When you see lots of different newspaper ads for decking at widely varying prices, its hard to know whats what and whether youre comparing "apples with apples."
Heres a handy checklist to help:
Clears will give you the best possible finished appearance. All board faces are generally totally clear of defects. Also known as No 1 Clears or Ultra grade.
The boards are mostly clear of defects and are usually clean on one face and two edges. Also known as No 1 & 2 Clears or Premium grade.
A high-grade board where some character is visible, for example a distinctive grain pattern, bark/resin pockets or knots. Also known as No 1, Standard, Select grade, and/or Classic grade.
The next step down from Dressing grade with a greater degree of character. Also known as No 1 Grade.
Suitable for applications where appearance is not important.
May include inter-grown knots, some loose knots, holes and pith content. Also known as Regular grade.
The cheapest grade of decking timber, usually available on an as is where is basis. May contain any number or combination of defects provided the board holds together during normal handling. Also known as Industrial grade.
Note: Radiata decking is often advertised as H3 treated. This is not strictly correct. The correct treatment level for decking is H3.2
(H3 has been discontinued and H3.1 is not suitable for decking).
Also be aware that there may be variations in the shape of the machined profile and dimensions available. Not all merchants will stock the same machined profiles of decking timber.
If in doubt, check with the specialist staff at your local ITM.