UltraShield Composite Decking.

Timber and Water – Fencing & Decking for Your Seaside Location

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

The Problem with Timber 

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

Similar Issues with Metal 

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

Composite Materials

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

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

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

Composite Cladding

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

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

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

Hottest Outdoor Living Designs for 2017

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

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

Deck it out, but keep it low-maintenance

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

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

Vertical Gardens: Enjoy the greenery but save on space

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

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

Practical and Versatile LED Lighting

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

Inviting Fire Pit Tables

Fire pit table(Image source)

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

Statement Wall Cladding

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

Refurbished and Recycled Furniture

Recycled pallett furniture(Image source)

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

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

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

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.