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The Evolution Of Composite Decking

The Evolution Of Composite Decking

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Today decks are a must-have for the modern home, but they have been around for more than five decades providing a space for families to enjoy the nature and space common to backyards.

The growth and diversification of the entire decking industry has been significant with changes in technology and availability due to globalisation. Here we will focus on the inception and evolution of composite decking.

Regarding composite decking, it’s important to differentiate between the first, second and third generations which have had marked changes in their structure and success.

At the beginning of the ‘90s, it became apparent that there was a scarcity of trees due to deforestation affecting the availability and price of timber for decking. The innovation in response to the necessity came in 1992 when Trex created the composite decking board which combined wood and plastic.

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These decking boards were produced using reclaimed plastics mixed with a ground or shredded wood filler. They were intended and sold as an exceedingly durable and low-maintenance alternative to the wood planks which required treatment during and after installation.

Composite decking enjoyed rapid growth early on thanks to these selling points, becoming very popular with homeowners. However, there were unexpected challenges in the application and long-term use for this brand-new product.

In the first generation composite;

  • The organic material that was exposed allowed the growth of mold and mildew leading to de-lamination.
  • The mixture of wood and plastic was not as stiff as timber planks which forced contractors to build a more comprehensive substructure to support the boards.
  • The traditional decking screws used on composite boards would cause a mushroom effect around the head of the screw which could be beaten down but added time and cost to the project.
  • Composites would sag, crumble and crack over time when exposed to direct sunlight.

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So alongside massive growth, there was a dissatisfaction that the product didn’t fulfil its initial promise to installers and homeowners. On top of all this, owners typically paid twice the price for composite materials as the expectation was that of a superior product with a longer lifespan.

At the turn of the century, after the explosion in popularity, the second generation of composite decking was introduced as the number of products grew substantially due to new technology.

Some companies decided to remove the organic wood component from the composite decking and use only the plastic component; these were called plastic or PVC decking materials. Coming up with solutions to the problems inherent in composite decking board caused a new set of challenges with the variety and inconsistency of the products being produced.

PVC deck boards had some shortcomings as they would become brittle or start sagging over time, split with temperature fluctuations and still suffered mould growth in environments where they were always wet. There advances however in making the deck mimic timber in better ways with printed or embossed wood grains and limited discoloration due to sunlight over time.

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In 2009 the third generation of composite decking was conceived that combined the durability and environmentally recycled plastic along with the organic wood. The new method of creating composite boards utilized what was called cap stock.

By wrapping the organic mix of material in the core with a weatherproof plastic barrier the third generation of composite decking allowed for the continued and sustained growth of the entire product category.

The capping made it possible to create stronger and more resilient decking containing UV inhibitors, anti-oxidants and colors added at just the right time. The composite board is either covered by plastic on three of six flat surfaces, or four of the six sides as it allows for easy moisture transfer between the deck board and the environment.

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Capped composite decking is more expensive than traditional composite and timber decking because of the more involved manufacturing process in adding the second, co-extruded layer to the board. As end-user expectations have evolved, manufacturers and materials suppliers have worked hard to keep pace.

In summary, the evolution of composite decking has been challenging and reflected the benefit of increasing and new technologies to benefit both manufacturers and homeowners to result in a quality product.

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Ask your manufacturer or supplier which generation of composite decking they carry and whether they have cap stock because an investment in your garden or outdoor space should last you and bring you as much enjoyment for as long as possible.

Author Bio:

After many years in the carpentry industry, Adrian founded Decking Perth to help Perth become smarter decking buyers.

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5 Green Rooftop Deck Design Ideas

5 Green Rooftop Deck Design Ideas

Green rooftops were first spotted in urban environments where they were used as a way to help add some green space to roof terraces. From there, the idea began to spread as it was discovered that green roofs also helped to filter water, insulate the building they’re grown on, and improve the air quality of the area around them. And of course they can create a garden-like area even where space is very limited.

