Add Exterior Appeal, Boost Property Value with NewTechWood Composite Products

First impressions count and you only get one chance to make a good first impression, which is important if you’re looking to sell your home or simply increase its value. You need to pay as much attention to the kerb appeal of your home as you would your interior finishes.

NewTechWood composite timber cladding

We spend a fortune painting, replacing floorings and fixtures, and renovating our kitchens and bathrooms, with scant consideration to the exterior.  We often think if the lawn is mowed and the garden beds weed-free, a spot of external paint is all it needs.

Unfortunately, it isn’t only books that are judged by their cover, and you should think of your home exterior much like a book cover.

To start with, you should have a designated external entertainment area and most Australian houses have pergolas or ‘Bali huts’ for this reason.  You can lay a composite timber deck or incorporate composite screening and cladding to save you money and maintenance, such as NewTechWood composite timber products. It comes with a 25-year warranty, is UV, water, stain and termite resistant and looks like real timber. However, unlike real timber, it requires no maintenance – no sanding, no oiling or sealing.  Ever.

Use NewTechWood Composite Timber Products

If your outdNewTechWood claddingoor entertainment area is concrete, but its appearance is aged or lacklustre, you can give it a new lease of life by painting it or construct a composite timber deck over it.  In our harsh Australian climate your outside entertainment area must be covered.  You can add a real touch of class by cladding your patio ceiling, and again, you can avoid the maintenance issue of real timber by using a composite timber product, like NewTechWood.

No outdoor living space is ever complete without some form of greenery. Hanging baskets always add green appeal but when it comes to garden beds if you weren’t blessed with green thumbs and your plants always die, consider succulents which come in all shapes and sizes and different varieties flower at various times of the year.  It is quite hard to kill a succulent!

The use of synthetic turf is also becoming more common place for small pockets of front yard where you’d like to grow grass if you didn’t have to water and maintain it, but you want the appeal, colour and look of a healthy lawn.

Add Instant Appeal with NewTechWood Wall Cladding

Another technique foNewTechWood composite wall claddingr updating the exterior of your home and adding instant appeal involves the use of cladding. Exterior wall cladding is an architectural feature which makes your home stand out from the cookie-cutter designs it’s competing with and can offer functional benefits as well as visual enhancements to your personal space.

On a functional level, whether you want to build a fence or just divide your backyard, you can use cladding in a variety of ways.  For example, to hide ugly pool or air-conditioning equipment, to offer you privacy from prying neighbours, or to provide shade from the afternoon sun.

The real beauty of wall cladding is it doesn’t have to be functional…it can be purely decorative.  If you want to add some pizzazz to your home you can clad parts of the external walls to make a special feature, such as NewTechWood decorative wall claddingthe gables.

Whether you are going for beach-hut chic, rustic appeal, or a modern contemporary touch, strategically placed external cladding in the right colour can really set the mood.  Think about the ‘look’ you want to achieve. With wall cladding, you can maintain a modern look choosing a grey-clad in a shadow-line profile, or choose walnut or teak for a more traditional timber look.

Wall cladding can also be suitable for older properties from the fifties and sixties to replace fibro or add a touch of class to otherwise plain exteriors, whereas houses from the Victorian era are already ornate. If you have a Victorian home, NewTechWood cladding can be used very successfully to tie in the old home with a new extension.  Cladding can also disguise an existing ugly extension and new bricks that don’t match the colour of the old.  And it’s perfect for coastal homes as the composite material is durable and withstands the hard-wearing pounding from sun, sea and sand.

Environmentally Friendly, Maintenance Free Home Improvements

Whatever product you go with to spice up the exterior of your home, you’ll need to consider your budget.  Consider the costs and your labour time involved in future upkeep and maintenance.  Sometimes the cheapest product is not your best option.  Be eco-conscious and use products that come from sustainable sources.  Think about quality and how long you want it to last.  Do you mind spending a lot of time and money maintaining real timber?  Would you prefer a product that is long lasting and requires no maintenance?

NewTechWood wall cladding is perfect for decorative use externally or for internal lining on alfresco area walls or ceilings.  It utilises a patented aluminium clip system to install the cladding. The system allows for air circulation between the cladding and joists, keeping the inside dry and isolating water from the outside.

You can install it then forget about it, but the real difference it can make to your home will last forever.

Find out more or talk to the team for advice about the best NewTechWood product for your next home improvement project.

 

Considering Slat Fencing? Then You Need to Consider The Regulations

composite timber slat fence, front boundary

Do you want a functional divider for your garden, complete privacy, or increased security? Slat fencing screens are an affordable and popular option.  With neat lines, slat screen fencing is both attractive and functional, allowing airflow along with privacy.  However, as with most building work, each local government council has their own rules and regulations.  Building permits may be necessary for some circumstances.

