What to Look for When Buying Composite Timber Decking

With an increasing number of composite timber brands coming onto the market, choosing the right decking board is no longer an easy decision.  While price often plays a major role in the purchase decision, it is important to know just what you are getting.  So, here are some tips to help you choose wisely and get value for money:

  1. Beware the Sales Pitch

On the internet, you will find some products touted as the best in the world, which is a bit of “poetic licence” for marketing purposes.  Clever marketing strategies also include using terminology like “less prone”, which is not the same as “resistant.”

Everyone is going to tell you their product is the best, but it pays to do your research and make some comparisons. Don’t take everything you read at face value.  If a website tells you one thing, then you read dozens of negative reviews stating the opposite, take heed.

Just 5-10 minutes of your time can save you a lot of wasted money and heartache down the track.

  1. How Long does their Warranty Last?

NewTechWood 25-Year WarrantyGo to the website of the board brands that have attracted your attention and read their warranty.

Some boards, while they may look great and may be more in line with your budget, may only give an 8, 10 or 15-year warranty.  Are you prepared to possibly replace those boards so soon?  Can you afford to do that?

Look for brands that offer a 25-year or more warranty.  You may pay a little extra up front, but in 10 years’ time, you will be glad you did.

  1. What Does the Warranty Cover?

The top-quality brands will cover more in their warranty than the cheaper brands.

For example, one “uncapped” (unprotected) brand’s warranty is explicit in what it will not cover and specifically mentions damage by high heeled shoes and pets in their fine print, but does not mention this in the marketing on their website.

Some boards are not covered for fading, or they consider a 10% fade acceptable.  The better-quality brands have committed to manufacturing boards that will not fade from UV and weather exposure, as measured by a colour change of more than 5 Delta E units (a scientific method of measuring fading, with the rating from 0 to 100 Delta E units.)

You do pay a little more for these higher-quality boards, but consider this: if you buy deep chocolate-coloured boards today and then in a few years they’ve faded to light beige, would you be disappointed?  There are other things to look out for in the warranty, too, such as whether labour is included in the warranty if the boards need to be replaced?

  1. Do the Composite Decks Need Sealing, Painting or Major Maintenance?

Let’s face it, you buy a composite deck not only because it is environmentally-friendly but because you don’t have to do the NewTechWood Composite Decking Protection Shieldregular time-consuming and money-hungry maintenance on them as you do with natural timber.

However, there are some cheaper composite brands that do not protect their boards with capping and you do have to seal or paint them.  These brands are obviously not low-maintenance and never will be, so they are cheaper for that reason.

Look for brands with “capping”.  Some brands only cap the top or the top and sides of their boards, leaving the bottom uncapped and unprotected. Some brands, like NewTechWood, completely cap all four sides of their boards with a special engineering grade polymer shield that is strong and durable. Using a co-extrusion process it is heat pressed onto the core, creating an impermeable protective barrier against moisture, UV, insects and bacteria.

  1. Do you Need a BAL (Bushfire rated) Board?

NewTechWood BAL29 Fire Rating Decking ProtectionMany composite brands do not have a BAL rating, particularly the cheaper brands.

The top-quality brands offer a BAL29 rating which is suitable for all bushfire zones up to BAL29, which is only one below the highest rating you can get of BAL40 (not including the Flame Zone itself!)

If you live in a bushfire zone, your local Council or builder will be able to tell you what zone rating is applicable and you will need to buy composite decking that has the appropriate rating.  Any board with a rating less than BAL29 will limit where you can use it in non-metro, rural areas.

  1. Check the Reviews

Google reviews or complaints on the brands you are considering (i.e. productreview.com.au and consumeraffairs.com).

If a brand only has one or two negative reviews, keep in mind that sometimes perceived “faults” are due to defective installation or owner mis-use, and may not have anything to do with the board itself.

On the other hand, if a brand has many complaints, there may be reason to proceed with caution.  Most common complaints appear to relate to water damage, flaking and fading which occurs on many uncapped boards.

