Newcastle’s Composite & Timber Decking Specialists



The correct design, installation and maintenance of decks are vital to ensure that this part of the home will look fantastic for many years after construction.

There’s a lot of factors to take into consideration when it comes to choosing a deck. One of the main ones is your choice of either traditional timber, a composite option or a fibre cement deck. They all have their pros and cons and it’s important you know all the information so you can select the right option to meet your criteria for your job, as each job site will be unique.

Factors to take into consideration to help you choose the right product:

  • Type of deck build – What’s the subfloor? What is the span between your joists?
  • Location of the deck – is it close to the ground or near a pool?
  • Is it in a bushfire area and will require a BAL rated product?
  • Is a slip rating important to you? This is most common in commercial applications but is also a consideration around a pool.
  • What type of look are you trying to achieve? A traditional timber look, or something more modern?
  • Warranty – including fade and stain
  • Ongoing maintenance of the product
  • Do you need a screening or posts to match in or complement?
  • Does sustainability matter to you?

Let’s be honest, there’s A LOT to choose from in the decking market and it can get overwhelming with all the options out there!

You might like the look of a particular product but how do you know that it will actually suit your criteria and application?


We’ve done all the research for you and narrowed it down to the different ones that not only do we sell at NHS, but that we would install in our very own homes.

Below we take you through all the differences between the decking options available so you can get a better idea of what would be suited to your job, whether it be a:

  • Timber deck; or a
  • Composite or fibre cement deck.

We also have dedicated Decking Specialists to assist in your inquiry. So be sure to fill out your details below if you’d like to discuss your project further. (Note - we do not do install but may be able to recommend one of our excellent trade customers)



Commonly we see people choosing a traditional timber deck for reasons like:

  • Matching your deck in with the internal flooring
  • Colour – light or darker coloured species
  • To accommodate a BAL rating specified for your area
  • To meet your budget

But there’s also a number of other factors that people sometimes miss when choosing a traditional timber deck.

  • NHS follows and will always recommend best practice building guidelines which say (in summary) that wider than 90mm decking board, you should go a thicker board, e.g. 22mm minimum for a wider board. And then we always recommend screwing rather than nailing as this will enable to perform to the best of its capability in its condition as a screw will hold better. 
  • Good building practice also says minimum ground clearance should be adhered to as per the BCA or NCC. However, if you choose a low lying decking, best practice recommends having a narrower board, as this will reduce movement of the boards and cupping.
  • There’s a common misconception that the thicker boards can span 600mm span centres for joists. Unless it’s specified or signed off by an engineer, that isn’t the case. There is a hardwood species (check it out here in this blog post), the Boral 600 NSW spotted Gum series which does suit this application and has been signed off by an engineer.
  • Is it important to know the characteristics of a species, like natural defects, e.g. gum veins, or susceptibility to surface checking or knots. This is important to know to suit your ongoing maintenance or your existing site conditions.
  • There’s more than just the common species of Treated Pine, Merbau, Spotted Gum and Blackbutt. Below are some other examples of less common species.
  • Not all hardwoods are the same. For example, mixed hardwood is a mixture of a number of species combined. This means the species collectively can all behave differently with regards to shrinkage and has no definitive BAL rating. Compare this against a single species, say, Blackbutt which is a more known species, class 1, and the expectations are more consistent as its just 1 species.
  • There can be more than 1 type of the same species. For example, QLD Spotted Gum and NSW Spotted Gum, and Coastal Blackbutt and New England Blackbutt. The characteristics are still the same but the colour will vary. So it’s important to double check this before ordering your product, especially when matching into existing features.
  • Durability classes’ explain the life expectancy and predicted performance of your deck, in an above ground application. The higher the durability class, the higher the life expectancy. Commonly they will be class 1 or 2. Ask us about these options.
  • Leaching is a natural effect in all timbers! Leaching occurs when timber releases its natural oils and resins when exposed to moisture. Merbau is one of your biggest culprits here, with Spotted Gum also renown to do this. It’s important to know that if you do choose a species that does leach, you should follow the decking oil guidelines to ensure you get the desired effect of your deck.
  • Finishing your timber decks. There’s an array of different products you can finish your timbers with to from oils to stains, and some finishes that also include further slip resistance properties. You can chat to us about the different options available to achieve your desired finish.

