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If you’ve happened to notice that timber, GRP and composite decking on balconies is an increasingly rare sight on new build and refurbishment projects, you might be wondering why the popularity of these materials has plummeted.

There are a number of good reasons for this, but in a nutshell the driving force behind the trend is twofold. Firstly, they are increasingly out of step with the changing demands of modern building standards. Secondly, the rise of aluminium as a decking specification has provided architects and developers with a much better alternative.

One of aluminium’s most compelling advantages is its fire resistance, which is far superior to timber GRP, composite decking. Housebuilding warranty providers are increasingly requesting balcony design modifications to meet more stringent fire safety requirements. Architects and developers have been pre-empting these concerns by using our Neatdek aluminium decking systems, resulting in a remarkable surge in demand as a balcony specification. With timber joists no longer allowed and metal joists a necessity, our lightweight Neatdek grilles have an outstanding strength-to-weight ratio and can accommodate spans between joists of up to 2m. In comparison, wood and composite decking generally needs to be accommodated at 400mm centres.

Another major advantage of our Neatdek decking is its extreme durability – the aluminium has a design life of 60-100 years, matching the regulatory requirements for balcony structures, and it’s corrosion resistant, so unlike other metals it will stay rust-free.  These maintenance-free qualities give it a clear advantage over wooden decking which gets damaged by weathering and temperature fluctuations.

Neaco’s decking offers a choice of T-bar profiles which have a contact area of between 74% and 100% yet disperse water efficiently. In balcony applications, this avoids the need for drainpipes and soffits, saving on cost whilst enabling a more minimalist aesthetic. We adapted Neatdek’s original design to develop Neatdek 188, an innovative application with concealed drainage gaps below the surface. The profile completely restricts the view from above and below, providing privacy for balcony occupants. The absence of gaps on the surface also makes it suitable to walk in any type of footwear, including stiletto heels. In fact, safe footing is a major advantage shared by our all of our aluminium decking systems with special anti-slip surfaces engineered into each design. In contrast, GRP, composite and timber equivalents become slippery underfoot.

All things considered, it’s easy to see why timber, GRP and composite decking are in decline: Neaco’s aluminium systems are better on every level. To find out more please visit our Contact page to enquire or call us on 01653 695 721.