Creating a green rooftop is fairly easy and can be done anywhere. The type of plants used will depend on the environment. For example, in drier climates succulents can be used along with a thinner deck, while in wetter climates plants with deeper roots and a more substantial roof deck can be used to help filter more of the water. These five, green rooftop deck design ideas will help inspire you to create a rooftop garden of your own.

Wooden Terrace Walkway

Having a green roof that filters water and a deck or terrace where you can relax don’t need to be mutually exclusive ideas. Consider filling your roof top with plants and a well laid drainage system, then install a wood terrace walkway and deck over the plants.

The wood deck can be raised up slightly so that water can flow beneath it, enabling you to walk across the roof without disturbing the plants. This method lets you to get all the benefits of a green roof including the insulating properties, water filtration, and maximum air cleansing, but still allows you an area to enjoy yourself as well.

 

Plants for Privacy

Any amount of plant life growing on your roof is going to help filter water and insulate the area below. This doesn’t mean that you need to necessarily cover your entire space with plants, particularly if you also use the roof deck as an extension of your living area.

Consider making only the edges or perimeter of your deck into a green roof, while you keep the interior open for other uses. Three to four feet in on all sides is enough to help filter the water running down from your roof, helping you to capture this benefit.

At the same time, by planting taller plants, bushes, or trees around the perimeter of your roof, you can create a private terrace, perfect for smaller buildings that don’t have as much a view, but that can be viewed easily from surrounding buildings.

 

Multi-Level Roof

If your building has several levels or many separate roof areas, consider turning each one into a separate green space. Keep the most accessible level of the rooftop as a deck or terrace where you can enjoy the view of the surrounding areas. Then plant each of the other, separate roof tops with different varieties of plants.

As long as the soil is deep enough and the drainage mats are adequate, you can plant nearly any variety of plant on your roof that you’d see in a garden on the ground. Flowering plants, shrubs, moss, succulents, and other plants can all be used to create a beautiful display that helps to insulate your building at the same time.

 

Center Rooftop Garden

While there are many ways to benefit from having a green roof, unless you also plan out some walkways, patios, or other surrounding areas, you won’t be able to truly enjoy it. For large, flat roofs, one method may include centering the plant life in the middle of the roof, to cover the majority of the area.

This will enable you to get the most out of the roof as far as insulation and water filtering. Then fill in the perimeter of the roof with crushed stone, wooden walkways, or even mulch. As long as you keep the drainage system adequate across the entire roof, you can easily accommodate patio or other areas at the same time.

 

Wild Garden

Those that like to garden or enjoy the outdoors usually will cultivate their roof, creating a well laid out grid of plants. This isn’t the only way to enjoy your space, however. Planting things like wild flowers, grasses, and flowering shrubs in a more organic way can be just as beautiful, and will require less overall care.

You can still include paths, patios, or incorporate a maintenance-free decking space, and other areas to relax and enjoy your roof. And their more natural or wild appearance can make a beautiful contrast to the urban areas they’re planted in.

There’s no one way you to create a green roof, but instead endless ways to enjoy the greenery and benefits it brings. By adding one to your home or building you will be able to reap these benefits for yourself.

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Selling a House? 5 Ways Your Garden Scares Away Buyers And What To Do About It!

Selling a House? 5 Ways Your Garden Scares Away Buyers And What To Do About It!

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When you’re selling your home, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the look of the interior. You brush on some neutral paint, declutter and make repairs. But your garden (or yard if you’re in the U.S.) can be equally as important when it comes to a house sale.

You need to think about all of the outside spaces around your house, especially whatever space you have out front. This is the first impression potential buyers are going to have of your property and you want to get them on board right there and then.

Here are five ways your garden could be scaring away buyers and what you can do about it:

Your Garden Looks Unkempt

A messy garden can give a terrible impression to a would-be buyer. Overgrown plants, an out of control lawn, old junk you never got round to throwing out – all of this can ring alarm bells.

