Width of timber planks
Generally, timber decking.wood decking or Balcony Flooring prices in Singapore ranges from $16-$32 per square feet (PSF), depending on the type of wood chosen.Which includes supply, installation, sanding and varnishing of the timber decks.
Teak has always been known to be the “King” of wood. It is highly sought after for it’s beautiful grains and natural oils. The oils acts as a resistant to termite attacks as well lubricant for the wood. The natural oil repels water making teak one of the best timber material for outdoor usage.
Merbau is almost on par with Teak for outdoor durability. The only drawback is the bleeding of tannins which will pass over time
Chengal has been one of the more popular choices of wood in Singapore.
It has high durability and Janka hardness. It has decreased in popularity recently due to its aesthetics- hairline cracks (caused by high moisture content) and pin holes (caused by ambrosia beetles boring into living trees).
Ironwood has very high Janka hardness and has hairline cracks similar to Chengal. Due to its sturdiness and lack of aesthetics (high difference in tonality), it is highly recommendable used as a supporting structural material rather than decks per se.
Balau is one of the cheapest timber in the market, it has relatively high janka hardness but is susceptible to rot, decay and termite attack if not treated properly.
The more common method of installing wood decking would be using Balau or ironwood joists as its supporting structure. Using a more advanced supporting structure to increase the deck’s stability at a higher FFL (floor finish level) would equate to a higher cost.
Some clients would prefer the Installation of full timber lengths as compared to joined pieces of timber to cover an area.This would lead to much greater wastage of timber and ultimately higher cost.
General Installation Method for Timber Decking
Timber joists are placed on the ground as supporting structure to raise the level of the decks.
If there is a need to raise the height of the decks to a substantial level, we would recommend using a more durable material such as Elmich Versijack.
The joists will be placed on top of these pedestal system and the decks thereafter.
The Decks will always be placed perpendicularly to the joists as to increase the amount of weight it can withstand.
The timber decks are then connected to the supporting structure below either by using the more advanced clip systems or the more traditional nailing/screwing method.
We provide different installation method for timber decking for our clients based on their needs.
The types of wood stain or wood varnish used also plays a role in the pricing of timber decking.
Inferior varnish may bring the cost of your decking to be lower, but it is not recommended as it might cause flaking, peeling and even blistering.
Once the protective varnish is damaged the wood is much more susceptible to warping, rotting and UV damages.
Width of timber planks
Wide timber planks has a higher psf cost.
It is important for consumers to understand the different type of wood, their characteristics and understand the breakdown of the cost in relation to timber decking and wood decking installation.
The best timber for Decking or Balcony Flooring in Singapore includes:
Hardwood is the choice of timber as it tends to have a higher dimensional stability. This will lead to minimal expansion and contraction to a certain extent.
Profile of Decking Planks:
Width of 95-140mm.
Thickness of > 20mm.
Teak is a top tier timber material in the market, especially in the Southeast Asia region. It is a little to the higher side in terms of pricing but well worth it.
There is a high demand for it because of its exquisite natural patterns and natural oils. The natural oils act as a defense mechanism to harmful insect infestation as well as emollient for the timber. It also acts as a barrier for water. It deters water from seeping in that might cause damage in the long run. This makes teak one of the best timber material for both outdoor and indoor usage. Even though it’s Janka hardness is in the middle range, it has high dimensional stability. It is a popular timber material for making decking in yachts
If left unvarnished under the sun it will start to discolor over a period of time. The colour will turn to a greyish tone which some might find a liking to.
Merbau is almost on par with Teak for outdoor durability the only drawback is the bleeding of tannins. It has a very distinct maroon-like colour after staining which really brings the pool feature out.
It is a class 1 timber and is suitable for outdoor usage. Merbau is durable against insect, termite and fungal attack when exposed and shrinkage values are particularly low.
Normally there is little degrade on drying and once dry the wood is very stable.According to Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) “The stability of Merbau is outstanding beating even Teak.”
Chengal Decking has been very popular in the southeast Asia region because it is one of the hardiest and durable timber material in the market.
