Today in Singapore, especially in the newly launched private and public apartments, balcony decking is becoming commonplace. The demand for balcony decking materials is also seen on the rise. With numerous decking products available in the market, buying good quality and safe decking product for your balcony is, therefore, of the utmost importance.
Here are some important buying tips for your balcony deck.
1) Using Phenol during the Anti-termite Process is a big “No”
Make sure that the decking materials do not go through any health-threatening anti-termite process. Phenol, a colourless substance that has harmful impacts on human health, is often the additive to common wood decking to make it 100% anti-termite. However, according to reports by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, people who are hypersensitive to it could experience serious side effects even at very low exposures, especially to the respiratory systems.
Hence, it is important for homeowners to always check and see if there are any phenol or other harmful substances added to prevent the decking from termites. This process is often called “tenderising”. Ask for the technical specifications of the product when in doubt.
2) Low in VOC
Always check whether the particular product is tested and proven to be low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) or not. Decking material and installation that require little or less glue are always recommended.
3) Safer Method of Installation
Always check if the installation is done in a safe and secure manner. Nail-down approach on wood decking may be dangerous over time due to wear and tear. The expansion and contraction of the decking may cause the nail to be protruded in an outward fashion after some time. Check with your flooring contractor on what kind of method do they use for decking installation. Some recommended methods that are safe are the ones that use air guns, clip system or ‘secret’ nailing system.
4) High Heat-Insulating Properties & Fire Resistance
Look for good decking materials that have high heat-insulating properties and is resistant to high temperature and fire. Especially when installing an outdoor pool decking, decking products with low levels of heat insulating properties may make the decking too “hot” for bare feet.
Today some common wood species used in natural wood deckings such as Chengal and Merbau are already being specified as vulnerable species in forests worldwide. Hence, it is always good to look for wood decking that comes from responsible manufacturers that produce their decking products from reliable forest resources. Some common accreditations homeowners can look into are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification(PEFC) and Cradle to Cradle certification.