How to Choose Termite-Proof Timber Decking

If you want a wooden deck but worry about termites being attracted to the timber, then you may think you need to look at alternative decking materials. But don't write wood off just yet.

While some woods are magnets to termites and even those that are treated against pests can fail once their treatment wears off, you do have other options to keep termites at bay. What kind of timber can you safely use on your deck?

Choose Wood That Termites Dislike

It's a myth that termites like all kinds of wood. In the wood world, termites are gourmet eaters. They're attracted by some types of wood; they ignore or actively dislike others. Some trees are naturally resistant to termites. For example, termites don't much like to eat jarrah or cypress, but nobody has worked out a way to ask termites why they don't like these woods. It may be that they don't like the taste or scent of the wood. Or, they may find it too hard to break down and digest.

So, using a termite-resistant wood to build your deck makes sense. These woods aren't likely to attract termites at all.

Choose a Wood Composite

Termites turn their noses up at most composite wood decking. They know that they won't get much nutrition here. Composite woods do contain some natural wood, but they are also made up of other materials like plastics. Termites can't digest these materials. This immediately makes the wood less attractive to them.

Plus, composite woods are less likely to rot and break down. Termites prefer to eat materials that are already softening and rotting, so they may simply ignore a composite that stays in good condition.

Get Your Design Right

The wood you use for your deck isn't the only consideration here. The design and build of your deck can also help deter termites. For example, you should make sure that the wood isn't in contact with the ground, say by using metal stirrup supports between the deck and the earth. If you can keep wood raised, it won't be affected by damp soil.

Dampness can rot wood down. This makes it look better to termites looking for a food source. If you can keep wood away from damp, it'll stay in better condition for longer.

Before you choose decking materials, talk to your timber decking contractor. They can help you choose a wood or a composite to keep termites away. They can also give you preventative design advice.