Check Regulations with your Local Council

A quick check with your council to establish local ordinances for your area can save you a lot of time and money.  Different councils have different rules governing fence height as well as the spacing gap allowed between the slats, depending on where your fence is to be located.  Suburbs in Perth are subject to different fence height regulations.  Your front fence can be anything from 1.2 to 1.8 m high, and your backyard fence can be 1.8 to 2.4m high.

The allowable slat gap spacing may also differ between councils. The spacing between slats is governed by visual permissibility regulations.  For example, in Wanneroo and Joondalup, a front fence exceeding 1.2m in height is required to be 50% visually permeable.  Therefore, a front fence comprising 100mm slats requires a gap spacing between the slats of no more than 50 mm.

There are special rules governing slat fencing if it is going to be used around a pool, and corner blocks also have a different set of rules.  Your council can provide you with your local rules including all laws governing distances, setbacks, allowable heights, slat gaps, and more.

composite timber slat fencing, fancyConsider the Neighbours

Once you’ve determined the regulations for your planned slat fence, your next consideration is the neighbours. Do you expect your neighbour to share costs for a dividing fence?  Most States have fencing Acts that govern dividing fences and describe the process for sharing costs with neighbours and for handling disputes.

Common sense things to consider include will your front fence interfere with your neighbour’s view of a special landscape feature, i.e. the ocean, or interfere with their vision when exiting their property? They will also want reassurance that a dividing fence does not encroach on their side of the boundary line.  If in doubt, use a professional surveyor.  Discuss your fence plans with neighbours in advance so they are in agreement, and get the agreement in writing to avoid potential legal problems.

Choose Your Slat Fencing Materials

Next, you need to choose the most appropriate materials for your slat fence with the most common options including traditional timber, aluminium, or composite timber.  Be aware that if you live in a heritage protected suburb, some fence materials are not permitted, i.e. bamboo.  Your local council can advise you on these restrictions.

Natural timber brings with it both affordability and beauty, and on the hottest days will not burn the plants growing close to it, but with this also comes a lifetime of upkeep and maintenance, and a shorter ‘life-span’ than aluminium or composites.  It will need regular repainting or oiling and staining to maintain protection for the wood and maintain its appearance.  However, even with that constant attention, over time it will be prone to warping, mould and rotting due to weather damage, not to mention the destruction caused by termites and other wood boring insects.

Aluminium is the most expensive option, but it will handle our hot Australian climate conditions better than natural timber and requires no maintenance.  It will last much longer than timber and is not prone to warping, rotting, or termite attack, however, depending on the type you buy, it can get very hot, and you need to consider any plants nearby that might suffer from the heat generated.  Depending on the manufacturer, its warranty can range anywhere from 2 to 10 years.

Consider Composite Timber Slats

A third option, composite timber, which is a combination of recycled timber and plastic, is a more attractive option for many because it is designed to look like real timber without the problems inherent with real wood.  And while it is also slightly more expensive than natural timber, it is cheaper than aluminium.  You never have to repaint, oil or seal it.  It is hard wearing, long-lasting and maintenance-free, and some come with 10-year warranties.  But shop around. For example, NewTechWood offers a 25-year warranty.

NewTechWood composite timber slats are treated with Ultrashield technology.  They are not only termite proof, they are UV and mould resistant, and will not rot or warp.  If you want slats that look like natural timber, but without all the maintenance and upkeep, this is your best option.  It also comes with aluminium channels, in different colours to match and coordinate with your fencing.

Old lattice fencingAs with slat fencing, screening has also come a long way from the days of timber lattice – do you remember the rusting nails, the peeling paint and broken lattice structure?

Slat screens also have their own set of rules which differ between Councils. When used as a privacy screen, as opposed to something to conceal an eyesore such as pool pumps and equipment, some of the considerations are that the maximum visual permeability allowed is 20%, and all privacy screens must meet minimum height requirements of 1.6m (above floor level).  In addition, the area of vision through the slats must be no more than 45 degrees.

Know the Installation Rules

Don’t rely on your installer to be aware of specific rules that pertain to your suburb; check with your local Council yourself. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Want to know more about slat fencing or composite timber slats? Talk to our friendly team about your project or get a quote.  Visit our showroom to see and feel the beauty of composite timber.

UltraShield Composite Decking.

Timber and Water – Fencing & Decking for Your Seaside Location

Here in Perth, especially in the western suburbs, it’s great to live by the beach to find relief from the hot summer sun. However, that hot sun and that beautiful salty air that feels so great against our skin isn’t so great for our outdoor areas and building exteriors. Special care and consideration needs to be taken in coastal regions to ensure the longevity of your fencing, decking, and even your home.

