Johannesburg, SA (October 13, 2020) – Composite decking products have come a long way since they were introduced as an alternative to timber boards. Cost competitiveness and performance have been the two main drivers of innovation in the market which have shaped composite products in the last two decades, and the value proposition of composite materials has created an undeniable market shift.
Whether in decking, cladding or other décor applications, the longevity of composite materials has always held the greatest potential for outperforming timber, but creating competitively priced composite alternatives was a challenge and affordability was often attained through compromising structural performance.
Traditionally, composite decking manufacturers relied upon hollow-core boards to reduce material quantity and cost, but the universal problem with this approach was inevitable cracking from the ingress of moisture into the boards. Manufacturers responded to this problem in a number of ways, but were caught between eliminating hollow cores which raised costs to uncompetitive levels and the alternative of poor product stability and customer comebacks.
Eva-Last’s owner Nathan Chapman says even though the company’s bamboo-plastic composite (BPC) material had a naturally high water resistance, it just took longer for the problem to develop. A solution needed to be found. “We began with a scalloped-back design, which eliminated spaces where water might be trapped over time, and this was an advancement, but we were not satisfied that we had found the optimal board shape for performance and longevity. We discovered that since the manufacturing process is based on co-extrusion of the materials, and could be shaped in any form without wastage, we could engineer the strongest possible shape to achieve the performance we desired while completely preventing moisture retention,” Chapman says.
Eva-Last patented the Infinity I-Series shape worldwide in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. “The worldwide industry standard is a 400mm span on centre to substructure joists, and we wanted to create boards that performed even better than this expectation. We now produce boards capable of spanning up to 600mm on centre while still being cost-competitive.”
It’s an advantage the market has noticed. “Australia is one of the few places where a 450mm span has been standard, and while other composites can be laid down at a smaller span in new installations without a problem, refurbished decks and legacy instalments require materials that can cope with this larger span, and other composites cannot.”
Chapman says most customers don’t even think about the additional costs required to construct a framework with more joists for smaller spans. “The Infinity I-Series performs like wood does, so we can meet worldwide standards and be cost-effective while doing so. This is where imitators have failed – customers end up spending more on cheap, entry-level boards because the substructure needs increase. The more aggressively you scallop to meet the price point of a board, the more performance you lose. We’ve seen a shift in the market to the I-Series because of this.”
The Infinity I-Series is Eva-Last’s premium line of composite decking, which comes with a market-leading 25-year warranty. Available globally and providing the materials for creative home upgrade and refurbishment projects, the I-Series provides an environmentally friendly and high-performance alternative to timber products. With its high safety ratings for slipping and fire resistance to its green credentials – manufactured from recycled plastics and responsibly sourced fast-growing bamboo fibres using solar energy – and its extensive range of aesthetic finishes, the I-Series is truly the composite material for the modern age.