Home design often comes down to compromises. Should you choose stone flooring or a more comfortable and forgiving surface? Perhaps the earthy look of wood without the maintenance? Can your patio look just as good without the flagstone?An array of innovative and versatile products to satisfy the most discerning tastes was served up recently at the Best of International Builders’ Show Awards in Las Vegas. We scoped out five stylish options that are among the best in their categories.
The twist? These cleverly designed products are not what you might think. Thanks to advances in technology and manufacturing techniques, the products fool the eye but save on upkeep or space.
– Rustic details. Leave it to a company named Knotwood to come up with an aluminum batten system that looks like wood. The winner of the award for best outdoor-living product features aluminum designs for fencing, gates, privacy screens, trellises, siding and decking.
To achieve the wood-like finish, Knotwood’s two-stage process involves powder-coating aluminum and fusing a wood pattern, much like a tattoo, through the coating. Benefits of aluminum include durability, easy installation, low maintenance, noncombustibility, and resistance to termites, mold and mildew.
Regular preventive maintenance is the key to keeping Knotwood looking like new. Unlike wood’s natural enemies, which include moisture, dry rot, fungus and insects, substances such as airborne salts, dirt and pollutants can harm the long-term quality of Knotwood’s powder-coated film.
To protect the finish and remove loose contaminants that can accumulate on the surface, Knotwood recommends washing with a soft brush and mild pH-neutral detergent and rinsing with fresh water. Maintenance intervals will depend on the air quality where you live. For example, if you live in a rural or urban environment where the atmosphere is considered nonhazardous, you can get away with cleaning the powder-coated surface every 12 months.
In places subject to high pollution – such as industrial areas, geothermal environments or coastal locales – the cleaning frequency should be increased to every three months. In beach-front locations or areas with severe marine pollutants, monthly washing is recommended.