The Problem with Timber 

timber rotTimber is a classic material that many homeowners love to use for their homes and gardens. However, if you live near the ocean, timber is a poor choice for decking your outdoor living area or using in fencing as it’s not likely to last very long, even with proper care and maintenance. This is because UV rays dry out and crack the paint and seals used to maintain the timber, and the salty moisture in the air then seeps into the wood, causing mould and rot.

Similar Issues with Metal 

To avoid the common issues that people have with wood, many choose to use steel fencing instead. However, the use of metal comes with its own set of issues. Salt is highly corrosive to steel, causing it to rust much more quickly than it would in non-coastal areas. The closer your home is to the waterfront, the more severe this problem will be.

Composite Materials

That said – outdoor living is such a huge part of the Australian lifestyle that you will still want to invest in your outdoor living space to enjoy the sun and the sea breeze. So what are you to do to prevent your decking and fencing investments going down the drain after a few short months exposed to the sea air?

Composite materials provide the answer that you are looking for. While you’ll still get that welcoming and traditional aesthetic that timber offers, composite timber materials do not have the same weaknesses as their timber and metal counterparts when exposed to the elements, making them the perfect choice for seaside homes. Rather than having to constantly maintain, repair and replace your decking and fencing, composites deliver the long-lasting durability, being UV resistant and rot-free.

With quality composite timber (like the level of quality you’ll find in NewTechWood products), you’ll get a deck or fence designed to fully mimic real wood, right down to the grain texture. This way, you can achieve the classic look of wood that people love so much, but without all the hassle and cost of frequent maintenance and repairs.

Composite Cladding

Urban direct wholesale, cladding by Laura and Charles photography, North Perth

As well as composite being a fantastic material for your decking and fencing, composite cladding for your home’s exterior walls is also a great option for coastal areas – it doesn’t get affected by the salt air and so protects the walls of your home from succumbing to the harmful UV rays and salt air near the coast. Even cladding the exterior wall facing the coast or facing the sun at the hottest point of the day can have a huge impact on your home’s longevity.

To learn more about our products and what we can do for your home, get in touch with us today!

Hottest Outdoor Living Designs for 2017

Summer was designed to be enjoyed. Make the most of it by turning your outdoor living area into a personal outdoor sanctuary – a place where you can invite your friends and family to share lingering afternoons and brilliant summer nights.

If your outdoor living area needs revamping and you’re out of ideas, then get ready to be inspired. Here are the hottest outdoor living design ideas for 2017.

Deck it out, but keep it low-maintenance

Decking Urban Direct WholesaleTimber decking, especially in the popular modern shades of grey (like the image above) is the height of Instagrammable chic this year. If you’re hesitant to install timber decking because of the maintenance required to preserve its beauty, there is a solution. More and more homeowners are using composite timber materials to make their outdoor patio dreams a care-free reality.

Composite timber decking is just as beautiful as natural wood, but it can also stand up to the dramatic Australian climate (it’s UV and rot resistant) and is fully resistant to termites and other pests. The greatest advantage is you won’t need to sand, oil, stain or paint your composite timber patio or deck – ever.  Now you really can spend those lazy summer days relaxing and entertaining instead of sweating over home maintenance!

Vertical Gardens: Enjoy the greenery but save on space

Vertical gardenThe size of housing lots is shrinking, especially for urban and suburban dwellers. The little space you do get in your backyard is prime real estate. You need this for enjoying the outdoors and entertaining, not to languish beneath sprawling flower beds that cost you time and money to upkeep.  And spare a thought for apartment dwellers with no backyard, just a small balcony. Vertical gardens have become one of the most popular outdoor decorating trends this year, which is good news if you enjoy having some greenery and flora in your outdoor environment.

A living green wall creates a relaxing, serene atmosphere, while also offering natural seclusion and a fresh, eco-conscious design element. And with easy-to-install wall kits like this one from Urban Direct Wholesale, you can easily DIY and have your vertical garden set up in a weekend!

Practical and Versatile LED Lighting

LED lightingWith LED lights, you can really take your outdoor lighting to a whole new level of creativity, while still being practical and energy efficient. Use LEDs to highlight focal points in your garden, illuminate pathways, or simply to add a warm glow around your patio space.

Inviting Fire Pit Tables

Fire pit table(Image source)

No need to let cooler nights keep you inside. When you go for this year’s hottest outdoor trend – fire pit tables – you can sit around the fire with a glass of Shiraz while the stars come out. You’ll be able to enjoy this feature throughout this season and into the next, making your outdoor space warm and inviting. Choose from different metals or stone for your fire pit, which can also serve as your table for wine and cheese, brekkie and coffee, or your barbeque and brownies.

