Natural-Looking Timber Composite: Making the Right Choice

Why do People Choose Composite Timber Over Natural Timber?

There are many reasons why homeowners, renovators and tradespeople are opting for natural look timber composites over harvested timbers.

  • They want to save forests.
  • orangutans, reason to choose timber compositeThey want to save orangutans whose homes are harvested to provide us with Merbau decking.
  • They want to minimize waste plastic going into landfill or clogging up our oceans.
  • They don’t want to deal with ongoing deck maintenance as needed with natural timber, i.e. sanding, oiling, re-sealing, painting.
  • They want long lasting, value for money.
  • They want a timber-look deck without the splinters or protruding nails.
  • They want a timber-look deck that doesn’t warp or cup.
  • They want a timber-look deck that is UV, fade, stain and mould resistant.
  • They want a timber-look deck that won’t be attacked by termites.
  • And in Australia, many want a timber-look deck with a high BAL fire rating.

But not all timber composites are created equal and the price is not always a good indicator.  One way you can differentiate is to check the warranty offered.  Then ask yourself, would you be happy with a 7 or 10-year warranty, or would you be more comfortable with a 25-year warranty?

NewTechWood, which prides itself on a quality product, maintains a rigid Quality Assurance process before the product is even allowed to leave the factory.  This enables them to offer a 25-year warranty with confidence.

Top quality timber composites are made from a combination of high-density, recycled plastics and wood fibres, formed into a variety of colours and natural-looking wood hues.  This results in composite decking like NewTechWood that is low maintenance provides lasting durability, is capped fully around all four sides of the board, and has a BAL29 fire rating.

Hollow or Solid?

Most composite deck board manufacturers offer only solid core boards, due to the speed and ease in manufacturing those boards versus manufacturing hollow boards.  But when NewTechWood moved their factory from the U.S. to China, they made sure being able to still provide both options was a viable and successful process.

Hollow Core Composite Decking

The NewTechWood ‘Metro’ decking board is a circular hollow core timber composite that is ideal for residential decking on joist spans no larger than 350mm.

Hollow core composite is lighter in weight, and thus less expensive than the solid board, but is still appropriate for all Australian climate and weather conditions.  Hollow board cuts down the weight of a 4.8m board by as much as 32% or 4.5kgs when compared to a solid board.  This makes them easier to work with.

Hollow boards are easy to install and built to last, and contrary to the fear that being hollow is somehow inferior to a solid board, while these boards do use less material, they are actually crafted scientifically for strength. Would they offer a 25-year warranty on an “inferior” product? The fact is the strength of the arch structure of the voids in NewTechWood hollow boards makes up for the use of less material in the core.

As for the ‘holes’ showing at the ends of the boards, they have end caps designed to finish the boards and thus no holes are visible.

Solid Core Composite Decking

The NewTechWood XL range is designed for commercial, heavy duty use, and is also used in residential situations where deck joist spans are a minimum of 450mm.  These solid boards naturally are heavier and slightly more expensive than the hollow range.

composite timber decking, with chairs trees

The XL range is also useful when replacing an older timber deck where the existing sub-frame is already based on joist spacings of 450mm.

However, as with the hollow board, the solid range is easy to install and durable, and of course, you have peace of mind with that 25-year Warranty.

Composite decking, like NewTechWood, offers a high quality, competitively affordable timber decking alternative that ticks all the boxes on a personal level as well as environmentally, which is why more people are choosing composite over natural timber.

Find out where to buy NewTechWood from our trusted suppliers around Australia or visit a display centre.

Vertical Gardens and Your Health

Modern houses are smaller and designed to be more airtight to protect against increasing air pollutants, providing the perfect environment for health issues.

Outside often fares little better, thanks to subdivisions, smaller housing lots, subsequent diminishing garden space and the popularity of artificial lawns also impacting on the quality of our atmosphere.

The Air We Breathe

The resultant poorer air quality in buildings and its negative effects is known as ‘sick building syndrome’.  Think about the toxic gasses emitted around us daily from air-conditioners, unflued gas heaters and gas cooking appliances, not to mention paints, carpets, upholstery, insulation, photocopiers, cleaning agents and a number of other everyday products… and that’s just inside the building.  Constant exposure can cause serious health issues, especially for those who suffer from respiratory ailments, such as asthma.