Also check the response from the manufacturer or distributor to complaints.  This will tell you a lot about the reliability of the product and the people who stand behind it.  Some companies don’t want to know if something goes wrong with their product, while others will bend over backwards to put things right for you.

Common Sense Clause

Everything we use in life will mark, scratch, fade, or show signs of general wear and tear over the years… except for diamonds… NewTechWood Pet-Safe Composite DeckingBut unless you are going to cover your deck in diamonds, whether you use timber or composite decking, at some stage, it is going to lose its brand-new lustre, depending on how much use and abuse it receives, weather conditions, etc.

People often ask, but what about dogs?  Well, is your dog a Great Dane or a Chihuahua?  Will it be romping on the deck on a daily basis, or just passing over it once a day on its daily walk?  Will the board scratch?  Well, is the board capped, for starters?  Everything you own is scratchable – but capping gives you extra insurance.

And on that note, why not check out why NewTechWood is one of the most popular brands in the market today.  It’s fully capped, looks like natural timber, has a BAL29 bushfire rating, and among a long list of plusses, it offers a 25-year warranty.  But don’t take our word for it – check it out yourself here!

For more information on NewTechWood’s top-quality decking, contact our friendly team today.

 

Can you work with composites the same way you work with timber?

NewTechWood Composite DeckingIn short, yes. You will be able to work with WPC (Wood Plastic Composite) decking in much the same way you work with timber: cutting, drilling, screwing and even bending boards. The one thing you won’t be doing is using your nail gun.

Many composites, like NewTechWood for example, are manufactured from a percentage of recycled timber, as well as plastic. With NewTechWood, the ratio is 60% recycled timber and 40% recycled plastic, which means the product essentially is half timber and amenable to being worked on with traditional carpentry tools.

Obvious Differences

The plastic used in many composites is Polyethylene, which has a density of 930 kg/m^3. Timber, on the other hand, has a wide variety of densities ranging from 400 to 1200 kg/m^3, so as far as cutting goes, sawing composite would be like sawing a harder- than- average piece of timber. Because of this we recommend using saw blades with 60-62 teeth.

If you are installing the boards in areas exposed to a lot of water, i.e. around a pool or jetty, we recommend sealing any exposed or cut ends with a sealant. If using NewTechWood, the sealant we recommend in Australia is Crommelin’s Wetlook Paving Sealer.

Contraction / Expansion

The boards will contract lengthways about 1mm per lineal metre depending on temperature. For NewTechWood, the full contraction and expansion table is presented in the installation guidelines. Attention must be paid to these values when installing the decking, which is why the hidden fastener system is so important, because these hidden clips are designed to allow for the expansion and contraction of the boards.

Fixing – Secret Clip System

Composite Decking Secret Clip SystemFor a modern, clean look NewTechWood provide a secret fix system where the clips are hidden in the gaps between the boards. The clip slides into the grooved edge of the board and is screwed into the joist.

NewTechWood Australia provides the choice of two (2) different gap spacings between the boards – 5.5mm or the Mini-Gap 1mm spacing.

A 5.5mm gap is the standard for most decks in Australia.
The Mini-Gap Clip system is perfect for commercial installations where public safety may be an issue. The smaller gap protects against high heels becoming lodged in the gap, and also prevents leaves or tree nuts from getting stuck between the boards.

Sub-Frame

The maximum joist spans may change between brands of composite decking. Always check the installation guides before installing the sub-frame to ensure there are enough joists for the decking chosen.

You can fix composites to a timber or metal frame and this requires particular screws for both applications – timber fix for timber joists, and metal fix for metal joists. Also, you must use screws that are specially designed for composite material.

You can install the decking on traditional timber or metal joists, or you can use a system like Nivo Pedestals. NIVO Adjustable Pedestals provide a clever solution for architects and builders when designing and constructing raised flooring.

Top-Fixing

Composite Decking Top FixingFinishing boards are used to “picture frame” a deck, or to provide a fascia. These boards are usually top-fixed, as they do not accommodate a clip system. In those cases, coloured
head composite screws should be used, for either timber or metal fix, to match the colours of the boards.