Statement Wall Cladding

Statement exterior wall claddingExternal wall cladding is becoming a popular choice for statement walls, creating a long-lasting, maintenance-free outdoor feature. With wall cladding made from composite timber, you can choose the perfect colour and style to match your existing exterior, giving you total control over how your outdoor space should look. Your cladding will last for decades without appearing weathered or worn by the harsh Australian climate. Cladding is an easy upgrade that makes a huge impact.

Refurbished and Recycled Furniture

Recycled pallett furniture(Image source)

To get a look that is totally unique, try thinking out-of-the-box when it comes to your outdoor furnishings. Reclaimed wood, repurposed metals like crates and pallets, and other salvaged materials can be used to create original pieces with a rustic charm that you can’t find in new furniture. This trend is eco-friendly and adds a beautiful warmth to your outdoor space. Shop around at second-hand stores, furniture stores that specialise in salvaged materials, and even verge-side collections to discover the next treasure to make your outdoor space look perfect.

These simple design trends will help create the look you’ve always wanted and enable you to really enjoy the “great outdoors”, soaking up all those sun-filled days and gorgeous Australian nights with very little effort.

To get started on your outdoor renovation right away, check out our outdoor living products on NewTechWood Australia and Urban Direct Wholesale!

Worn out timber decking

Should I paint over my worn timber decking?

Painting over worn out timber decking is certainly tempting – a quick fix to get you through another season. But should you paint over worn out timber decking? It’s not a good idea.

Why you shouldn’t paint over a worn out deck

Decking that is worn and flaking is unattractive, but it is giving you warning signs. If the flaking extends to the wood, or the wood has become spongey, it means it is rotting and on its last legs. Painting the deck to look better doesn’t stop the wood from deteriorating; it only hides the inevitable a little longer.

Ignoring these warning signs might save you some cash in the short term as you put off replacing the deck, but you could end up paying a much dearer price. Worn decking around a home or public pool could give way, causing grave injury to your family or patrons – not to mention the possibility of lawsuits as a result of those or even less serious injuries.

What are your other options?

One option is to replace your deck with new timber. Should you choose this option, you will have a lovely deck no doubt, but you will also be subject to the maintenance it requires, and inevitably the same issues you face today. As with your current deck, a new timber deck is going to wear over time, requiring repairs or replacement to keep it safe and looking good.

Decking Urban Direct WholesaleA better option you may want to consider is instead replacing the deck with composite timber decking. These decks are beautiful, easy to maintain, and last a very long time. Composite timber decking is perfect for home and commercial use. Al fresco areas become lovely, functional and easy to maintain when made from this special decking. Some of its many benefits include:

Easy Maintenance – Your timber composite deck will not require sanding, oiling or painting like wood does.

Looks Like Wood – No one will know that your deck is timber composite because quality composites are virtually identical to the look and feel of real wood – from the colouring to the grooves.

Resistant to Pests – You will not have to worry about insects or termites eating away and destroying your deck.

Protected Against Moisture – You will not have to worry about rain, spills or pool moisture warping your deck. Your timber composite will be fully capped for Ultra Protection against moisture.

UV Protection – Your deck will be UV protected, so there will not be any fading from sun exposure.

Eco- Friendly Materials – You can feel good about the decking, which is made from 95% recycled materials. This includes reclaimed wood fibres and high-grade recycled plastics.

Rated for BAL 29 Areas – If you live in a bush fire area, you can take comfort in knowing that your timber composite deck is rated for BAL 29 areas.

25 Years Worry-Free – If you go with NewTechWood composite decking, you it will come with a 25-year warranty. This is an incredible guarantee.

Your deck or fresco area is meant to be for enjoying, not spending hours on end maintaining. So before you decide to put a coat of paint on your worn or chipping deck, take a look at timber composite decking. As with other products, seeing is believing and these are worth seeing!

If you’re interested in upgrading your decking for the coming summer, you can also avail of our Spring/Summer 2016 decking offer – where you’ll receive a free grow wall or outdoor umbrella voucher depending on your project size. For more information, or to find a supplier near you, just get in touch with us!

Restaurant, Bar & Hotel Al Fresco Area Inspiration

Summer is right around the corner, and for Aussie restaurant, bar, café and hotel owners that means that more and more of your patrons will want to sit outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.

To give your customers a pleasant and satisfying experience, now is the time to get your outdoor area looking its best. Whether you operate a large restaurant, a small cafe, or a luxury hotel, you want to provide a relaxing environment that your guests will love. With a few tweaks to your al fresco area, it will offer a memorable experience that will have customers coming back again and again.