Below we go through a number of different species options for your timber deck:

  • Blackbutt
  • Grey Box
  • Grey Ironbark
  • Red Ironbark
  • Red Mahogany
  • Merbau
  • Spotted Gum
  • Treated Pine
  • Turpentine


AKA: Coastal Blackbutt, Pink Blackbutt or Eucalyptus pilularis

by Orton Building

by Rowan Build

by Smartview Building

Blackbutt’s heartwood ranges from golden yellow to pale brown, although occasionally a slight pinkish colour may be present. The sapwood, which can be hard to distinguish, is much paler in appearance and is naturally resistant to attack by lyctid borer. Blackbutt has an even texture and generally straight grain with some small gum veins may also be visible.

  • Durability: Class 1 above ground
  • Resistant to termites
  • Suitable for BAL 12.5, 19 and 29 ratings.


AKA: Gum-topped box or Eucalyptus Microcarpa, Eucalyptus Woollsiana,
Eucalyptus Hemiphloia, Eucalyptus moluccana (botanical)

Grey box has heartwood that is a pale, yellowish-brown with the sapwood paler in appearance. It has a fine, even texture and usually features an interlocked grain. Gum veins are rarely present. Grey box is very similar in appearance to coast grey box.

Grown in both the NSW and QLD regions, this decking is suited to the often-harsh Australian environment.

Grey Box as a species is slower to dry, so generally will not develop much surface checking.

  • Durability: Class 1 above ground
  • Resistant to termites
  • Suitable for BAL 12.5 and 19 ratings

Available by special order


AKA: White Ironbark or Eucalyptus drepanophylla, Eucalyptus siderophloia, Eucalyptus paniculata

Grey Ironbark species is a wide variety of colour as the Grey Ironbark sapwood is almost white, making it highly distinct from the heartwood. It is grown in the coastal regions of NSW and in southern Queensland.

The colour can range from light greys or light chocolate with occasional darker reds and browns, and regionally there can be more variation.

The texture is moderately coarse and the grain usually straight, occasionally interlocked.

Grey Ironbark is an extremely hard-wearing timber that makes it perfect for high traffic areas. It is susceptible to surface checking.

  • Durability: Class 1 above ground
  • Resistant to termites, and
  • Suitable for BAL 12.5 and 19 ratings.

Available by special order


AKA: Mugga or Eucalyptus sideroxylon (botanical)

Red Ironbark matched decking and flooring

Red Ironbark is a distinctive Australian hardwood, part of the eucalypts range, that grows from Victoria, through the western slopes of NSW, and into southern Queensland.

Red Ironbark heartwood is a deep dark red to red-brown. In contrast, its sapwood is a distinctive pale yellow in colour.

Red Ironbark texture is fine and even, with an interlocked grain. It is extremely dense and a very durable species, with susceptibility to surface checking.

  • Durability: Class 1 above ground
  • Resistant to termites
  • Suitable for BAL 12.5, 19 and 29 ratings

Available by special order


AKA: Red Stringybark, Red Messmate, Daintree Stringybark or Eucalyptus resinifera, Eucalyptus pellita

Red Mahogany is a hardwood species with generally a fine grain and a stunning attractive red colouring, displaying a range of deep red and pale pink hues. Different species of red mahogany grow in different regions, so the grain may vary. Generally, the heartwood is a deep, rich red in colour, but it may be lighter in younger material.

Red Mahogany has become a premium timber owing to a few factors like its durability, termite resistance, distinctive colouring and suitable for joinery. For a dense species, it has good workability.