Top fixing, or face fixing, is recommended only for fixing breaker boards, picture framing and fascias, and then you must pre-drill and counter-sink every hole slightly larger than the screw (approximately half a millimetre) to allow the boards room for expansion and contraction.

Also, when screwing boards, don’t screw any closer than 20mm or less from the edge of the board.

 

Can you glue composite boards in place?

No. EXCEPTION: To adhere small bits of decking, for example around posts, where it is not practical to top fix or use clips, we recommend using an adhesive that will ‘move’ when the boards contract/expand. In Australia, we recommend Sikaflex.

Can you lay the boards directly onto the ground or over existing paving?

No, you need to leave room for air movement. If using NewTechWood the recommended decking clearances are:

• Over grass or dirt, leave 250-300mm clearance
• Over concrete or paving, leave 40-50mm clearance

No matter which Composite decking brand you choose, it is imperative that you check the Installation Guidelines for the product before you start.

For NewTechWood, installers and Do-It-Yourselfers can download a free copy of the Installation Guidelines from our website.

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 www.urbandirectwholesale.com.au.

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.

Landscape Drainage Cells and Water Management Solutions

Thinking of adding a rooftop or vertical garden to complement your New Tech Wood deck or screens and need drainage cells or other landscape water management products?

AtlantisOur parent company Urban Direct Wholesale supplies the Atlantis brand of water management products. Atlantis is the leading international provider of water management and greening city solutions.  Their mission is to create sustainable urban designs turning major environmental problems into assets.

Many architects and engineers specify Atlantis drainage products for a variety of uses, such as road and sports field drainage, leachate collection and flood mitigation, car parks, subdivision development, stormwater harvesting, onsite detention tanks and infiltration tanks, to name some.  Many landscape architects also specify Atlantis vertical garden products and drainage systems for roof gardens and vertical garden applications for commercial and residential projects.

Atlantis flo-cell

Take the Atlantis Flo-Cell, for example, a permeable drainage product suited to any subsurface filtration application, ranging from planter boxes and roof gardens through to roads and railways.

It comes in three sizes: 20mm, 30mm and 52mm. With an efficient modular design, they can be joined together to form scalable areas from small backyards to large civil projects.

This product was initially developed to facilitate adding rooftop gardens and planter boxes to building construction without adding heavy aggregate as drainage, which placed severe limitations on the structural design of the building.  It was so successful that the drainage cell became a landscaping industry standard that is now used in a variety of applications, including:

  • Planter box filtration
  • Void fill
  • Roof garden filtration and water management
  • Retaining wall filtration
  • Porous pavement filtration – pedestrian and vehicular
  • General landscape filtration and water management
  • Groundwater problem management
  • Sports field filtration and water management
  • Railway filtration
  • Road filtration, seepage protection and water management
  • Civil works projects filtration and water management
  • Bio-filtration systems for pollution remediation

Are Flo-Cells Necessary?

Many professionals believe so.  Here are some of the benefits:

  • Rapid Drainage – it efficiently drains excess water while retaining optimum moisture levels, which is the perfect solution for planter boxes and roof garden applications.
  • Lightweight – Definitely don’t need cranes or specialised lifting equipment.
  • Strong Structural Design, engineered for use in drainage-critical applications.
  • Versatile – The Flo-Cells can be installed horizontally or vertically and are easily configured to meet project specifications.
  • Quick and easy Installation – much faster than traditional aggregate drainage systems
  • High Infiltration – 90% void ratio.
  • Biological and chemical resistance to contaminants.

Why Choose Atlantis?

