South Africans love being outdoors. The country’s climate is well suited to a lifestyle that takes advantage of hot, sunny days and beautiful natural surroundings. Adapting our living and working spaces to this nature-loving lifestyle has frequently employed timber products as decking, cladding and decorative features. However, although natural timber provides desirable aesthetic benefits, wood requires constant upkeep and replacement because it struggles to maintain its original finish when exposed to climatic conditions.
Composite decking and cladding materials began to make headway in the building and renovations market when their weather-resistant properties proved themselves, but these products were also not without their drawbacks – for years composites suffered from excess weight per board and strength that did not yet compare with that of natural timber.
Enter Eva-Last’s R&D team, which over the last two decades has produced a number of market-leading patents that steadily reduced the weight of composite decking boards, improved their strength across framework spans and brought the products’ appearance ever close to that of natural timber.
Eva-Last’s designs also eliminated the secondary issues plaguing composite designs, such as internal moisture retention, fastener failure, pedestrian slippage risk and surface damage. By 2018, the company’s range of cladding, decking, railing and décor products significantly reduced installation time through component weight reduction and making use of a proprietary range of fasteners, while providing longevity of performance backed up by unmatched guarantees in the market.
2018 represents a watershed year because the introduction of the Apex range of outdoor building materials has revolutionised composite technology. The result of more than a decade of cutting-edge engineering, Apex provides the most natural-looking, lightest and most durable product ever.
Designed for use in decking, cladding, fencing, screening and railing, Apex is purpose-designed to outperform all other materials in all weather conditions. Forward-thinking architects and landscapers have begun using Apex products in a variety of applications and their 30-year guarantees are causing a stir.
Paul Maartens, director of TrueStyle Hard Landscaping Solutions based in Honeydew, Johannesburg, says while most clients would remain oblivious of all the technical specifications that make Apex a great choice, it simply looks so good that customers choose it anyway.
“Its aesthetic appearance is the major reason to use it. We recently completed an installation of a large deck in Inanda, Sandton. We were drawn to the great reviews and guarantees associated with Apex and when we showed the clients they loved the natural look of the product. Its appearance was much more natural than other composite offerings.”
According to Maartens, Apex represents a quantum leap from the first generation of composite boards. “There is a huge difference in quality and wear resistance of surfaces. The weight reduction of Apex, even compared with recent products in the market, is a significant factor. We had a hassle-free installation and the clients love the product. Its true selling point is its longevity with no required maintenance – it will stay looking and performing the same for so long that the framework may even give out before the boards do.”
Apex was also put to use by ARC Architects for the Leroy Merlin DIY retail franchise head office in Johannesburg. Headquartered in Europe, where challenging weather conditions are not the norm, Leroy Merlin specified a timber look and feel for its retail outlet façades, but quickly discovered when the first few stores were built that timber weathered, tarnished, faded and discoloured in the high Ultra Violet indexed, South African climate.
Wary of compromising the brand’s look and feel, the architects suggested Apex products as an alternative and Leroy Merlin accepted, providing longevity, high performance and consistency of appearance across this and future installations. Most importantly, the Apex products would require no maintenance to keep looking fresh for at least two decades – only the occasional clean would be necessary.
A secondary but equally important consideration was that Apex products come with a BFL S1 fire resistance rating, which is an important consideration for a commercial building. Combined with Eva-Last’s environmental credentials, making use of easily replenished bamboo and recycled plastics, Apex represents a no-brainer choice as a timber alternative for all applications.
Apex is the future of composite materials, and it is available today.