Features like tight gum veins, gum deposits and pinhole borer discolouration do occasionally augment the appearance of Red Mahogany and pencil streak is common. It is a species that has good resistance to surface checking.

  • Durability: Class 1 above ground
  • Resistant to termites
  • Suitable for BAL 12.5 and 19 ratings.

Available by special order


AKA: Kwila, Ipil, Vesi, Johnstone River Teak or Scrub Mahogany

by Blank Projects

by DJ Mason Building Services

Merbau is a popular hardwood from South East Asia, known for its durability, rich colour and know to be commonly used in decking and outdoor furniture, for example.

When cut, it will deepen to a pale to dark reddish brown, contrasting with the sapwood. The wood grain is variable but usually interlocked or wavy. The timber has a coarse but even texture. It has a characteristic oily odour when cut. Merbau is known for releasing tannins when it comes into contact with moisture (often referred to as bleeding)

  • Durability: Class 1 above ground
  • Resistant to termites
  • Suitable for BAL 12.5, 19 and 29 ratings.


AKA: Corymbia maculata, Corymbia citriodora and Corymbia henrii

Looking for Spotted Gum decking? Did you actually know there’s 2 different species? NSW and QLD. So what’s the differece?

QLD Spotted Gum by Parkside Timber

The Parkside Timber production of QLD Spotted Gum is produced to a high standard, known as a superior product.

QLD Spotted Gum is a Class 1 above-ground durability rating, which should mean a lifespan of around 40 years (subject to good installation, site conditions and maintenance). Due to it being very dense, QLD Spotted Gum is a strong and sturdy timber.

The QLD Spotted Gum product has a natural colour variation which means that no Spotted Gum deck will look the same! When most people think of the appearance of Spotted Gum, they’re picturing the Queensland product.

QLD Spotted Gum, has a deeper and richer shade of colour, giving more natural variations than the NSW Spotted Gum, which tends to be much lighter and more uniform in colour, although still tonal.

QLD Spotted Gum has a small tannin bleed compared to some darker species, saving time in cleaning after installation.

  • Durability rating: Class 1
  • BAL 12.5, 19 and 29 ratings

NSW Spotted Gum by Boral Hardwood

NSW Spotted Gum, produced by Boral Hardwood, has a unique tonal range, comparative to its QLD counterpart, but in lighter shades. It is more comparable to Blackbutt, having fewer darker shades to create a unique mix suitable for different styles.

As the series 600 name implies, the Boral NSW 600 Series Spotted Gum decking is signed off up to 600mm span, which means that you don't need to get it engineered, saving in installation and subfloor costs.

  • Durability: Class 1 above ground
  • BAL 12.5, 19 and 29 ratings
  • All sapwood is ACQ treated to H3 to protect in an external application.


Eucalyptus Microcorys

by Newcastle Decking Specialist

by Newcastle Decking Specialist

by Newcastle Decking Specialist

One of the most naturally durable, highly dense decking. It is typically interlocked and free of gum veins. A particularly oily timber, it is recommended to let the timbers weather for 2-3 weeks before sanding, oiling etc. The heartwood colour ranges from a pale to dark yellowish brown.

Tallowwood timber products exhibit exceptional durability in both in-ground and aboveground applications, where life expectancy is greater than 25 and 40 years, respectively.

Although resistant to termite and rot, and will withstand damp and wet conditions well, its sapwood is susceptible to lyctid borer (powder post beetle) attack

The shrinkage would be slightly less than a species like Blackbutt decking, comparable to a spotted gum, with merbau for example being exceptionally low shrinkage for example

  • Durability: Class 1 above ground
  • BAL 12.5 and 19 ratings


Treated Pine decking is one of the best known and affordable decking options in the market. The pine softwood is treated to H3, making it suitable for an external above ground application.

It can be stained up to a rich hardwood colour or painted easily making it a versatile and economical option for those on a budget.