It has a very high Janka hardness rating amongst Merbau and Teak. Nonetheless, we do not condone the use of it as the first choice for the best timber for decking material.
Chengal supply in Singapore mostly comes from Malaysia, and the supply of mature trees are scarce due to high demand.
Due to the value of the timber and the tree getting rare, Chengal receives special attention from the Forestry Department.
There is a minimum and maximum cutting limit to chop down this tree.
The tree is rightly classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
This leads to logging of plantation Chengal to meet demands.
Younger Chengal has characteristics that is not desirable:
The best timber for decking in our opinion would be Teak decking. But in terms of value for money, we would recommend Merbau decking as the next best alternative.
In Singapore’s hot and humid weather, maintenance of timber decking is crucial and we would advise having them stain at least once annually.
This will prevent the timber decks from having hairline cracks through expansion and contraction which is more susceptible in Chengal and Ironwood.
Hairline cracks if not mended may lead to structural cracks of the decks
If you are looking for something that is maintenance free, we would recommend using Trex composite decking.It comes with a limited 25-year limited manufacturer’s warranty and no maintenance is needed at all.
Both natural timber and composite decks have their pros & cons.
Depending on your needs, choosing one over the other might be greatly beneficial to you.
Natural wood decking requires maintenance on a yearly basis. It is predominantly an organic and perishable product.
Over time the protective layer of varnish would eventually fade away leaving the timber vulnerable to UV damages which will cause discolouration and lead to cracks, warpage, splinters etc.
Nothing beats an authentic product-certain species of wood carries a luxurious tag to it. For example, authentic Indian rosewood is easily recognized.
Natural wood also disperses heat much faster than plastic, the surface of the natural wood creates a comfortable sensation when your bare feet touches it.
Natural wood decking can be sanded & varnish down, if you’re bored of a certain stain, you can easily remove a layer of the timber and revarnish it with a new colour and it’ll look good as new.
A good Composite Decking if installed properly could last you a lifetime, Trex Composite Decking offers a 25-year warranty on fade & stain.
Damages done to composite decking is irreversible as compared to natural decking which can be sanded down.
Composite decks are hotter than timber decks as it absorbs heat easily.
In terms of pricing, composite decks are at the same price level as a mid tier timber product.
The whole external decking area at Orchard Scotts Condominium was done by us using the premium Trex composite system made in the USA.
Decking timber comes in a few standard cross sections
Typically, the length ranges from 1200mm to 4800mm
Timber columns and thicker sections come in the following cross sections
The profile of wooden planks are different between outdoor and indoor usage.
Outdoor timber decks are wider and thicker.
This makes it more durable.
There are also gaps between each plank to account for expansion and contraction of the wood.
The type of timber used are generally hardwood which has a higher dimensional stability as well as janka hardness.Some exceptions would include wood from yew trees — a softwood that is relatively hard — and wood from balsa trees — a hardwood that is softer than softwoods.
Indoor timber planks generally have thickness of 10-12mm while outdoor timber planks have thickness of 20mm onwards.
As Singapore climate is very warm and humid, softwood such as pine which is quite popular in colder climates is not suitable.
The appeal of timber, its usage in both structure and flooring is timeless, be it from the British East Indiamen sailing ships to vernacular architecture in Southeast Asia and Tropical colonial buildings refurbished to become cafes. A defining character is the myriad of patterning in the material, known simply as wood grain.
The grain not only provides a relief from the homogenous nature of contemporary fabrication but hints at the species of the timber itself, its strength, weakness and history. This grain originates from the rings in the tree trunk which is developed as it undergoes anatomical changes in response to monsoon rainfall cycles.
Much of the Grain patterns seen in Timber planks results directly from the direction by which the timber is cut. Much like how a cylinder is forms an ellipse when cut at an angle, the timber growth rings form the elongated grain patterns which we are familiar with, when cut from rough sawn timber.
After being cut down, the trunk is stripped of the bark and cut into planks at a saw mill. The Sawmill then cuts the timber into halves and quarter sections. As the width of the wood planks is dependent on the overall girth of the tree trunk, It is much more material efficient to divide up a tree trunk into many narrower and thinner planks as opposed to a few wider, thicker planks.
