Exploring Cost-Effective and Innovative Decking Alternatives - Trade Warehouse


For UK homeowners, decking choices have changed over the years. As homeowners seek both aesthetic appeal and functionality, the market has responded with a variety of options.

Especially prominent is the surge in budget-friendly and alternative decking solutions.

Why Seek Decking Alternatives?

Traditional wooden decks, while timeless, pose environmental concerns due to deforestation.

Additionally, the recurring maintenance costs and potential longevity issues can be off-putting.

For homeowners working within tight budgets, exploring alternative decking materials is a smart option.

Recycled Materials

Plastic lumber, derived from recycled plastic, offers a durable and low-maintenance option.

Composite decking, marrying the aesthetics of wood with the resilience of plastic, provides another compelling alternative.

Both choices present an environmentally conscious approach to decking.

Pallet Decking

Using discarded pallets for decking merges sustainability with cost-effectiveness.

With proper sourcing and treatment, pallet decks exude a rustic charm that's hard to replicate.

Concrete Decks

Concrete isn't just for driveways! As a decking material, it offers unparalleled strength.

Stamped concrete introduces design versatility, allowing homeowners to mimic more expensive materials like stone or brick.

Gravel and Pebble Decks

These decks are both visually striking and cost-effective. While installation is straightforward, understanding the aesthetic interplay of different stone sizes and colours can elevate the design.

Interlocking Deck Tiles

Ideal for the DIY enthusiast, these tiles require no nails or adhesives. Their design versatility ensures that there's a tile for every aesthetic preference.

Ground-Level Patios

For homes that blend seamlessly with nature, ground-level patios using materials like flagstone or slate offer an organic decking solution. The natural landscape dictates the design, ensuring uniqueness.

Rubber Decking

Prioritising both resilience and safety, rubber decking is especially apt for homes with children.

Its environmental footprint, owing to recycled materials, is also commendably low.

Synthetic Grass Decks

Bypassing the hassles of natural grass maintenance, artificial grass tiles present a verdant alternative.

Their lush appearance is complemented by minimal upkeep requirements.

Decking with Reclaimed Wood

Old wood beams or floorboards can find a new lease of life as decking materials. Their weathered appearance oozes character, ensuring that no two decks are identical.

Modular Systems

These prefabricated deck sections simplify the installation process. Their modular nature also offers a high degree of customization, catering to diverse design preferences.

Bamboo Decking

Bamboo's rapid growth ensures its sustainability. As a decking material, it offers both strength comparable to hardwood and unique aesthetic features.

Aluminium Decking

Resistant to elements and boasting impressive durability, aluminum decking boards are a long-term investment. Their sleek appearance can be tailored to suit various design sensibilities.

Eco-Friendly Solutions

The push towards sustainable decking has led to the rise of materials with a minimal environmental impact.

These solutions prioritise the planet without compromising on quality or design.

Incorporating Natural Elements

Integrating plants or water features into deck designs adds both functional value, like shade, and aesthetic appeal.

Such integrations create harmonious outdoor spaces.

Decking Maintenance

In the realm of decking, longevity and appearance are often directly linked to the quality of maintenance.

While alternative decking materials have been designed to be more durable and user-friendly than traditional wood, they are not devoid of care requirements.

Here's a detailed look into the maintenance protocols for various alternative decking materials:

  1. Recycled Materials and Composite Decking

    • Cleaning: Use a mild detergent and water mixture to clean off any stains or dirt. A soft-bristle brush can be effective for stubborn spots.
    • Protection: Although resistant to fading, it's beneficial to use a UV-protectant spray annually to maintain the colour vibrancy.
    • Inspection: Check for any loosening of boards or visible damage, especially after extreme weather conditions.

  2. Concrete Decks

    • Cleaning: Regular sweeping prevents dirt accumulation. For stains, a power wash can be effective.
    • Sealing: To prevent moisture penetration and staining, apply a concrete sealer every 2-3 years.
    • Crack Monitoring: Concrete can develop cracks over time. Address minor cracks with a suitable filler to prevent them from widening.

  3. Gravel and Pebble Decks

    • Cleaning: Rake the surface periodically to prevent weed growth and ensure an even spread of stones.
    • Refilling: Over time, stones may disperse. Refill areas that appear sparse to maintain the deck's aesthetic appeal.
    • Weed Control: Utilize weed barriers beneath the gravel or apply natural herbicides to deter growth.

  4. Interlocking Deck Tiles

    • Cleaning: Wipe the tiles with a damp cloth to remove dirt. For deeper cleaning, mild soap and water can be used.
    • Replacement: The modular nature means damaged tiles can be easily replaced without overhauling the entire deck.
    • Alignment Checks: Ensure tiles remain interlocked, especially after heavy foot traffic or furniture movement.

  5. Rubber and Vinyl Decking

    • Cleaning: A simple water rinse usually suffices. For stubborn stains, a gentle detergent can be used.
    • Protection: Although these materials resist UV rays, consider shading areas that receive direct sunlight to prevent potential fading.
    • Safety Checks: Periodically ensure the surface remains non-slip, especially in wet conditions.

  6. Bamboo and Natural Grass Decks

    • Cleaning: Sweep away debris regularly. Bamboo can benefit from an occasional mop with soapy water.
    • Protection: Apply a natural oil to bamboo decks once a year to retain moisture and prevent splitting.
    • Trimming: For synthetic grass decks, trim any overgrown areas to maintain a uniform appearance.

  7. Aluminium Decking

    • Cleaning: A hose down is usually enough. Avoid abrasive cleaners that can scratch the surface.
    • Protection: While aluminium decking is rust-resistant, inspect for any signs of oxidation and treat promptly.
    • Joint Checks: Ensure the connecting joints remain tight and secure.

Budget Planning and Cost Analysis

While alternative decking materials might seem cost-effective, it's essential to account for all potential expenses.

From installation costs to long-term maintenance, a thorough cost analysis ensures there are no financial surprises.


In the world of decking, innovation and budget-friendliness are not mutually exclusive.

By exploring alternative materials and designs, homeowners can craft outdoor spaces that reflect their personal style while adhering to financial constraints.

The future of decking, it seems, is both diverse and promising.

Contact our team if you have any questions or would like free samples of our decking: info@tradewarehouse.co.uk

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