With standard treated pine decking quite susceptible to knot holes, there is an option of a premium grade treated pine decking with smaller, tighter knots that has a much cleaner overall appearance.


AKA: Luster or Syncarpia Glomulifera

Turpentine is a large hardwood species that grows along the north-east coast of Australia between Sydney and Cairns.

Turpentine ranges from a beautiful deep chocolate, reddish-brown to deep red colouring, and the texture of this timber is fine to medium. Its general appearance can be like that of the more reddish colourings of brush box.

The Turpentine grain is often wavy, with an interlocked grain. Generally, it has no gum veins, although it can surface check. It is known to be of a more unstable nature, compared to say merbau or blackbutt, so pre-oiling the decking would be recommended on all faces and edges prior to installation.

  • Durability: Class 1 above ground
  • Resistant to termites
  • Suitable for BAL 12.5, 19 and 29 ratings

Available by special order


Complete your details below and one of our team will get back to you…




At NHS, we’ve done all the research for you and have narrowed down the wide range of composite deckings on the market. Not all composite brands are the same. So we’ve removed the mystery and broken it down into simple points for you to more easily compare.

It is important to note, that not all composite decking behaves the same and this is reflective of their spans, expansions and whether it’s capped or not.

You may really like the aesthetics of a particular composite brand. But it may not necessarily be fit for purpose for your application. For example. some brands only suit 400mm spans and if you were 100% committed to one of these brands, it will impact your subfloor, generally, and then you may be up for more labour and material costs.

We’ve got the best decking displays in Newcastle! At our Lambton, Beresfield and Cardiff stores, we’re creating displays of a selection of the ranges on offer from these brands. What’s on display and where is in the comparison guide. We may also have some samples you can take home with you.

Below we’ve summarised key points for each composite decking brand mentioned. Should you require more information, the main points are in the above decking comparison table, and we’ve also got a dedicated NHS Decking Specialist to answer any questions about your job.

  • Duralife
  • Eva-last
  • HardieDeck
  • Millboard
  • ModWood
  • NewTechWood
  • Tractio – COMING SOON!
  • Trex


  • 25 year product warranty
  • 25 year fade & stain warranty
  • 5 year replacement labour
  • Capped 3 sides
  • DuraLife’s Unique Polypropylene & Hardwood Composite
  • No BAL rating
  • 138 x 23mm x 5.4m
  • 4 colours – Unique variegated colour/ woodgrain pattern
  • Maximum recycled content of up to 90% by weight
  • Resistance to mould and mildew growth
  • Unique polypropylene and hardwood composite so strong but lightweight
  • Max span MVP: residential 450mm/ 400mm commercial
  • Max span Starter: residential 550mm/ 450mm commercial

Available by special order.

You can find out even more information here at


New to the Australian market, ITI brings, Eva-last!

  • 25-year Limited Structural Warranty (Residential)
  • 25-year Limited Fade & Stain Warranty (Residential)
  • 10-year Limited Structural Warranty (Commercial)
  • 140 x 23 mm, 5.4m lengths, 90 x 23 mm, 5.4m lengths
  • Screening Range: 70 x16mm, 5.4m
  • Max span 450mm (Residential), 400mm (Commercial)
  • Capped on all 4 sides
  • Not BAL rated
  • 5 colours: Tiger Cove, Spanish Saffron, Fire Koa, Caribbean Coral, Cape Town Grey
  • Reversible board with two textures (Woodgrain / Smooth Bark). Real wood graining
  • 100% polymer (HDPE) cap, w/ HDPE and bamboo composite core
  • Greater expansion rate, but stays a lot cooler underfoot.
  • Resists stains, scratches, and fading
  • Low-maintenance: No annual sealing or staining required for protection
  • Slip rating R10
  • Rate of expansion is 3mm per running metre (Gap to structure depends on the length of decking)
  • Concealed fixing available – HULK concealed fasteners and screws
  • Minimum Ground clearance 100mm. Clearance over concrete 50mm
  • Composite materials can expand and contract relative to changes in temperature, please always refer to the installation guide for gapping requirements

Available by special order.