What to Do: Make a big effort to sweep, tidy and mow your garden before viewings. Throw away any junk and find storage for any tools when they’re not in use. Cut back plants and trees that have become overgrown. And a lick of paint or wood preserver on garden fences, gates and furniture can massively reduce the appearance of weathering and wear.

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Your Garden Looks Too High Maintenance

Contrarily, having a perfectly preened garden can also put a buyer off. Manicured lawns, impressive topiary or sensitive plant species require a lot of work and not everyone will be as inclined to invest that time and energy in their outdoor space.

What to Do: If you have a garden where not even a blade of grass sits out of place, consider letting things go a little before your arrange home viewings. This way, you’ll show potential buyers that the garden doesn’t need constant attention to look good. And, if you can afford the cost, reducing the lawn space and installing a patio is another good way to decrease the level of maintenance required.

Your Garden Looks Unsafe

If your home is a family home, consider whether there are any features in your garden that make it unsafe for young children.

What to Do: Make your garden perimeter safe and secure by installing or repairing fencing and walls. Consider putting safety netting or fencing around your water features. You can do some research around dangerous plant species and consider pulling up the offending shrubs if you want to go the extra mile.

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Your Garden Looks Bare 

If your garden looks bare and barren, it may not have the aesthetic appeal it needs to attract a buyer. Buyers like to imagine how they are going to use rooms and outdoor spaces. This is made much easier when they are already being put to good use by the vendor.

What to Do: You can bring colour and interest to your garden by planting flowers and trees. You can always just add potted plants to your patio then you can take them with you when you move. Having some plants and flowers around the place will bring the added benefit of wildlife to your garden.

Your Garden Looks Small

If your garden is small over just overcrowded buyers might not think your home offers adequate outdoor space.

What to Do: Even if you have a small garden, there’s lots you can do to create the illusion of space. Painting fences or walls a light color can give things a much airier feel. And hanging mirrors bought from a thrift store is another way to add a feeling of space to your garden.

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Your garden should be a big consideration when preparing your home for sale. Think long and hard about your outdoor space and its potential flaws. With a little forethought and TLC your garden won’t be scaring away potential buyers. Instead it will be another appealing feature that drives them towards a sale!

Author Bio: Anne Grobler is a blogger, a content expert and a huge fan of home décor and design. Currently supporting OpenAgent, Anne is always ready to share her tips and ideas with the Internet audience.

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Walk Deck Solutions For Your Home And Property

Walk Deck Solutions For Your Home And Property

There is no better way to enjoy the outdoors and fresh air than with a walk deck. Made out of wood, plastic or even concrete these structures are not covered with a roof. They are a great solution when you have some extra space and don’t know how to use it, or you can even incorporate one into the style and design of your house!

Locations

Depending on how much space you have around your property, a deck can be added in several different locations. When built on the roof they can also serve as a cover roof themselves for a patio below if you have one.

If you have enough space on the ground level, a deck can be constructed as an extension of your house. They can also be completely detached from your house, and installed a little further away on their own in your front or backyard.

Design Options

When it comes to the design the options are practically limitless. You might want to go with something basic or you could go all out and build yourself a backyard retreat. But if you do go big don’t forget to add all the amenities and comfy furniture to go with it. A walk deck can fit any budget, and while many people choose to hire a pro you can always build one yourself.

 

The Top Benefits 

A new walk deck can add to the look and value of your property. Regardless of the size, it can also add a special touch to your house visually. With one, you can enjoy the outdoors without actually having to leave your house. If you have a nice garden close by or natural surroundings they can really add to the natural feel.

A deck can also be an ideal spot to do some outdoor exercise as well. With a roof walk deck you have the added advantage of an elevated view that you can look out at and enjoy whenever you feel like it. If you are a romantic soul, you can gaze at the stars at night in the quiet of your own house, whether on the roof or in the backyard.

 

Ideas And Solutions For Different Spaces

Some homeowners are looking for something that actually wraps around the sides of their home. Wrap-around decks, are typically built around at least two sides of your house and can add a lot of extra space.

