How to Calculate Cost of Ownership of a Timber-Look Composite Deck

composite NewTechWood decking, outdoor roomToday’s trend is to create an outdoor space or ‘room’ that provides more quality living space for the family.  It allows you to enjoy the outdoors and it’s cheaper than building on an extra room.  Whether this is an extravagant outdoor space with kitchen and fans, or a simpler set up with just a BBQ, one of the major expenses in common with both is the flooring.

Due to the expense and time for ongoing maintenance required for natural timber, interest has grown in composite decking options, such as NewTechWood.

NewTechWood is a timber-look composite manufactured from 60% recycled timber and 40% recycled plastic.  It’s not only environmentally friendly, but it requires little to no maintenance compared to natural timber and comes with a 25-year warranty.

Decks can be constructed from cheaper treated pine through to heavier, more expensive natural timbers, but the one thing they have in common is they all require a lifetime of ongoing maintenance. Yes, natural timber decking is lighter and more inexpensive but certain timbers may be infused with harsh chemicals to prevent mould, mildew and other problems common to timber. These chemicals often create a greenish tint to the boards that may take many summers to fade and can be poisonous to pets.

Upfront Savings Don’t Equal Cheaper Decks

However, when the budget is the number one priority, most homeowners turn to cheaper timber, like treated pine, because this wood is low cost – at least initially. The more upmarket timbers, such as Jarrah and spotted gum are not only pricier and still require ongoing maintenance, but they deplete our natural resources. Because they are natural wood, they will also eventually surface check (crack), warp, cup, or splinter, even with the best of care.

There are more reasons people are turning to wood-look composites, but as with timbers, even composites are not created ‘equal’.  Cheaper composites are cheaper for a reason and you get what you pay for. The cheaper composites not only look plastic and feel plastic, they don’t last.  Tip: Check the warranty.

Higher-quality wood composite, like the product offered by NewTechWood, is fabricated using high-density recycled plastics and wood fibres – materials that typically end up in our landfills – to create boards that look like real wood and feel like the real deal underfoot.

This quality-made composite timber decking is manufactured to be eco-friendly and create a durable, natural look with a lower total cost of ownership than natural timber decks. Yes, you read that right. And I know what you’re thinking. “But I’ve checked it out and timber is so much cheaper!”

Calculating the True Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

 When choosing construction materials for your new outdoor space, don’t simply consider the initial costs of materials and construction. You’re going to own that deck for a long time and you want it to last without a lot of time and money-consuming maintenance.

For example, natural timber will require the application of a wood sealant or oil regularly – every six to twelve months depending on climate, exposure to the elements, and the amount of use it gets. The weather, the sun, the family activities – all of these take their toll on your outdoor living space. This results in the necessity of ongoing routine maintenance and potential for expensive repairs. Re-stain it. Reseal it. Power wash it each spring to remove mildew and mould. Replace worn decking weakened over time.  Your “cheaper” natural timber deck needs constant upkeep.

You can pay someone to seal your deck each season and you’ll add to the TCO every time the maintenance crew shows up. Time to write another cheque.  Of course, you can do it yourself, but you’ll spend much of your free time (as well as money) applying the chemicals to the decking while trying to keep the kids and the family dog away.

So, when calculating the total cost of ownership, start with initial costs for materials, and add the labour cost of construction. Then add the cost of stains, sealants, and routine deck maintenance. Calculate the value of your time if you spend a Saturday sealing the deck instead of snoozing on the deck!

Calculate Lifetime Costs

composite decking, spend family time rather than time on maintenanceWhen calculating TCO, run your numbers out at least 10 to 20 years. How much will the TCO be for your deck then, when you add up annual maintenance costs, the hours of painting, staining, sealing, and scrubbing off mould, not to mention the rising cost of the products you need to use.  Don’t just consider the initial cost. Determine the total cost of ownership over the expected life of your deck.

In a nutshell, with natural timber over the next 20+ years, you will be spending a lot of time and money on ongoing maintenance… but with a composite, like NewTechWood, the only thing you’ll be spending time and money on is throwing another shrimp on the barbie and once in a while washing down your deck with a hose and a broom.

What sounds better to you? Find out more about NewTechWood and where to buy composite NewTechWood from trusted suppliers around Australia.

 

Lighten Up Your Deck This Winter

Thanks to outdoor heaters and firepits, you can now enjoy your outdoors even in the colder months.

The only question is how appealing is your outdoor patio in the darker, colder times of the year?  Furthermore, how safe is it?  Have you tried navigating steps in the dark while juggling trays of refreshments?  Or have you put your drink on the deck beside your feet only to have someone knock it over because they couldn’t see it?  And who wants to sit in gloom in the first place, heater or no heater?  The solution is to add a little landscape lighting.

landscape lighting t o enhance composite timber deckingLandscape lighting is used to enhance the aesthetics of gardens and landscapes as well as to provide security and safety for night time navigation.

With carefully placed lights you can also highlight interesting focal points in your garden that otherwise would not be seen in the dark.  This may be your favourite tree or garden bed or even a special garden sculpture.

When you’re entertaining, if you don’t have the traditional string party lights or fairy lights, you may be relying on floodlights or regular patio lighting, which is okay from a safety perspective, but not very cosy or visually appealing and does little to illuminate at ground level.

Deck Lighting Ideas

For outdoor lighting, you can choose between solar or electric powered pole lights, small pathway lanterns, fixed post lamps and wall lanterns, hurricane or camping lanterns, outdoor fireplaces, chimineas, candles, firepits or tiki torches.  And now, thanks to deck lights, you can enhance every area of your patio, steps and pathways, including those edges of your deck that traditionally remain in the dark and hidden when the sun goes down.

lighting set into decking boards

Subtle lighting supplied by deck lights also means you have illumination when and where you want it without the bug-attracting, eye-blinding light from traditional floodlights.

If you want to switch between brighter lighting or softer lighting, choose a system with an optional dimmer switch.

For example, Siros LED Deck lights not only offer easy installation with their Plug and Play system, but it comes with optional extras such as the LED Dimmer and Remote Control.

You can go bright when your guests are mingling and eating, then dim down for those more intimate occasions.

And with low voltage systems, such as the Siros LED deck light system, you can save on electricity as well as enjoying maximum protection against the risk of electric shock.

lights inset into side of composite decking seatIn addition to choosing locations for your landscape lighting to achieve the best effect visually as well as for safety or security purposes, other considerations include whether you want to connect to a solar system, mains power, use timers or motion sensors, or operate the system remotely via your phone.

 

 

Fortunately, there are many options for all tastes and budgets when it comes to landscape lighting and you are guaranteed to find something to suit your circumstances.

For the best advice on decking materials, landscape design tips and products to enhance your composite timber decking, contact the team at New Tech Wood.