For centuries, timber was the default construction material of choice – and even today, it’s still a hugely popular option for decking, fencing, and other home and garden products but is that beginning to change?

There’s a reason we’ve been making things with timber for thousands of years. It’s strong. It’s renewable. It’s widely available and it looks beautiful but it’s also got big drawbacks.

Think about the hundreds of millions of structures and buildings that have been made out of timber throughout history. There are still stone castles and churches standing from centuries ago. The oldest stone structures on earth date from around 2500 BC. But the vast majority of the timber buildings humans have constructed no longer exist. That’s because, to stay looking and performing its best, timber requires a lot of maintenance. Without regular sanding, painting and weatherproofing, wood can rot or warp and, eventually, disintegrate completely.

Timber was once the unchallenged material of choice for all sorts of domestic applications – fencing, decking, sheds, and more.

As stunning as they are when they’re first installed, timber products are far from easy to keep looking their best. They’re susceptible to rotting and warping if they’re not regularly maintained – something which can be complex, costly and time-consuming.

For a long time, the alternatives weren’t especially inspiring. You could have something that performed better than timber, but looked worse. Or you could have timber, enjoy the natural aesthetics, but struggle with the ongoing maintenance.

In recent years, that’s thankfully changed. Driven by the need for more durable, affordable and sustainable substitutes for timber, forward-thinking manufacturers have developed a number o  innovative, low-maintenance alternatives – including WPC.

Wood plastic composite is a modern combination of wood and plastic that manages to retain timber’s best characteristics, without the exhaustive maintenance.

Take our own Rinato WPC decking as an example. Available in an array of colours and styles, Rinato is a fantastic alternative to timber decking.

With the option for a natural woodgrain finish, it’s able to offer much-sought after traditional aesthetics. But it’s much stronger, longer-lasting, and virtually maintenance free.

Rinato combines Forest Stewardship Council-certified recycled eucalyptus wood and recycled polyethylene or polypropylene, making it both incredibly strong and environmentally friendly.

Rinato is also highly versatile and available in natural, victoria, classic and heritage finishes. Whatever the application, there’s a Rinato decking product to suit.

There’s another material that’s rapidly finding favour as a highperformance timber-alternative and it’s not the one you might expect.

For decades, aluminium has been associated with sleek sliding doors and high-end architectural window products but it’s equally capable of providing outstanding fences and railings too.

F.H. Brundle’s own Marano fencing range provides another long-lasting, low-maintenance alternative and one that’s visually versatile too.

Available in either a realistic golden oak effect or a sleek and contemporary anthracite grey, Marano can be adapted to anything from traditional cottages to the most sleek and minimalistic modern homes.

What’s more, it’s extremely quick and easy to install, and can be incorporated into steel gate frames and fixed to virtually any post.

There’s no doubt that timber will always have its appeal but given the outstanding looks, performance and versatility of the many modern alternatives, I think there’s a serious chance it’ll become less and less common.

For more information please call 01708 398 048 or visit www.fhbrundle.co.uk

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