It can get confusing when so many brands on the market make the same promises. Here are some reasons to choose Atlantis:

  • As the original inventors, Atlantis have been around the longest and have accumulated more knowledge, experience and expertise, as shown in the quality and versatility of their products.
  • Quality Control – Atlantis pre-test ALL batches – they don’t just do random testing – and tests are done according to ASTM D1621 Standard test method for compression properties of rigid cellular plastics. This guarantees their quality is both assured and predictable.
  • They can meet demands with dozens of stockists and offices worldwide and Australia wide.
  • They offer engineering support (before, during and after) – design life calculations, design support and installation support – all just a phone call away. This provides you with streamlined project flow from consultancy through to design and installation.

 

drainage cellsdrainage cells 2

 

How Can You Tell the Real Atlantis Product from an Imitation?

You can tell authentic Atlantis Flo-Cells by the patented diamond pattern – the only flo-cell that has it and which provides the extra strength.  You can also tell you have authentic Atlantis products by looking for the Atlantis trademark which is imprinted on every piece.

Atlantis brand drainage cell

To find out more about solutions for rooftop gardening challenges or incorporating New Tech Wood decking and screening into your urban oasis, contact the team at New Tech Wood today.

Hottest Outdoor Living Design Trends for 2018

Looking for the hottest outdoor living design trends this year?

In 2018, we are trending towards a natural, yet colourful look with earthy and neutral colour schemes and materials.  Truly liveable outdoor spaces will become ‘the norm’ in new homes. We will rejoice in contrasts and natural finishes and herald in the next ‘look’ which some are calling the ‘tribal trend’ and some are calling the ‘Australiana trend’.

Whatever you want to call it, if you are renovating your outdoor living space this year and trends matter to you, these ten tips will keep you up to date.

Top Outdoor Living Design Trends

Au Naturel outdoor living design trends, natural materials and textures with unpainted wood.

Think unpainted timber and stone.  Think brown and beige shades, terracotta, burned orange, russets and sienna, muddy blues and greens. We will see a move away from pastels and a return to bright bold colours. For those who really like the calming neutral effects of 2017’s colour trend, you can keep it, but modernise it with deep blues and greens mixed with your white, grey and beige tones.  Another popular trend is the use of different materials and textures but within the same colour family.  Decor-wise, 2018 is going tribal, so get out your Moroccan bowls and terracotta planters. Look for tribal décor, patterns and accessories.

Integrate and Blend

The addition of new external structures around the home will be applied more thoughtfully, designed to blend with the house, and not just added as afterthoughts or obvious add-ons to the property.  Homeowners will want their garages, carports, patios, fences, sheds, etc. to blend naturally as well as fashionably with their existing house and garden landscape, and also the streetscape, creating a more integrated look.

Outdoor Living Design Features

In 2018, outdoor kitchens with cooking facilities, sinks and fridges will continue to be popular, as well as outdoor showers and lounge areas complete with daybeds and TVs on the wall.  This is actually a smart way to extend the living area of a small home and will add value as well as space for growing families.

Maintenance-Free Timber Flooring

bare feet on timber decking, new tech wood

The trend towards using composite timber decking, like NewTechWood, will continue to grow in popularity.  Not only is it eco-friendly, NewTechWood has none of the issues associated with pure timber – no splinters, no nails, and totally maintenance free – you never have to sand or re-seal it.  Termites hate it and it’s resistant to mould, UV, fading, warping, and splitting, and it comes with a 25-year warranty. Best of all, NewTechWood looks natural, like real timber, right down to the tiny little timber-like ‘fibres’ that are a patented part of the design.  Dark timbers are in for 2018, so check out the Walnut range.

Other Natural Outdoor Flooring

Cobblestone pavers will lend that ‘natural’ look to your outdoor area with many new options now available in terms of colour, texture and shape.  Even plain concrete, natural or polished, will become more popular and used for flooring and even for outdoor poolside benches or tables.  (Note:  With concrete, you might want to keep this area well-shaded or you won’t be able to use it on hot days.)

Temperature Control

Not a new idea but a continuing trend is installing ceiling fans in your outdoor living areas.  Not all houses enjoy afternoon sea breezes due to their location, but a ceiling fan under the pergola or patio solves that problem.  In winter, for warmth, you will be using fire pits, or go one step further and install a proper fireplace – all trends we will see on the increase in 2018, enabling us to truly live outdoors and make full use of our amazing climate.

