Felicity Hodgkinson of Ecodek explores the benefits Wood polymer composite decking can offer to developers and home buyers alike
‘Kerb appeal’ is a well-used phrase in this industry, and creating an aesthetically attractive facade with an eye-catching front garden and driveway is key to enticing home buyers through the front door.
However, potential purchasers now also expect to see the same level of quality and attention to detail paid to the rear of the property. This is prompting developers to put as much effort into creating an appealing and impactful space behind a building as they do to the front.
The pandemic has shone a light on the importance of access to outside space and the impact it has on our mental and physical wellbeing, and with more of us than ever spending time at home, the back garden – whether that is an acre field, a small but perfectly formed patch of grass, or a courtyard – has become a focal point.
As well as providing a place for escapism, the back garden is fast becoming viewed as an extension to the home, bringing the inside out and creating additional living space. As a result, developers need to be aware of the increased importance house buyers are placing on gardens when choosing their future home.
An effective and effortless way of creating an attractive outside space is through the installation of decking. There are two main types of decking available on the market – timber and wood polymer composite (WPC). While both materials have benefits, many homeowners are leaning towards the WPC option, as it not only provides a pleasing aesthetic, but is safer, longer lasting, and easier to maintain than its timber counterpart.
Compromise Free Composite
WPC deck boards present an attractive alternative to solid timber. Firstly, if you choose a quality product, it will usually be supported by a verified warranty – but make sure you do your research to ensure the warranty is genuine. Secondly, they are designed to be slip-resistant and will not splinter, rot or split, making them hard wearing, long-lasting and ideal for the unpredictable British climate.
Choosing a solidly constructed WPC board, as opposed to a hollow one, helps to prevent water ingress (which can increase the likelihood of a board being compromised and eventually failing). A solid structure also provides greater noise absorption, so it’s quieter underfoot, helping to reduce noise from neighbours.
Unlike its timber equivalent, a WPC deck does not need to be stained, painted or treated to prevent warping, swelling or distortion.
Not only does this save both time and money when developing a home, it also presents a key USP to any future home buyer. There are many people who have neither the time nor the inclination to spend hours maintaining their garden, and this extends to the conservation of any hard landscaping features.
By presenting an appealing timber alternative which requires only an occasional simple clean, you are offering potential buyers an easy, low maintenance and more importantly, stress-free, outdoor living option.
The flexibility of WPC decking also makes it the ideal choice for any style of housing development, from modern estates to countryside dwellings.
The majority of manufacturers will offer a wide range of colourways and textures, enabling a developer to choose a design that blends beautifully into any environment. A sleek, grey board would complement any contemporary residence, while a more rustic, wood-like design in a natural tone may better suit a stone-built cottage.
Having the ability to create an outside space that merges seamlessly into the existing environment and is specifically designed to appeal to your target audience, is invaluable – and this is what wood polymer composite enables.
Considering The Envioment
It may surprise some to hear that WPC can be the most environmentally sound option when choosing a decking solution.
Not only can it be recycled repeatedly, but there are also companies out there that are using up to 95 percent recycled and sustainably sourced materials in the manufacture of their decking boards. A handful of UK-based manufacturers will also offer a variety of board widths and lengths, as well as a ‘cut to order’ service, which helps to eliminate waste and any further environmental impact.
In addition, WPC does not need any protective chemicals adding to its surface, unlike timber boards, helping to reduce the amount of toxic substances being released into the atmosphere or leached into the ground.
The Perfect Partner
It is clear that outside space is becoming more and more important to home buyers and creating an attractive area to capture their imaginations is fast becoming a priority for developers.
Regardless of size or style of development, composite decking offers developers a cost-effective and easy to install, yet stylish, solution, while providing potential buyers with an attractive, long-lasting and low maintenance outdoor living space – the perfect partnership.
Felicity Hodgkinson is marketing manager at Ecodek