When it comes to renovating we all have tried and tested favourite products we like to use. However, with a growing demand from consumers, there are now some great new building products coming onto the market, that might be worth a try.
Breakthroughs in engineering are producing amazing structural steel members which can span large distances without support. This gives far greater flexibility to interior designs, opening up rooms and reducing substructure costs.
Another fantastic new product is laminated veneer lumber or LVL. This high-strength engineered wood product is made from veneers bonded together under heat and pressure. It is used for permanent structural applications including beams and rafters, and is able to safely span large spaces. It is comparable in strength to solid timber, concrete and steel.
Hitting the hot spot
While it's hard to think of heating if you live somewhere like Queensland, there are areas of the country where the temperature can drop quite dramatically. One form of heating growing in popularity is In-floor Radiant Heating. With heating cables embedded right into the floor, radiant heating eliminates cold floors. The concept isn't new - in its crudest form it dates back to the Neolithic period, while the Romans came up with some very high tech ideas!
Modern under floor heating provides many advantages over traditional convection based systems and reverse cycle air conditioning. Where large surfaces such as the floor exist, it is possible to achieve ideal comfort conditions with a slightly lower ambient air temperature, resulting in more comfortable conditions, greatly reduced dust circulation and lower energy usage. These advantages are even greater in rooms where traditionally cold floor surfaces such as tiles, stone or polished concrete are used, since these become your heating system rather than creating drafts and cold spots.
Get the look without the work
Composite and plastic timber is increasingly being used for decks and are well worth checking out if you prefer a more maintenance-free approach. Composite timber is made from wood or other organic products (eg sawdust or rice hulls) mixed with recycled plastics, while plastic lumber contains 100% recycled plastic. Available in a range of colours, these products can usually be installed like conventional decking materials. Other no-maintenance decking options include vinyl, which comes in a range of top coverings and snap-together systems.
Lean and green
Rapidwall has actually been around in Australia since the 1990s but has grown in popularity of late, largely due to its award-winning environmentally-friendly capabilities. Rapidwall is a single panel walling system that serves both as an internal and external wall, and eliminates the need for other materials, such as bricks.
It's made using natural gypsum and is 100% recyclable, and water, rot and termite resistant. The company claims it is the lowest energy embodied building product in the world today.