Natalee Bowen, Indah Island Design
293sqm NewTechWood Coastal Composite Deck
Toodyay, Western Australia
When Indah Island interior designer Natalee Bowen approached NewTechWood to provide decking for a maintenance-free outdoor living area larger than the average Australian house, the composite wood supplier took on the challenge.
Renowned for her bespoke Hamptons style Natalee was looking for solutions to harmonise the outdoor space of her newly renovated farmhouse with her interior while not compromising on quality or her design aesthetic.
Her Toodyay home is located 85km north-east of Perth on a 78-acre property. The fifth generation 1800’s family cottage was to be creatively reimagined as a large inviting Hamptons farmhouse.
While bringing the outside in is in keeping with her Hamptons design style, Natalee also wanted to bring the inside out and create expansive outdoor ‘rooms’ with an abundance of furniture to accommodate visiting family and friends.
With the deck planned to be an impressive 293 square metres, Natalee wanted low-maintenance composite decking that would retain its designer look over a lifetime. NewTechWood representatives liaised consistently with Natalee on the design and durability features and were on site to consult with the building supervisor & carpentry team, as required.
Meeting the Brief
- Replicate natural timber for a high-end designer deck
- Deck to be durable and easy to clean
- No ongoing maintenance
- Composite deck cost comparison to timber deck
- Meet safety concerns
- Fast turnaround and coordinated install
Replicate natural timber for a high-end designer deck
The house is a bespoke build so the composite decking installed needed to have the look and feel of a real natural timber, rather than present like ‘fake wood’, as the finish had to meet Natalee’s discerning eye and blend flawlessly with the Hamptons feel of the farmhouse.
Having worked with NewTechWood on previous projects Natalee knew that the grey vintage Antique colour would suit her palette and was considering the Terrace decking range for the farmhouse. What NewTechWood Australia proposed instead was the new premium Coastal decking range with its HV9 weathered textured finish.
NewTechWood advised Natalee the 23mm thick solid boards with a width of 210mm would also be more consistent with her design aesthetic. Natalee viewed the samples and immediately agreed it was the perfect fit for her new Hamptons deck.
It was important to Natalee that over time there was to be no colour fade. Due to its UV inhibitors, the colour will remain steadfast. Unlike timber, it will only have negligible, if any changes after many years of exposure to the elements.
NewTechWood uses their patented Ultrashield technology which ensures the shield and core are extruded together which not only protects the decking board on all sides but gives a realistic matte wood grained finish, resulting in the natural-looking composite timber deck Natalee desired.
With around 4300 cobra clips, 935 MG3 starter clips and 352 CDS Deckhedz screws used for the build, the hidden fix system would help accomplish the premium seamless finish Natalee had visualised. This was also aided by the US33 finishing board which has a unique groove on the under side to assist with concealed fixing.
After viewing the house plans and intended deck lay-out, NewTechWood proposed a picture framed & breaker board layout for the deck which not only accented the home’s angles, which pleased Natalee, but also optimised material utilisation resulting in minimal wastage to keep project costs down.
NewTechWood provided detailed dimensioned drawings of the composite deck for Natalee and her installers.
Deck to be durable and easy to clean
Natalee entertains dozens of people at a time and required the decking surface to be hardwearing. It needed to withstand wet foot traffic from the pool and endure accidentally spilled drinks.
With such a large deck she did not want the time-consuming, inconvenient and expensive task of regular re-staining to keep a high-quality finish.
The decking material required to complete this striking rural home would also need to be resistant to the heat, dirt and dust of the harsh surrounds of Western Australia’s Wheatbelt.
Unlike wood decking, spills such as coffee and wine do not penetrate or stain NewTechWood composite, making it easy to wipe clean. Natalee entertained 25 family and friends at her property over Christmas and the deck remains immaculate.
The composite wood decking’s fully capped Ultrashield provides an impermeable layer ensuring the decking will not rot, split, or crack Nor would it suffer structural damage from termites.
No ongoing maintenance
For this expansive, fully furnished deck, the inconvenience of ongoing maintenance was not an option, given Natalee’s busy schedule. A timber deck would require Natalee to remove the large amount of furniture and cumbersome pot plants from her deck annually to oil timber decking.
Unlike other composite products on the market, NewTechWood is completely protected on all four sides with Ultrashield capping making it very hard-wearing. There is no sanding, painting, staining or oiling required ever.
Natalee can enjoy her deck rather than go through the pain-staking process of removing all her furniture, apply a coat of oil, leave it to dry, applying a second coat of oil, plus drying time, then having to reposition all the furniture.
Composite deck cost comparison to a timber deck
While Natalee knew the NewTechWood Coastal range was a high-end composite product, she wanted to be reassured that the return on investment could be justified over a wooden deck.
The cost of the NewTechWood Coastal Composite for the 293 square metres including sub frame and installation came to $97,174. Comparatively installing a Blackbutt Smooth deck including subframe and installation would cost $89,228.
Unlike Smooth Blackbutt decking, NewTechWood Coastal Composite does not require initial staining, a treatment six months after install or annual treatment.
At market rates and labour cost, this would equate to an additional $5481 per year to retain the Blackbutt in as pristine condition as Coastal Composite which doesn’t require any treatments or staining.
Natalee’s return on investment with NewTechWood is equalled to the Blackbutt deck within two years. A decade in and she will have saved 48%.
This comparison does not factor in the sanding of Blackbutt required to keep it looking in its original condition. This would incur additional costs of around $5,000-$7000 every 8-10 years.
Even with regular maintenance, there would be no guarantee Natalee would get a 20-25-year life-span from a natural timber deck. Natalee’s deck is backed by NewTechWood’s two-year labour cover and a 25 Year Limited Warranty.
Meet safety concerns
With a swimming pool nearby and her property located in rural Western Australia it was important to Natalee to consider slip resistance and how composite decking would meet local shire bushfire regulations.
The Coastal decking range has the highest slip rating of all the NewTechWood products at P5 which vastly exceeds a timber deck rating of P2.
Also, given that Toodyay is in a bushfire rated area, Natalee needed to find a product that met the BAL29 requirement.
Fast turnaround and coordinated install
The decking install had to be coordinated with other trades to keep to Natalee’s detailed schedule and scope of works.
Natalee also had the added time pressure of featuring on the television show Ready Set Reno, which was filming her renovation journey and reveal.
NewTechWood’s numerous site meetings with Natalee, the installer and building supervisor ensured a smooth transition between trades. The installer was also provided with detailed information through the NewTechWood Decking Install Guide and a video tutorial.
The 293 square metre composite wood deck was completed by the installer and his team of three carpenters, on schedule and within three weeks. A timber deck this size would likely have taken 30% longer to install.
Additional time would have also been required for a timber deck stain to be applied, allowed to dry and repeated before other trades could move in.
The ease of the hidden clip system where the clip slides into the grooved edge and is screwed into the joist is also less labour intensive.
The clip system of NewTechWood also significantly reduced installation time as it automatically governed the gaps between the boards, whereas a timber deck requires spacers between each product to ensure consistent gaps and lines.
Additional Benefit – Sustainability
Architects and designers continue to seek out sustainable solutions in building materials without wanting to compromise on aesthetics.
Natalee was advised that NewTechWood composite products are made from 95% recycled materials including high grade recycled plastic and reclaimed wood fibres.
Every month NewTechWood saves over 5.5 million kilograms of plastic from being buried in a landfill and is an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified Manufacturer.
Natalee’s Hamptons Farmhouse is one of the largest residential project that NewTechWood has managed in Australia to date and showcases how composite decking can enhance a design theme while providing a practical and durable product.