Articles: What Timbers Are Best For Decking?

The most ideal choice

Teak Decking
Teak Decking

If this isn’t the first article you’ve clicked on regarding the best timbers for decking I’m sure you’ve found many suggestions for the all round best decking timber to be Teak wood.

What you may not have found out is that Teak isn’t available to import in the country at present which means that unless you can find a supplier who already has it in stock you must find alternatives.

This limited stock availability in the country creates disparity between supply and demand which in turn, inflates the cost of Teak in the UK, making it difficult to justify when comparing it with some of the best marine timbers on the market.

The best decking timbers

To define what makes a timber best suited for decking we need to consider a few factors. It’s resilience, its moisture movement, and its maintenance.

The UK’s weather is unpredictable and sometimes unforgiving so you need a timber that can take a beating and still hold firm against the elements. Marine Timbers are the best contenders for durability and are often used in ship construction to battle the harsh waves and bitter conditions at sea.

Alongside their extreme density, marine timbers also have excellent stability and will hold their shape under the roughest environments. They also have brilliant resistance to rot and pests thanks to their natural defenses which allow them to be left untreated but still reach impressive longevities.

The marine timbers we supply are Greenheart, Ekki and Opepe. All of these timbers are brilliant substitutes to Teak and each of them have their own unique advantages.

Teak’s top competition

Greenheart is possibly the closest you can get to Teak without the import issues which make it the top contender for decking, its superior qualities do come at a cost though and Greenheart pricing is on the premium side which may lead to you looking for cheaper substitutes.

Additionally, whilst more available than Teak due to import regulations, Greenheart can still be somewhat difficult to get a hold of. As a result, Ekki is offered as a substitute.

Ekki is has a darker aesthetic and offers comparable strength to Greenhearts D70 strength grade and boasts a respectable D60 strength grade, which is more than ample for of use as a decking and protection against any scuffs or marks that you expect from an outdoor high traffic area.

Greenheart is offered to those who want the best, but we do supply a range of Tropical Hardwoods alongside our marine timbers, all with their own unique aesthetics and qualities. They might not be as expensive as Greenheart but due to their impressive durability and low moisture movement they are especially well suited for decking.

The best all rounders

We are able to source a variety of tropical and marine timbers for your decking needs but we do have a few on our website that you can get an instant price using our calculator. We firmly believe that tropical timbers strike the best balance between value and quality as a decking timber. These timbers include:

Yellow Balau is our most popular seller as it offers tropical hardwood strength and durability for the best price. Cumaru is our second best seller and is superior to Balau in every way, including rot resistances and pest protection. As you can imagine it has a bigger price tag as a result. Then finally our Itauba is the sweet spot in-between, its not as quite as tough as Balau and Cumaru but it has comparable resistance against decay and pests to Cumaru whilst only being slightly more expensive than Balau, it's also more than hard enough as a decking option.

Whilst tropical timbers seem like the kings of decking they aren't your only options. We do have two other popular picks which have their own advantages.

Most cost effective timber

Siberian Larch is a very popular economical option for decking as it is an exceptionally high density softwood due to its natural environment east of the Yenisei Valley in Siberia. These harsh conditions bolster the timber especially in the winter months against the frost and snow.

It isn’t as stable as its tropical competition and it does need to be sealed to minimize moisture movement. But once sufficiently treated, Siberian Larch makes an excellent decking and will last for decades to come.

On the topic of softwoods, you often see Cedar suggested as an option for decking. At iWood Timber we advise against it. Whilst Cedar has a fantastic aesthetic and has minimal moisture movement, it is a soft softwood and it isn’t recommended for a high traffic area such as decking.

The iWood option

As we’re an oak specialist you knew oak decking was going to make its way onto this list and we offer it in a range of decking profiles too. Oak is as durable as it is aesthetic and looks fantastic when installed, available in two grades: Prime and Light Character depending on whether you like a more traditional or modern look.

Whether you choose Prime or Light character, sealing the oak is required to prevent moisture movement. If moisture gets into the oak it is prone to swelling which can lead to warping and distortion.

Treatment requirements

We do not supply our timber pre-treated so you will have to source the treatments yourself. We do recommend our affiliate, as they are the experts when it comes to wood finishes.

If you’ve done your homework and you’re after a timber we don’t have listed here in our decking suggestions you’re more than welcome to make an enquiry and we’d be happy to source and supply it for you. Please send an email through to or give us a call on 01889 592 281, alternatively you can chat to us directly online using our online chat.