Light it Up

‘Strip lighting’ or ‘deck lights’ as you see beneath steps, will become more popular and used in more creative ways, such as on bench tops and to lighten built-in seating areas in dark corners of patios or any area you want to showcase or create mood lighting.

Water Wise Plants and Vertical Gardens

outdoor living design trends, vertical gardenIn Australia, with our hot climate and water conservation, the continuing trend towards succulents makes good sense.

You can still enjoy diversity and colour in your garden, as many succulent varieties flower at different times of the year and need very little water or maintenance.  With building blocks becoming smaller and many older blocks being subdivided, land space is minimal, and those who live in apartments or homes with small yards will continue to enjoy their gardens ‘vertically’ rather than horizontally.

Vertical gardens, like the Atlantis Vertical Garden kits, with or without built-in irrigation, are the perfect solution to hide ugly walls or to grow flowers or herbs in tiny spaces where a traditional garden is not possible.

 

Show Off Your Timber

Unless you have a very good reason for camouflaging your timber with thick coats of paint, either a clear varnish or a light stain will be favoured to let the natural beauty shine through.  While internally, wallpaper is making a comeback in 2018, externally, with tribal themes fashionable, consider bamboo, reed or brushwood screening and leafy plants for privacy screens or to hide ugly fencing or walls.

Wabi Sabi – Embracing Imperfection

If you haven’t heard of Wabi Sabi before, you may well do in 2018.  It is the Japanese Zen philosophy of accepting the transient nature of things and their imperfections or finding the beauty within the imperfect.  Think of handmade bowls with cracks, chips or glazing errors, irregular shaped items and pieces that are pre-loved and showing their age.  If it’s old, cracked, weathered, wrinkled or oxidized, so much the better.  Forget the large department stores for this one and start visiting your local flea markets.

On the other hand, trends come and go, and keeping up can be hard on the wallet.  Maybe the best trend is the one that expresses your individuality and suits your lifestyle and taste.  After all, you have to live with it!

Want to learn more about the hottest outdoor living design trends in 2018 or maintenance-free, eco-friendly timber products? Talk to the team at NewTechWood today.

Go Green, Stay Green – Eco-Friendly Renovation Tips

go green, eco friendly renovation tips. Child hugging a treeOnce the catchcry of nature loving ‘hippies’, GO GREEN has become a global movement and going green has become serious business.  In the building industry, regardless of whether it’s a brand new home or renovating an old weatherboard, today’s environmentally aware home-owner wants eco-friendly and value for money.

It’s all very well for building material suppliers to say, “Ah, but we source timber from dedicated timber plantations.”  Unfortunately, not every country does that, and some 46-58 thousand square miles of natural forest are lost each year – equivalent to 48 football fields every minute – according to worldwildlife.org.

The problem with trying to do the right thing is not everyone can afford it upfront and they don’t understand the false economy behind choosing the cheapest option first.  Items that are marked biodegradable or energy efficient, for example, are much more expensive than their less environmentally aware counterparts.  The same applies to the majority of ‘green’ products.  So how do you renovate ‘green’ while on a budget, and is the added upfront expense justifiable?