#1 Rule – Provide Ample Shade

It’s impossible to have a successful al fresco area in Australia without ample shade for patrons. And there are so many types of commercial shade umbrellas to choose from to suit the look you want to go for.

centre-pole-commercial-umbrellas

 

Centre pole umbrellas are great for dining areas as they can be stabilised in the centre of dining tables. Versions that tilt enable you to continuously block the sun as it moves across the sky throughout the day.

cantilever-commercial-umbrellas

For pool environments, rotating cantilever umbrellas work well, as they allow guests to adjust them to accommodate the moving sun.

cantilever-cafe-umbrellas

wall-mounted-commercial-umbrellas

Wall mounted and Cantilever umbrellas also work well for al fresco areas at the front of your property. As the pole is to the side of the umbrella, rather than the middle, you can place the pole at your front wall to shade the tables along the street without a pole getting in the way of diners or walkers on the path.

high-wind-resistant-commercial-umbrellas

High wind performance umbrellas are particularly useful in coastal areas where offshore winds can sometimes be quite strong – prevent your umbrellas catching a draft and tipping over on top of your guests!

Create Al Fresco Booths

UltraShield Composite Woven Screen using 10mm Fascia Board.

While an open plan outdoor dining area can work well, the same design rules applies to outdoor dining areas as for indoor. Open plan seating gives a casual café vibe, while breaking up the area with booths allows for a more intimate ‘grab a booth and settle in for the day’ scene – exactly what you want to keep the drinks orders flowing throughout the day.

Particularly for bigger groups and functions, people love having private alcoves where they feel they can have their own little al fresco area for their group. A simple way to create this is with timber screening panels – giving a rustic or modern look depending on the timber style you choose. They’re also easily moveable, so you can switch up the shape of the partitions with ease should you find your design isn’t working well or blocking wait-staff from quickly moving around the floor.

Alfresco using UltraShield decorative screening in Walnut.

You can also use screens to block off server areas from the view of guests, giving a more professional look.

Composite timber screens are a better choice than traditional wood as they require no maintenance – they’re rot-proof and UV resistant, so all they need is a quick wipe down every now and then to keep them looking clean. High-quality composites look just as good as the real thing too, mimicking the look and feel of real wood right down to the appearance of the grain, so you’ll still get that rustic look you’re after.

For your hotel pool, you can use composite screens to create private cabanas by the pool that your guests can rent for the day, allowing them to relax in privacy. You can also use screens to separate family areas from adults-only areas for guests without children.

Upgrade Your Poolside Decking

Deck intro image

There’s no better place for your hotel’s guests to enjoy the warm weather than lounging by the pool. However, that experience can quickly be ruined by splinters underfoot or uneven deck slats that result in stubbed toes. Now is the time to check your timber decking to ensure it’s safe for another season, and if it requires maintenance you might be better off switching to composite decking*.

Over time, timber can become damaged in wet environments, leading it to rot from the inside, out. In addition, wood can bend or warp as changes in the weather cause it to contract and expand. Regular exposure to the sun can also cause wood to crack and splinter, causing a safety hazard for your guests – not to mention the looming possibility of a liability lawsuit for you! With composite materials, you can avoid these problems, keep your deck looking great for many years to come, and provide your guests with a safe environment – all with little or no maintenance.

*Summer 2016 Decking Offer

At NewTechWood Australia we’re currently running an awesome decking offer to help you Get Deck Ready for the summer crowds – spend over $4,400 on decking and you’ll receive a $500 voucher towards one of those commercial shade umbrellas you see above! Check out the full details of the offer here!

Increase the Resale Value of Your Home

Looking for some ways to increase the resale value of your home so you can sell it this spring? September through November are the best months for putting your property on the market, with real estate professionals noticing as much as a 20 percent boost in home sales in Perth during this time. While the brighter weather and renewed energy of the season may make potential buyers see your home in a more attractive light, you’ll also need to put in some effort yourself to boost the value of your home.

From enhancing that all-important curb appeal to giving your interior a makeover, here are the tips that will impress potential buyers and increase the resale value of your property.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

You don’t have to paint your entire home if it’s going to break the bank, but painting rooms that are heavily trafficked (the kitchen and bathroom) or those that look scuffed could increase the value of your home by 1 to 3 percent. Also, your son’s forest green bedroom or the aqua colour in the guest bathroom could certainly benefit from a redo – bold and garish paint colours are almost never well-received by potential buyers. Opt instead for greys, off-whites, creams and other neutral colours.

Eliminate Clutter

Eliminate Clutter

You can boost the resale value of your home without spending a dollar. Spend a weekend cleaning out all the items that make your home look cluttered, busy and ‘lived in,’ like family photographs, small kitchen appliances, books, and toys. Declutter as much as possible, with the goal of creating an open, clean environment that a buyer could envision themselves living in. Also, do a thorough cleaning in all parts of your home or hire professional cleaning services. This will make your home so much brighter, roomier and more appealing to potential buyers!

