The Evolution of Outdoor Living: One Company’s Advancements in Products and Processes
by Mimi Peavy

Outdoor living surfaces have come a long way over the years—evolving from concrete slabs and cedar decks into many types of alternative decking. The TimberTech company in Wilmington, Ohio, has done a lot to advance this evolution as a leader in the research, development, and manufacture of long lasting, low maintenance, and high quality decking, railing, and fencing solutions. We have worked hard on another kind of evolution, as well: adopting environmentally responsible practices both in our manufacturing and daily work processes.

Innovative Decking Products

Alternative decking began in the 1990s with the introduction of composite decking. A composite deck is made from a mixture of wood and HDPE (high density polyethylene). Composite decking is considered superior to regular cedar decks because it requires less maintenance. The category of alternative decking has now expanded into PVC decking and capped-composite decking.

TimberTech has developed products that cover the range of alternative decking from basic composite plank to capped-composite to high-end PVC plank. Each type of plank has its benefits: composite is a low-cost option that provides low maintenance; capped-composite has a composite core wrapped in a poly shell which provides resistance to staining, scratching, and fading; and PVC is high-end decking that is the most durable to all elements.

The newest type of alternative decking is capped-composites. TimberTech introduced a product called “Earthwood Evolutions,” which is the industry’s first fully-capped composite. Earthwood Evolutions has a composite core that contains 12% recycled HDPE and 100% post-industrial wood flour. The shell is a poly cap that resists staining, fading, and scratching. Earthwood Evolutions spans 16 inches on-center and is available in grooved and solid profiles. The grooved profile is designed to work with “CONCEALoc Hidden Fasteners.” As illustrated below, when installed with CONCEALoc, the surface is completely fastener free. 

Peavy Image 1
Earthwood Evolutions Pacific Teak and Pacific Walnut with RadianceRail, Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo courtesy of TimberTech.

TimberTech has also designed its products to be low maintenance. They maintain their color and beauty for years without the need for painting, staining or sealing. And, because they resist mildew, warping and insects, there is no need to replace rotting, uneven or termite-damaged boards. This saves time and money.

We have also ensured that our entire line of products is low maintenance, durable, and made with high-quality materials. These include traditional wood-plastic composite planks, PVC decking material, railings, lighting, under-deck drainage systems, and fastener-free installation options. So, we are really a one-stop place for outdoor living building products.

Environmentally Responsible Practices

Our company is committed to using environmentally sound practices—from manufacturing materials to production processes, to the shipment operations. Following are some examples:

  • Much of our decking contains 12% post-consumer recycled plastic (HDPE).
  • We reclaim more than 28 million pounds of product scrap into our manufacturing process each year, which saves even more wood and plastic waste from reaching landfills.
  • All of the wood in our products is pre-consumer-recycled. The wood flour is recycled from the woodworking industry, which keeps more than 100 million pounds of wood waste out of landfills each year and no trees are cut down for the purpose of making our products.
  • Our product cartons are made with 43% recycled material fibers that meet SFI (Sustainability Forestry Initiative) sourcing requirements.
  • We recycle the water in our manufacturing facilities by using a closed loop water system. Reusing the water in our plants saves over 140,000 gallons every day.
  • We use natural light and energy-efficient bulbs to save energy.
  • We recycle the vent dust from our manufacturing facilities, which saves at least 200,000 pounds of material going to the landfill each year.
  • We ship many products by rail. Each railcar carries a load equivalent to four tractor-trailer trucks.  By using rail, we keep about 500 trucks off the road each year.

We’re also a proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council. And because of our practices, the TimberTech products may also contribute toward green building points in NAHB Standards and LEED building programs. 

We believe that we have done a lot to advance the evolution of alternative decking—both in our products and our processes, and will continue to look for additional advancements in these arenas. For more information, please visit TimberTech.

Mimi Peavy is the Associate Marketing Manager at TimberTech in Wilmington, Ohio, and can be reached at: mpeavy@timbertech.comTimberTech is a corporate member of the Residential Landscape Architecture PPN.

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