In many urban areas these days there are increasingly strict fire regulations which can prohibit the construction of the wood deck on a rooftop for example. For a long time, the wood species most often used for wood decks has been Ipe, not only because it’s one of the hardest and most durable wood species available, but it is typically classified as Class A fire resistance by the NFPA. But even in that situation is changing and not all local authorities will accept the fire resistance of even Ipe lumber or maybe will restrict the area of deck where Ipe lumber can be used.
But many of us still yearn for the classic look of a wood deck. So what are the options for an alternative to natural wood?
The best wood alternative for rooftop decks is undoubtedly porcelain pavers. These ¾” thick pavers are considerably thicker than a standard porcelain or ceramic tile and are designed specifically as a structural tile which can be laid on top of adjustable deck supports for a perfectly level elevated deck, irrespective of any slope on the substrate on which the pedestals are placed.
One of the main reasons for considering porcelain pavers as a wood alternative is that they are available in an exceptional range of colors. As well as pavers which simulate ribbed decking boards, other wood grain look pavers are designed to simulate individual planks while other styles represent panels of wood joined together. And that’s not all. Some wood look pavers replicate the look of brand-new wood, others a more rustic style and yet others a weathered look. Plus colors which range from very pale gray, through light Ash to as dark as Ebony. And not only do they replicate the look of the wood grain, but they also faithfully reproduce imperfections such as knots, streaks, pin holes and other features which occur in natural wood and add so much to its character.
Although purists might not consider these porcelain pavers look 100% like natural wood, their other benefits should be taken into account. Unlike natural wood, porcelain is virtually impervious to water. So unlike wood decking, porcelain planks or pavers won’t stain, split, twist or warp. They aren’t attacked by insects and are totally free from any possibility of decay. Due to the toughness of porcelain, they resist scratching so are especially suitable for high foot traffic commercial applications. And because of these special characteristics, maintenance requirements are exceptionally low – you can forget all about coating wood deck boards with decking oil or sealers every 12 months or so. The only maintenance that porcelain pavers typically require to keep them in top condition is a wash down from time to time to remove accumulated dirt or grime and maybe brushing with a stiff broom.
So if you’re looking for an alternative to natural wood for a roof deck, patio, balcony etc. then take a look at wood look porcelain pavers – you might be surprised how well they simulate the look of natural wood. And considering their other advantages, they undoubtedly offer an excellent option as a wood deck material.