Increase Curb Appeal

Increase curb appeal with cladding

Increasing your curb appeal is one of the most lucrative investments you can make into the resale value of your home. First impressions are important, and a stunning exterior brings a greater number of interested parties to your door to see the rest of the house.

But go a step further and increase your curb appeal with features that not only add to the aesthetics but are also of benefit to the property’s durability and security and you’re really onto a winner.

Adding timber cladding to the exterior walls not only gives a home a unique design, it also helps to keep the property better protected from the elements. This will add value to your property in the eyes of potential buyers, who want a home that can stand the test of time. Composite timber cladding offers the warmth and luxury of natural wood, combined with a superior level of protection and durability as it is UV and stain resistant, impervious to water and doesn’t rot with weathering. Also, there is ‘no maintenance required’ – three golden words that homebuyers love to hear!

UltraShield slat fencing in Teak, used for front fence.

Another great way to improve the curb appeal is to fence the front yard. Front yard fencing not only offers greater privacy and security, but it makes the front yard a usable space, rather than just a pretty lawn for show. When the front yard is fenced in, homeowners can use the space for kids or animals to safely play. Again, opting for composite timber fencing is a great choice as it gives that homey, welcoming timber aesthetic, but with none of the maintenance issues that comes with real timber.

Kitchen or Bathroom Upgrades

Make sure your kitchen and bathroom are in excellent condition when putting your home on the market this spring. These two rooms can modernise or date a home very quickly, so they are major selling points when done right. You certainly don’t need to do a complete remodel, but if, for example, the bathroom sink is cracked or a new kitchen countertop would turn the room from ‘needing work’ to ‘immediately liveable’, then consider it a small renovation project with a big return.

Make the most of the backyard

Make the most of your backyard with decking

With the warmer climate here in Perth, and Australia-wide, the backyard of people’s homes often become an extension of the living space once the sun comes out, so buyers are looking at the potential of the yard just as much as the living room.

Creating a decked outdoor entertaining space will quickly increase your home’s resale value and could be the feature that persuades them to make an offer. Composite timber decking will give you the best value for your investment – it’s fully capped for Ultra Protection against moisture, which means there is no risk of water damage or rot so it won’t need to be revarnished or replaced every few years.

Give your home some tender loving care and you’re likely to see a return on time and money invested. Making an effort to improve the look and feel of your home is especially important when the property market in Perth isn’t as robust as it once was. With a few simple DIY or renovation projects, you can increase the resale value of your home and help you to get your asking price.

5 Timber Decking Inspection Tips You Need to Know

Timber decking can be a beautiful addition to your home or business al fresco area. However, it is absolutely crucial, particularly in the business setting – whether at a hotel’s poolside or a café’s al fresco dining area – that the deck be properly maintained to preserve the safety of both your employees and your customers.

Over time, timber decking can deteriorate, which can result in it being unstable, potentially opening your business up to costly liability lawsuits. Luckily, there is plenty of evidence for you to watch out for in order to determine if your deck needs to be repaired or fully replaced.

Check for Localised Damage

Start with a preliminary visual inspection of your deck and look for any specific areas that are damaged. Check for wood warping, cracking or rotting. If the damage is isolated to a specific location, like underneath a potted plant or near a hose faucet, you may be able to repair or replace the wood in just that area, without needing to replace the entire deck.

Determine if the Damage Runs Deeper

If the damage is not centralised around a particular location, it may be a sign of serious internal damage, which will likely result in the need to replace the entire deck. Typically, by the time you can see evidence of damage on the outside, it is already widespread in the internal substructure of the wood. Possible causes of internal damage can include termites or rotting due to wet weather conditions. If you catch a termite infestation early enough, the damage might be minimal enough that you can get away with spot repairs, but this is usually not the case. As for rotting, this almost always requires a full replacement.

rotten-wood-411903_640

Test the Railings

Give the railings around the edge of your deck a firm shake. If they feel loose, it could be a sign of rotting or other damage that is not necessarily visible from the outside. The base of the railings should fit securely into the base of the deck with little or no wiggle room. Your railings keep deck pedestrians safe from falls, so this should be an area of high priority for you in conducting your inspections.

Evaluate the Fasteners

nail-1098453_640

Check the areas around any screws or nails. The head of the fastener should lay flat against the wood, and there should be no space around the edges. Over time, the wood contracts and expands with the changes in the weather, which can result in fasteners beginning to work their way upwards and out of the wood. This contraction and expansion can also cause the wood to become uneven, creating edges that people can trip over, potentially injuring themselves.

