out of using it. Here, Nick Cowley, managing director of exterior cladding and outdoor living product provider Endurawood, explores why aluminium is an ideal alternative decking material.
Decking has been a popular garden feature since the 1990s and is still sought after in many gardens today. The panelling provides an attractive space for outdoor activities, removing the maintenance of mowing a grass lawn, and is usually quicker to instal compared to a patio.
Traditionally, decking has been made from timber, which is desired for its attractive aesthetic and can add a touch of modernism to outdoor décor. However, wooden decking can present a number of maintenance and safety issues, which can prove time consuming and costly for property owners. As the most widely used non-ferrous metal in the world, aluminium offers a number of benefits to the outdoor living industry and is able to tackle many of these challenges.
 Warped panels
Arguably one of the biggest maintenance challenges garden decking faces is its susceptibility to warping under hot temperatures. When the panels become too warm, they can swell and bow out of shape, causing them to expand. Not only is this a costly inconvenience as panels must be replaced, but warping can pose a danger, particularly to families with children who may injure themselves on the panels.
Aluminium is commonly used to form structures that cannot risk warping or bending. Notably, the material was first widely used in the construction of New York's Empire State Building, and the building’s basic structure and components were completed in aluminium. The building reigned as the world’s tallest structure for almost 40 years, and still stands without any structural implications today.
While this task is one that many garden enthusiasts take pride in, wood coated aluminium eliminates the chance of natural fading and the demand for yearly re-staining. This means that homeowners can enjoy the woodgrain finish of their decking for many years, without the hassle of maintaining its colour.
 Slippery surface
Although garden decking is predominantly used during the summer when there is minimal rain, it’s important that it remains safe to use during all seasons. For example, decking can become slippery from rain, ice or snow, but is safe to use once the it has dried. Moss on the other hand is a persistent problem for wooden decking and can make the deck extremely slippery to walk on.
Moss retains moisture and grows when there is a build-up of leaves and debris on the decking, causing it to become slippery and dangerous to walk on. While there are methods available to eradicate moss, it can become a nuisance if it must be removed multiple times a year.
Choosing wood coated aluminium decking such as Endurawood, which is slip, freeze and frost resistant, means that it is safe to use in all weather conditions. Furthermore, moss is unable to grow on the wood coating, removing the need for regular maintenance.
With summer around the corner, now might be an appropriate time to consider replacing your wooden decking with an alternative material. The wooden aesthetic of timber has made it a popular decking material for many years, but aluminium decking is demonstrating that it’s still possible to achieve this look, without the maintenance challenges. With resistance to warping, anti-slip properties and colour protection, aluminium is sure to put the enjoyment back into your garden decking, all year round.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Resource addresses pandemic-related NEC4 contract issues.
Incorporating EDI into the provision of fair access.
Government announces global innovation strategy.
An architectural biography. Book review.
The house where the future king of France lived.
The teacher, architectural technologist and mum offers her insights.
Careful planning needed as supply chain issues continue.
The sensitive conversion of a neglected Cornwall structure.
Plan stresses local involvement in city, town and village development.
Environment Agency publishes BAT guidance.
CLC guidance outlines carbon reduction priorities.
Making the most of a staycation.