These are usually big enough that you can relax or entertain guests. You can also use it for exercise or simply walk around it and enjoy the view. This variety will be normally be accessible from more than one room.

A backyard detached deck is a great idea if you want a little more privacy where you will be relaxing. Most people choose to add these near the house, but at the same time far enough way to feel like they are getting away.

With some furniture and a table you can have small dinner parties or gatherings there. And for even more privacy trees and shrubs can be planted around it.

When you have space that is limited by existing trees an interesting solution would be a deck raised above tree roots. You can even build a deck around the trunk of a tree if you need or want to. Not only would this be unique but a smart way to use your space and nature together. Just be sure to make the necessary adjustments as the tree grows.

If you have a pool in your backyard, you could always build a deck around it like a boardwalk. This will give you easy access to the water and can function as an area to lounge and sunbathe.

A walk deck can be an excellent addition to your property. Installing one will make your home more more appealing, functional, and a fabulous place to relax!

Author Bio: Chris is an editor for Arizona Roofing Systems, Mesa.

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Pest Control Planning-3 Methods That Are Safe For Your Home and Family

Pest Control Planning-3 Methods That Are Safe For Your Home and Family

Just the thought of dealing with an infestation of insects or rodents can be enough to send homeowners into a panic. Yet at the same time, the idea of spraying dangerous chemicals on your property can also be unsettling. Fortunately, you don’t have to compromise your family’s safety in order to have a pest-free home.

There are many natural pest control methods that are effective for handling unwanted insects and wildlife. Understanding these options will help you plan for seasonal pest control for your outdoor space.

Remove Food and Water Sources

Professional pest control technicians often preach the importance of prevention and for good reason. Leaving trash or other items that pests would consider to be food where they have easy access to them will encourage them to stay and breed. The same goes for allowing water to collect on the exterior of your home.

Water is actually where many insects lay their eggs. For this reason, one of the best ways to start with natural pest control planning is to identify possible food and water sources that attract pests and remove them immediately.

 

Block Entry 

In addition to making your home less attractive to pests, you will want to make sure that you block potential entry and exit points. For instance, even a small hole in your roof might be giving rodents access to your garage. And it takes only  small cracks to allow insects into all kinds of spaces on your property. Repairing and sealing off potential entry points can stop wildlife from getting in and building nests or causing damage.

Ask About Safe Elimination Methods

With insects once an infestation has taken hold, it may be necessary to spray your property. Many pest control sprays are tested to be safe for use in and around homes. However if you are unsure  it is always best to ask a pest control technician about the products that they choose to use.

This is especially important if you have young children. In some instances, natural repellents and alternatives such as heat can be used to control major insect infestations. And sometimes even other insects such as ladybugs are used.

 

Trap and Remove Wildlife Safely

Larger animals will often need to be trapped and removed. Prompt removal is critical for protecting your family’s safety since many animals carry dangerous diseases and parasites. Attempting to poison certain types of vermin such as rats often leads to bigger problems such as having to deal with potentially-disease carrying carcasses in your walls.

Trapping is a more humane method that can be used on rats, possums, skunks and even birds to safely keep your home pest-free. If you decide to hire a pro for this task, he will come and check the traps regularly. Once the pest has been caught, it will then be released following all of the proper practices along with any state laws that may apply for that specific animal.

 

Identify Early Pest Infestations With Regular Inspections

Proper pest control should also involve seasonal inspections of your home. This will help to identify infestations in their earliest stages when they are much easier to address. Or it can prevent them from happening in the first place.

Many types of pests rapidly multiply once they find a safe place to build their nests, for example a single rat or mouse can quickly become a major issue once they start reproducing. By inspecting regularly you can stop problems before they begin.

No one likes dealing with pests, and it is understandable to have concerns about using dangerous chemicals around your house and lawn. By staying aware and practicing preventative strategies, you can rest easy that your property will remain free from both of them. And be sure to ask a professional if you have any questions or need any specialized help.

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