Replacing your decking? Look out for better options

If you’ve determined that the damage to your deck is too far gone and the entire deck needs to be replaced, you should look into your options.

Installing a new timber deck is likely the first option you’d think of, but when it comes to decking is timber really worth it? You’ve just seen firsthand how quickly timber can rot, especially when around a damp area like poolside or a humid environment.

A better option is to replace your timber deck with composite materials. Here at NewTechWood, we specialise in creating composite wood materials that look just like the real thing but without the constant need for repair and replacement. Our composite decking is fully capped, preventing water damage, fading and staining. Although the initial cost is a little higher than timber, the investment is well worth it to protect your team and your customers.

We recently replaced some rotted timber decking for customers in Perth with composite decking and the results were fantastic – check out the before and after shots below!

Before decking renovation 1
Decking renovation #1 – Before
Progress
Decking renovation #1 – In progress
Decking renovation #1 - After!
Decking renovation #1 – After!
Decking renovation #2 - Before & After
Decking renovation #2 – Before & After

With composite decking, your deck will look great for many years to come. To learn more about our composite materials, give us a call at (08) 9494 1051 or fill out our online contact form. We’ll be happy to help you start planning and designing a beautiful and safer deck for your al fresco area.

6 Sustainable Building Tips to Coincide with Green Building Day 2016

With six months passed since the signing of the momentous Paris Agreement, embracing sustainability is becoming the wave of the future. Green Building Day in Perth is right around the corner on 23 June 2016, with many of the leading names in construction and environment coming together in Curtin University to discuss how the building sector must modernise practices in order to contribute to the ‘two degree world’ we’re aiming for.

So with that in mind we have put together six of our top sustainable building tips!

Use Sustainable Materials

Sustainable Composite Decking
Sustainable Composite Decking

The use of sustainable materials is important for the future of our resources.  While sustainably sourced timber is available, with the high level of construction projects going on around WA and Australia-wide, it is becoming more difficult to sustainably source timber in such large quantities, and thus more of the world’s forests are being pillaged.

Using composite timber building materials for things like flooring, decking, exterior wall cladding and fencing is a solution that not only matches the aesthetics of timber, but even brings enhanced benefits to the build.

Quality composite materials (such as Ultrashield, manufactured by NewTechWood) come unbelievably close to replicating the look and feel of real timber, even down to the texture and grooves of the wood grain. And they have the added benefit of being made from recycled materials using sustainable processes, including recycled timber shavings and plastic milk bottles. In addition, composite material are more durable than timber, do not rot and do not need maintenance – thus less replacement, less wastage and less chemical treatments needed – all further green positives.

Use a Rainwater Collection System

A rainwater harvesting system gathers up the water as it runs off the roof of your building and stores it for other uses. This collected water can then be reused in areas not meant for human consumption, like in toilets and for watering plants or lawns. This way, the building will not be wasting precious drinking water in areas where it is not needed.

Focus on Insulation

A large amount of the energy usage for a building comes from heating and cooling, accounting for about 50 percent of energy costs. Heat in the winter and cooling in the summer can easily escape through leaks around doors, windows and ducts, resulting in more energy being used to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Pay special attention to these areas throughout the construction process to ensure that they are properly sealed. Even a layer of insulating fibre in the roof can have a profound impact on the energy needed to heat and cool a home or building. Once the building is constructed, install thermostats and set the temperature as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is tolerable in the summer to avoid heavy energy usage.

Architects and planners should also keep passive heating and cooling in mind when laying the plans for a new build. This means taking into account the position of the sun in the mornings and afternoons around a new development, so they can position the layout of doors, windows and rooms to take advantage of the natural heat or cooling in an area. For example, for a building in an area that requires heating, positioning a large window or sliding door to face the morning sun would allow it to heat the hard floor, which would emit heat to the home for the remainder of the day. Conversely, in areas that tend to need more cooling, positioning windows away from the sun’s location at the hottest part of the day and using shade to your advantage will cut energy costs significantly.

Install Vertical Wall Gardens

Green Wall Vertical Garden
Gro Wall Vertical Garden from Urban Direct Wholesale

Speaking of insulation, it doesn’t have to be all hidden in the attic and wall cavities – some insulation can be a beautiful eco feature of a home or even a commercial build! We’re talking of course about vertical gardens, which serve as an excellent way to make use of an empty wall or an unused corner of your building.

Having live plants growing helps to purify the surrounding air and beautify your building. Green walls can even help you to meet the required national energy efficiency regulations and Green Ratings on building design. They can also can act as a thermal insulator for buildings, cooling in summer and retaining heat in winter.