Effective ‘Air Cleaning’ Plants

Studies by the University of Technology in Sydney NSW have found that in a room of approx. 10-12 sqm, just 3 large plants or 6 table sized plants can eliminate between 50-70% of these toxic gasses.  The plants they used were Dracaena Deremensis and Peace Lillies but they found that kentia palms, devils ivy and umbrella trees also worked, and they believe most other plants will do likewise.

plant for health benefitsNASA (USA) found that spider plants can remove more than 90% of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide from our living and working spaces.  Their study found that plants not only convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through photosynthesis, many also remove dangerous elements from the air such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.  Some of the plants they used for their 2-year study and which they found most effective included heartleaf and elephant ear philodendron, English ivy, spider plant, weeping fig, peace lilies, Chinese evergreen, snake plant and bamboo palm.


Urban ‘Heat Islands’

An urban heat island is an area that is noticeably warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to increased human activity, modification of land surfaces such as replacing grassed areas with pavers, and the increasing use of dark building colours, e.g. dark grey walls and roofs.  As an area grows in population, its average temperature also increases.  The urban heat island effect also contributes towards a decrease in air and water quality.

Concern has been raised that the urban heat island effect may possibly be contributing to our planet’s global warming.  Research in China found that the urban heat island effect contributes to climate warming by approx. 30%.

To combat urban heat islands, more and more cities are encouraging the use of green roofs (rooftop gardens) and the use of lighter coloured surface materials which reflect sunlight and absorb less heat.

In new suburbs of darker coloured houses built close together with minimal greenery you can imagine how easily urban heat islands can develop.  Atlantis Vertical Gardens make it possible to surround yourself with greenery even with lack of space because you can attach them to fence lines as well as house walls.

Green Insulation

Instead of a solitary plant standing in the corner, or on a table, imagine a wall of green flourishing inside your home.  Quite apart from the visually pleasing aspect and the fact that you’re helping to clean the air your family breathes, this green wall offers remarkable insulating qualities.  It will help keep that wall and part of the house cooler in summer, and warmer in winter. This will also produce savings on your power bills, depending on the size of your ‘green wall’.  You may need professional advice to choose the right plants depending on which room you plan to place your green wall because the amount of natural light and humidity it will receive will all factor into its effectiveness and will influence the types of plants you can grow successfully.

Green for Mental Health

living wallResearchers have now confirmed that the presence of plants has positive psychological benefits in the workplace and for students.  Their studies showed a reduction in stress levels and an increase in performance.  In parts of the world where SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a problem, researchers have found that a ‘living plant’ wall increases feelings of well-being and happiness.  Sufferers of SAD experience feelings of depression, tiredness and lack of energy every winter.   It is for good reason that people are advised to take a walk in nature when feeling stressed, so imagine if all you had to do was go home and enjoy your green wall to unwind and cheer up after a hard day.

Taking this a step further, The Department of Plant, Soil and General Agriculture at Southern Illinois University in the US, did a study to investigate the effects of indoor horticultural activity on the well-being of the elderly inhabitants at two long-term care facilities.  At the end of the study, they found that those in the horticultural activity group rated significantly higher on the wellbeing and happiness scale than the control group who did not participate in these activities. The elderly appreciate vertical gardens also because the gardens can be placed at heights which mean they don’t have to kneel or bend down.

The Food We Eat

We are all concerned with the number of chemicals sprayed on our foods and genetically modified foods, and while we may not be able to safeguard every single thing we put in our mouths, we can take some control when we grow our own.

vertical garden, grow wallMost people know vertical gardens are the perfect remedy for lack of external garden space, but how many have considered inside gardening?  Or plants other than ferns or succulents?  In fact, how many have considered vertical farming?

Whether you want to grow your own herbs alongside your favourite flowering plants, you can do this inside as well as outside, provided you choose the right location.  Overseas, homeowners are growing their own herbs and vegetables year-round on balconies and indoors with the aid of specialised lighting.  Imagine, that unused wall could now become a healthy, living pantry.

Some of the best plants to grow for this purpose include strawberries, lettuces, mint, chives, parsley, nasturtiums, sweet potato, Goji berries, small peppers and chillies, cherry tomatoes and baby varieties of carrots, beets, turnips and radishes.

An Atlantis Vertical Garden solves many different problems on many different levels.  For more information visit our sister site