ON DISPLAY at all NHS Cardiff


Made from James Hardie fibre cement, HardieDeck decking creates a smooth, wide, gap-free modern looking deck which you can paint to your desired colour.

  • Deemed non-combustible making it an ideal bushfire zone deck or fire pit deck.
  • Resistant to damage from moisture and termites
  • Will not warp or splinter
  • Boards must be sealed with a James Hardie™ recommended paving sealer and finished within 60 days. *Must be sealed around pools and within 1km of coastal areas, apply the coating within 7 days
  • Smooth, wide gap-free boards and freedom of colour choice
  • A traditional timber finish, a clear sealed concrete look or a solid colour are all options with HardieDeck
  • Can be set out at 500mm joist centres, with the 3m lengths to reduce board cutting, making it quicker to install
  • Also suitable for urban low set decks. *Please always refer to the installation guide

ON DISPLAY at all NHS stores.

Check out more details about HardieDeck by James Hardie here or go directly to the supplier website at


Millboard is definitely a unique eye-catching product, and this was proven by the crowd that their stand attracted at the NHS Trade Expo 2019! (They walked away as ‘Winner of the Best Display 2019’ as well)

  • 25 Year Residential Warranty
  • No Fade & Stain Warranty
  • 176 x 32 mm x 3.6m (7 colours)
  • 200 x 32 mm x 3.2m (3 colours)
  • Max span 400mm (Residential)
  • Up to and including BAL A19 Rating
  • Unique polyurethane resin blend, with Lastane surface layer
  • Range includes Fascia, Bullnose & Square Edging & Touch up Paint (flexible Bullnose is available as a P.O.A with an 8 week lead time)
  • Natural Timber look
  • Distinctive Character grain and imperfect finish
  • Non-porous, stain resistant
  • Slip Rating: P5
  • Millboard does not expand or absorb moisture like wood or wood-plastic composites.
  • No minimum/expansion gaps required between boards. 4mm typical for decking look/drainage. Butt/end joint can be flush (0mm) to Max. 2mm
  • Does not need any minimum ventilation or minimum clearance from the ground.
  • For Ultra-Low installs recommend using LOWDECK H4 Treated Joists with Millboard Pedestal Support System for drainage over roofs, balconies, concrete and waterproof membranes
  • No fiddly clips – No Predrilling – No Counter Sinking – Lost Head hidden top fixing system

Available by special order.

ON DISPLAY at NHS Cardiff.

You can refer to here for more information –


ModWood deck by Blank Projects

  • 10 Year Residential Warranty
  • 7 Year Commercial Warranty – rot, warping, cracking, splits, splinters, termite damage or material defects
  • Screening and decking options available
  • Up To BAL40 option available in the Flame Shield range
  • Max Span: 450 mm (Residential)
  • Uncapped
  • 4 colours: Blackbean, Silvergum, Sahara, Jarrah
  • One face is smooth. The other is brushed. Embossed grain akin to the appearance of real timber as it wears.
  • Superior moisture resistant properties
  • Slip Rating: N Grain 88 mm R10 / 137 mm R11
  • Minimum ground clearance 300mm, clearance over concrete 50mm
  • Concealed fixing option available using Klevaklip

Available by special order for Flameshield, Marina and XTG Xtreme.

ModWood Natural grain ON DISPLAY at all stores. ModWood XTG ON DISPLAY at NHS Cardiff.