Install Solar Panels

solar-power-862602_960_720

Solar panels are one of the greatest investments you can make for your building. While they do come with a substantial initial installation cost, that cost is far outweighed by the energy savings over the life of the building.

Solar energy is clean and renewable, so you can freely use this energy source without worrying about harm to the environment. You may even be eligible to receive rebates from the government for installing energy-saving solar panels.

Recycle Construction Materials

Once a building is completed, you’ve got to do something with the waste and leftover materials. Recycling these materials prevents them from ending up in landfills and cluttering up our environment. If any of the materials are still usable, save them for a future building project, or sell them to another builder who has an immediate need for them.

Composite vs. Timber Decking and Fencing – Is Timber Worth It?

Image Credit

If you’re planning on installing a deck or fence in the near future, or if it is time to upgrade your current installation, you’ve got a decision to make. Will you go with traditional timber, or will you choose composite materials? Both of these options have their share of benefits and drawbacks. Read on to learn what you need to know to make an educated decision for your property.

Timber Decking & Fencing: The Benefits

There are plenty of reasons to choose timber as your decking or fencing material –

  • It’s an extremely versatile material – you can give your deck or fence a traditional and rustic look when stained or painted a certain way (think white picket fence or deck with lightly stained rustic timber beams), or a luxurious and slick look using a different stain or paint (think smooth buffed dark stained timber)
  • You can easily strip one stain or colour and change it up if you get tired of your first choice
  • Timber is easy to work with – cut, shape, sand, stain or paint – and is readily available, making it a relatively inexpensive option
  • If you’re looking to save money (at least in the short term – more on this later) it can be a good choice.

Timber Decking & Fencing: The Drawbacks

While timber has a lot of draws, it also has a lot of drawbacks –

  • While timber looks great to begin with, it requires a lot of maintenance to keep it in good condition. Annual painting and staining adds to the cost of the deck or fence each year – both in terms of the money spent on materials and the labour or time spent by yourself
  • Even with annual maintenance, timber is prone to weathering easily. It will begin to break down, warp, weaken and rot in the elements and boards will likely still need to be replaced every few years to extend the life of your deck or fence – more additional cost
  • For the environmentally conscious, producing timber does require the cutting down of trees, and not all manufacturers practice sustainable methods. Be sure to research the organisation before making a decision to ensure that their practices align with your values.

Composite Decking & Fencing: The Benefits

Composite with real look and feel of timber
Composite with real look and feel of timber

While composite is a newer material, it is gaining in popularity and has become a popular choice because:

  • If you choose the right composite you essentially get all the aesthetic benefits of timber, with none of the maintenance drawbacks. Some lower quality composites don’t have this feature down quite yet – they can look more like plastic boards with the ‘wood-look’ essentially printed on, so make sure to see and feel the composite before you buy. Higher quality composite boards (like NewTechWood UltraShield Decking and Fencing) look and feel almost indistinguishable from real timber with tangible and visible grooves, knots and colour variations in the grain
  • Composite is highly durable and maintenance free – no annual staining or maintenance required. High-end composites, (again, like the ones used by NewTechWood), come fully capped, meaning that they have a protective layer around all four sides. This added layer of protection makes composite decks and fences UV-resistant, fade-resistant, and aging-resistant. Basically, composite material is immune to all of the hazards that can break down timber over time, making it a durable, low-maintenance choice that can stand up to the elements throughout the years
  • Like timber, composite decking and fencing materials are also relatively inexpensive. But unlike timber, as we mentioned, there is no maintenance needed, meaning no additional costs added to the initial cost, making composite even more economical in the long-term

Composite Decking & Fencing: The Drawbacks

There really aren’t many drawbacks to composite, but there are a few to mention –

  • Composite materials tend to be more expensive than cheaper timber, but are on par with better quality timber fencing or decking boards
  • Composite fencing and decking materials can’t be stripped and re-stained or painted like timber can, so make sure to make the right choice of colour or stain to begin with
  • At the lower end, composite materials cannot closely replicate the look of timber, resulting in an appearance that does not quite look natural. But as we mentioned above, this isn’t an issue with better quality composite products like our UltraShield decking and fencing

Who comes out on top?

Composite timber and natural timber have their own unique selling points. However, many people would be of the opinion that the drawbacks of timber outweigh the benefits, and in the end it’s just not worth the effort and cost of upkeep.

Composite on the other hand has far more benefits than it has drawbacks. It’s both relatively inexpensive in the short-term and completely inexpensive in the long-term. And it won’t cost you time or labour to maintain. We even offer a 25-year warranty on our composite decking and fencing!

If you’d like to find out more about NewTechWood’s quality composite fences, decks, wall cladding, and screening, visit our Perth showrooms, give us a call or use our online contact form and we’ll be in touch!