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!

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.

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!