The timber width cannot exceed the width of the tree it from which it is cut. Thus, wide plank wood flooring tends to come with a price premium and is regarded as such.
In the same manner, decking lengths cannot exceed the length of the trunk and very long hardwood decking planks or flooring boards are hard to come by.
The solution to the problem of limited widths and sizes is simply to join smaller pieces together form the required area. This was the practice from the first days of woodworking.
This however comes with the issue of good joinery and differences in expansion and contraction as well as warping in more adverse conditions. This age old problem is solved simply by time.
By allowing the timber to rest and dry out before installation, the material itself becomes more stable. Timber with high moisture content of greater than 16% will tend to shrink over time as it dries; cracking and splitting if it is prevented from shrinking via nails and screws.
During periods of high humidity, the timber will gain moisture and expand in size; once again, if the timber is prevented from moving, it will warp and split. During installation it is crucial to use fixtures or adhesives such as flexible glues and clips to allow movement of the timber floor throughout its lifespan of 2-10 years.
As it ages, it may shrink further, resulting in dark joint lines collecting dirt and becoming more evident. This is however preferable over warping and cracking.
Next on the line of defence is the finishing of the timber surface. This is crucial to ensure that the timber can be maintained over time and still retain its lustre and colour. A finishing coat protects the timber surface via water resistance, colour retention and the hiding of scratches.
For indoor use, oil is a very viable finish as it allows the wood to breathe as opposed to the plastic feel of melamine or polyurethane (PU) coats. In addition any scratches or discolouration can be easily covered up with a small amount of the original oil.
Water based finishes are more often used for outdoor hardwood decking due the high probability of rain. Converse to popular belief, the water based finish will not be washed away once it reaches half cure within 1 to 2 hours.
In the event of rain before half cure, the varnish will fade and will need to be re applied once the surface is dried. An oil-based coat will however require a full sanding job for reapplication if it is interrupted by weather before full cure.
As timber is an organic produce, no two pieces or cuts, will be identical, be it in colour, grain or texture. This is especially evident when looking at a large area of timber decking or floor. Expect unique grains for the beauty of timber is in its many permutations of pattern, knots and texture to truly create a unique surface. Any less and it would appear plastic and flat. Each piece is after all an individual in a very diverse population.
Greyed out, damaged scratched, decks are not wholly unrecoverable. A quick sanding and varnishing job is usually sufficient to bring a deck or floor back to life. You might be surprised with the results.
However, this is dependent on the usable thickness of the timber surface. A thicker timber floor or deck will almost always yield better results but do expect deep scratches to remain, even if they are camouflaged under a thick layer of varnish.
A good criterion for a decking removal is; whether the deck itself is still structurally stable. Often once the substructure starts rotting, there is no cost benefit to repair or replace as the decking panels must all be removed as well. In such cases, the waste wood is taken away and a fee must be paid to the waste disposal facility.
Typically 90% of the timber is incinerated. 10% will be reprocessed to form (Medium Density Fibreboard) MDF wood products or fertiliser. We are working to find better ways to reprocess and up cycle this waste product into a valuable raw material for use as furniture and other areas.
Currently, 10% of our wastage at Calvary Carpentry is up cycled into custom tables and shelves and we hope to slowly increase the demand for up cycled products to better serve the environment we live in.
1) Aluminium Runners are installed over concrete blocks
– concrete blocks requires individual casting which takes about 10 man hours for a 10m2 project
– the concrete requires 48 hours to dry before we can start installing the decks
Total time required : 3days
2) Timber Decking
– L angle install on the underside of each plank and screwed into the runner
– 21 man hours for a 10m2 project
– Total time required : 2 days
3) Removal process
Once installed, the decks are impossible to remove without damaging as they are screwed from the underside.
An easy, simple solution for your composite decking.
1.-A unique product to allow Calvary to compete in projects requiring removable decks
2.-The industry is shifting towards quality, and allowance of removable decking
3.-lower wastage, ease of replacement and amendment with lower cost.