You can find out even more info via the Modwood website –


  • 25 year product Warranty (Residential) – fade, stain, split, splinter, rot or fungal decay
  • 10 year Commercial Warranty
  • 2 year Conditional Labour Warranty
  • Terrace range: 138x25mm, 5.4m grooved board. 138x25mm finishing board
  • Coastal range: 210x23mm, 4.88m grooved board. 138x23mm finishing board
  • Shadowline profile (US31) 142x13mm, 4.88m length. Effective coverage 130mm
  • Screening Range: 70x17mm, 5.4m
  • Castelation Range: 196x25mm, 4.88m
  • Max Span 450mm (Residential) for 138x25mm Solid US49. Max Span 400mm for Coastal US54 BAL29 fire rating on all decking material
  • Fully Capped – protects all sides of every board/profile
  • 5 colours stocked in Terrace Range, 3 colours stocked in Coastal Range, Screening Range
  • Range includes grooved edge board, finishing board and fascia
  • Natural wood grain finish & realistic fibrous texture
  • Slip ratings: Terrace R11 & P2, Coastal P5
  • Secret fix clip system – standard gap 5.5mm or mini gap of 1.5mm
  • Recommend to use breaker boards instead of butt joints
  • 4mm gap from board ends to posts or wall structures
  • Minimum ground clearance: 300mm over bare ground, 40mm over slab/sealed ground
  • Pedestal supports available to cover height range of 25 – 390mm
  • For solid and hollow screen profiles – face fix with colour head screws

Available by special order.

ON DISPLAY at NHS Cardiff.

Find out more info directly on the supplier website here –


TimberTech Azek Vintage Collection - expected availability July-August 2021

The most premium product of the TimberTech range.

  • Lifetime structural warranty
  • 50-year limited fade & stain warranty (residential)
  • 20-year limited structural warranty (commercial)
  • 184x25mmm, 140x25mm boards – available in 4.8m or 6.0m lengths Available in Square shouldered and grooved boards (see colour options availability)
  • Max span 400mm (Residential) 300mm (Commercial)
  • Capped on all 4 sides
  • BAL29 rating
  • 6 colours – Mahogany, Weathered Teak, Dark Hickory, Coastline, English Walnut – not all available in both sizes
  • Enhanced timber grain and texture, variegated in colour
  • Alloy Armour Cap technology w/ cellular PVC core
  • Resists stains, scratches, and fading
  • Best in class performance against weathering
  • More traction, fewer falls: with a P5 rating, offers up to 40% better slip resistance than many competitor composite products
  • Heat resistant, stays cooler to the touch: up to 30 degrees cooler than many competitor composite products, making it ideal for poolside decks and decks in full sun
  • Low-maintenance: No annual sealing
  • For better results keep decking as cool as possible during attachment. Be sure to keep butt joints tight. Do not leave a gap at butt joints, splices or mitres. Leave a 3 mm to 6 mm side to side gap between deck boards. Refer installation guidelines, PVC products behave differently than composite materials when it comes to gapping during installation
  • Concealed fixing option is available. (CONCEALoc fastener) or Cortex Screws with plugs (for top fixing)

To learn more about Azek, you can view on the TimberTech website

TREX DECKING by Decking Solutions

  • 25 year Product Warranty
  • 25 year Fade & Stain Warranty
  • 139.7 x 25.4mm x 5.48m
  • Max span 450mm (Residential)
  • BAL 29
  • Capped
  • Natural wood grain finish in 7 Colours
  • 4 Profiles – Grooved, Square, Fascia and 33mm Board
  • Resistant to fading, staining, scratches. Termite, pest and mould resistant.95% recycled material 50 / 50 mix of plastic and hardwood timber shavings
  • Heat retention is the same as timber in a similar colour Deck lights available
  • Slip rating R10 or P2
  • Gap 6mm for most Australian applications
  • Butt/End joins 3mm (Gap is 6mm where meets structure or post)
  • Min. ground clearance 38mm, clearance over concrete 38mm
  • Concealed fixing option available
  • Metal and Timber fixings available, including colour-coded 316 SS Screws

Available by special order.

ON DISPLAY at NHS Cardiff.

To see even more info on Trex, you can go to the Decking Solutions website here –


EASY AS! Complete the details below and we’ll get back to you soon…