There is no escaping it, 2024 trade is going to be difficult to predict for many timber suppliers and manufacturers – with 2025 anticipated to be a better year. The fallout from the high demand experienced in the Covid years was still being felt at the end of last year – as excess stock slowly worked its way through the supply chain. Couple that with falling construction activity, ongoing conflicts affecting timber imports and a worldwide economic slowdown and you have a recipe for tricky sales forecasts.

The prediction for the economy is that growth will be slow but stable and so the hope is sales will be roughly on par with last year. Consumers are less inclined or unable to spend and there’s low confidence about the future, resulting in projects being unimagined or put on hold.

Restoration project at Caernarfon Castle, Wales: Accoya decking and seating allows visitor access to areas of castle for the first time in centuries

That said, TDCA performance indicators suggest increased interest in seeking knowledge and advice, with last year being a record year for registrations to its website and January up 100% compared to a year ago: good signs for external decking.


Feedback from TDCA members has shown that timber, particularly hardwood, has lost market share to the growing wood polymer composite (WPC) sector. This is in part due to the market being flooded with poor quality imported WPC products – (square) hollow form boards are of particular concern. The lure of a cheaper product offering at least 25-years’ service, is often too good to be true. So, the TDCA is on a mission to educate buyers when sourcing a WPC product, to ensure performance is backed by evidence and any guarantees provided are carefully checked. Some suppliers are introducing cylindrical hollow form versions which have fewer potential weak points and fewer internal surfaces where moisture can ingress. The solid, capped WPC boards offer better all-round performance but are more expensive.

Although we are sure there are some excellent WPC products on the market, currently there are none with DeckMark Approved status. Whilst applications to our Product Approval Scheme have been received, as yet none have fulfilled the data requirements. Then there’s the end-of-life issue – only a handful of manufacturers take back WPC products, making recycling problematic.

The ban on timber materials used on external walls of multi-storey residential structures due to fire regulations, has resulted in a rise in aluminium decking systems. Porcelain flooring is also an increasingly popular outdoor surface choice.


Slower trading times provide the opportunity to refocus and reset. Several TDCA members are doing just that – rationalising their offerings and focusing on popular product lines and market trends. BSW Timber has six new dual sided decking profiles in preservative treated redwood (see pp38- 39), while Stamco Hoppings is offering a cylindrical hollow form composite board (Duolight) to its Smartboard range that will appeal to the more frugal shopper. Accsys is set to launch its grey modified wood decking product, Accoya Color, in the UK after successful sales across Europe.


At times like these, it’s easy to forget what a versatile, beautiful and nature-friendly product timber decking is. There are many wonderful large-scale commercial projects around the UK which can also inspire the residential designer. Decking can be seen on walkways, making the most of a view or giving a unique vantage point to a special feature or vista; marinas, piers, woodland holiday parks; visitor attractions; historic castles, safari parks, zoos, retail parks and community spaces. Let’s celebrate such amazing structures to promote the outstanding qualities of this product – suppliers could help this by showing more case study material on their marketing platforms.

In these times of sustainable thinking, responsibly sourced timber ticks all the boxes. Modern forestry standards ensure wood is harvested and procured in a responsible, sustainable way, with new trees being planted to replenish stock. As they grow, trees absorb CO2. By building with timber, carbon from the atmosphere is being stored in the built environment. Timber is a low-carbon alternative to materials such as plastic, concrete and steel – let’s shout about it!


We hope to be working with Futurescape – one of the major UK construction shows, which is introducing a ‘decking hub’ this year prompted by the standards of poor workmanship that prevail in the industry. The aim is to share fundamental decking knowledge with landscapers and installers.

Decking and cladding installation: examples of poor workmanship

This is music to the TDCA’s ears. We have experienced some of the most appalling examples of decking construction over the years – which is damaging to the reputation of timber decking. There is often a lack of understanding about how wood behaves in external environments; wrongly specified products used for applications; corners cut to save on costs – despite plenty of readily available advice, most of which we can provide free of charge.

The TDCA was established to influence and promote good industry practice. We’re here to raise the bar on all things decking and cladding. We have industry experience, a library of free resources and a growing member supplier list with independent third-party verification. The DeckMark accreditation scheme recognises manufacturers, suppliers and installers who work to the highest standards in their fields. Learn more here:


In this tranquil village in Buckinghamshire, homeowners who had recently extended their home, wanted to create a transitional space between their home and their garden. They reached out to landscape designer, Karl Harrison and have created the perfect decking area using Accoya wood.

Brushed Accoya decking

To keep a natural feel, the Accoya deck boards have not been coated. Instead, the natural blonde wood colour has been maintained and the boards have been heavily brushed to create texture and enhance the grain of the Accoya wood.

By choosing not to coat the decking, overtime the wood will weather to a silvery grey.

To create a feeling of space and simplicity, wide deck boards were chosen and secured with hidden fittings.

Accoya was supplied for this project by approved distributor, James Latham Ltd.