Green Renovation Tips

  1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sometimes, you have to compare the end result and environmental impact of throwing out and replacing a perfectly good appliance, or furniture, with something new and shiny.  This applies to everything, including floor and window coverings.  Save your money and the environment and only replace as needed.
  2. Need vs want. Don’t waste spare cash on trendy wants.  Keep to the needs on your list – plenty of time for luxury spending later when you can afford it. Investment in something that will save you money over the lifetime of the product makes better sense than buying something now because it’s in fashion for a season.
  3. Recycle.Reclaimed pavers, timbers, window and door frames are not just for the budget conscious.  It is good sense environmentally to use recycled materials from demolition companies, and likewise, you may be able to sell (or donate) your own unwanted materials.
  4. Need to buy new materials? Sometimes it is unavoidable, in which case insist your builder uses materials with low environmental impact – that is, it does not have a negative impact on resources that are not renewable or not easily renewable and does not negatively impact on the environment, wildlife or human health and wellbeing.
  5. Be superficial – facelift! Some items don’t need to be replaced and can be given a new lease of life with a simple coat of paint. Remodelling your kitchen?  You don’t HAVE to throw the entire thing out and start from scratch.  Consider just replacing cabinet doors and bench tops.  Ditto old houses – why destroy what can be given a new lease of life with more cost and environmentally effective means?
  6. Are there financial incentives? Depending on the State you live in, your State Government may offer financial incentives and rebates for switching to energy saving systems and appliances. Find out more about incentives for saving energy.
  7. Insulate. There is little sense in investing thousands in a ducted air conditioning system if your house leaks at window and door openings and your ceiling is not insulated.  A well-insulated home will retain warmth or coolness much more efficiently and cost-effectively than a non-insulated home – good for the planet AND for your wallet.
  8. Go Solar. Solar panels need little introduction.  If you can afford it, include solar panelling in your budget – you will get your money back and then some, especially if you are power-savvy and continue to pay attention to power saving rules.
  9. Let there be light! Before installing even more light fixtures and fittings, consider extra, well-placed window placements and skylights.  Compare flicking on a light switch versus opening a curtain.  Need we say more?
  10. Be Water Wise. In addition to buying white goods that are water efficient and energy efficient, consider rainwater tanks and a system for more efficient use of runoff from rain in winter, plus water efficient tapware.  Also, check your government water authority for your state’s rules on the use of ‘grey water’.

Recycled Composite Decking

At this time of year, a popular renovation is decking, and an excellent example of how spending extra now can save you later.  More environmentally-aware consumers combined with advances in technology have seen a rise in the introduction of recycled timber composite products.

Eco friendly decking from New Tech WoodCompanies like NewTechWood use recycling technology in the manufacture of their composite decking, cladding and screening products and every month their efforts alone are saving over five million kilos of plastic from being buried in landfills and saving forests into the bargain.

NewTechWood composite timber is manufactured with 60% carefully selected recycled timber and dense wood fibre, and 40% high-grade recycled plastics (HDPE) that allows for greater strength and durability.

And the ‘greening’ doesn’t stop there…NewTechWood composite has an advanced premium shield encasing ALL four sides around its inner core. The shield and core are extruded together under a very high-temperature mould simultaneously, so there are no adhesives or chemicals used that are harmful to the environment. This protective shield means there is no need for oil, paint or seal your NewTechWood deck – ever… thus still no need for hazardous chemicals – ever.  As the years go by, this is great news not only for the environment but also for your wallet.

NewTechWood composite does not release any harsh or toxic chemicals into the air and because it is termite resistant you never need to worry about expensive and toxic termite treatments either.

Yes, it costs more upfront than real timber from real forests – but the environment will thank you and you’ll definitely save over the lifetime of your deck! For more information browse the website or contact us.

Top Tips to Stay Safe This DIY Season

The footy season is over and there are no more excuses for delaying the completion of home maintenance and renovation projects.  Those who can’t do it themselves will hire a professional, and you can’t get much safer than that, but to the delight of many a local hardware store, this is the time of year when hordes of avid DIY fans also go shopping.

DIY home maintenanceAccording to Australian health and safety statistics, this is the time of year when the number of accidents around the home also increases – attributed to Do-it-Yourself enthusiasts.

Falling from ladders tops the list, followed closely by injuries from power tools and machinery, with a majority of accidents being attributed to men, particularly over 55 years of age.

Authorities warn that the more accident prone among us need to realise our limitations. If a task is not within our skill level or we don’t have the proper equipment or experience for the job, then leave it to the experts.

Top DIY Tips

For the keener (stubborn?) DIY-er who refuses to heed this advice, the following tips are for you:

  1. Ladder Do’s and Don’ts. ALWAYS place on a level and stable surface.  If you need to level one of the legs, don’t use a brick. Position timber blocks, recommended dimensions 400 x 200 x 50mm, beneath the leg.  Don’t try to extend your ladder by placing it on a higher surface, like beams balanced on sawhorses, or milk crates, for example. If you need to reach a higher place than your ladder can reach, hire an extension ladder.  Ensure you place the ladder against a secure surface and not somewhere it can slide or be knocked away.  You can also tie the ladder in place to prevent slipping or tipping. Never stand higher than the third rung from the top, and keep your centre of gravity between the side rails. Don’t over-reach or do exertive pulling or pushing that can throw you off balance. Likewise, don’t leave heavy tools perched precariously atop of ladders, waiting to fall on the head of unsuspecting passers-by below.
  1. Power Tools. Safety guards, clamps and locking clips are invented for a reason.  Use them.  There are horrendous stories of sheet metal and timber pieces becoming flying weapons, and people losing thumbs and fingers with electric saws because they tried to rush and thought they’d save seconds by ignoring the safety requirements.  Nail guns are probably best left to the professionals, but if you must use one, don’t rush.  Set the gun to the safe sequential-fire setting to avoid misfiring and shooting yourself or someone else by accident if you stumble.

Hammering, DIY home maintenance3. Hammering. Speaking of nails, you can avoid the risk of hammering your fingers by using a small blob of BluTack to hold small nails in place while you hammer them in. You can recycle the Blu-Tack, but not your fingers!

 

  1. Clothing. Don’t wear loose or floppy garments that can get caught in machinery. Footwear – if you value your toes, wear protective shoes – thongs don’t count. Tie your hair back if it is long and avoid wearing loose jewellery that can be caught in machinery or saws.
  1. Protective Gear – Do use earmuffs to protect your hearing when using noisy equipment.safety sign wear goggles Use eye goggles to protect your eyes from metal and sawdust when sawing and grinding. Use a face mask to avoid inhaling dangerous substances and dust particles, especially if you’re under your house or in the roof space where you can encounter toxic chemicals from pesticide use, asbestos, mould spores, rat droppings, etc.
  1. Essential Services. Don’t mess with electricity or plumbing – there is a reason why it is illegal to do your own and you must hire a licenced tradesman. Non-contact voltage testers are a must for checking if wires are live or not.
  1. Don’t play with Pressure Washers. These are not toys and can be very dangerous.  Many people with deep flesh wounds and scars where the water burst has literally painfully peeled back their flesh can attest to this!
  1. Know How to Lift Safely. Get help with heavy items.  And remember, lift with your knees, not your back.
  1. Beware the Critters! We’re talking wasps, spiders and snakes that can lurk in unexpected and rarely used spaces around your home, not to mention hazards such as chewed electrical cables exposing live wires, or termite damage that weakens structures – maybe the one you’re standing on!
  1. No Brainer. Keep all tools and equipment away from pets and children. This should be a no-brainer.

Popular DIY Task – Deck Maintenance

A popular DIY spring job is the annual deck maintenance.  If that is on your list of To-Do’s this spring, and if you have a timber deck already, chances are it is on your list and will be for the rest of your life.  If you’d rather it wasn’t, then check out a composite product like NewTechWood decking.  It is low maintenance – you never have to sand, seal, paint or varnish it – ever – unlike real timber which must be maintained regularly for its lifetime.

kids playing on composite deckAnd speaking of safety, NewTechWood composite decking comes with a valuable BAL29 Fire Rating and a Rll slip rating; AND you’ll never have to worry about splinters.  Also with its hidden fastener system, you will never have to worry about rusty or protruding nails, and with the option of the mini clip system, catching a stiletto heel in the decking gap is also a thing of the past.

Top this with a 25-year warranty and you can see why many DIY enthusiasts love NewTechWood, which is also fully capped providing full protection against UV damage, fading, water, staining, mould and termites.  You know what this means?  No more dangerous chemicals needed to treat your deck.  However, while NewTechWood offers the above tips on protecting your safety… the rest is up to you!