Questions and Answers on ModWood
What is ModWood
ModWood is an Australian made and owned composite product made essentially from a mixture of ground sustainable wood waste and plastic; we actually use recycled plastic milk bottles.
ModWood products contain no formaldehydes.
Where is ModWood made?
Is ModWood moisture resistant?
ModWood has excellent moisture resistance, however it should be noted that ModWood is not designed to “live in moisture” - this will eventually cause swelling, and affect physical properties.
Does ModWood need ventilation?
Yes, like timber, it is important to provide adequate ventilation to ensure ModWood is able to dry out after being wet. For this reason it is very important to pay attention to clearance on butt joins (end to end), spacing between boards (side by side), and minimum ground clearances. Lack of ventilation will cause the product to swell and fail over time. Check product fixing instructions for information on ventilation requirements. Boxing in the deck will reduce cross flow ventilation and therefore must be avoided.
Can ModWood be used for cladding?
No it cannot, ModWood requires spacing between and behind the boards to ensure adequate ventilation so that the wood fibres have the ability to dry out. Therefore, this limits ModWood being able to be used in installations to provide primary weatherproofing element. Refer to fixing instructions on website.
Will it warp?
ModWood decking will not warp provided it is used and fixed in accordance with fixing instructions. ModWood mini board can in some circumstances, show some deflection between uprights.
Does it splinter?
The composition of ModWood products means that they will not splinter. This makes them ideal for small children.
How do I fix ModWood?
Whilst ModWood has many fixing similarities to natural timber, there are a few subtle differences that must be observed. Please check Fixing & Installation on our website prior to installation.
If unsure please contact ModWood.
Does ModWood fade?
Yes, ModWood undergoes some colour change when exposed to the elements. This will primarily happen during the first couple of months. When deciding which surface to face upwards, please refer to the section “Brushed or Smooth” below.
Check our web site for indicative colour differences under “Care & Maintenance”.
Note - the brushed surface shows minimal fade, and must be used in sheltered or under roofline installations.
Is it UV Protected?
Yes, ModWood products are highly protected against UV radiation. Please note however UV stabilisation is of the plastic component of the product only and does not have a great effect on the fading characteristics. For information on fading see above.
How does ModWood compare with timber in terms of surface temperature?
Tests have shown ModWood has a similar surface temperature to timber of similar colours and finishes. Please note because Black Bean and Jarrah are darker colours, they can get quite hot under foot, especially when new (similar to a dark painted timber decking board).
Refer to Technical on our website for more details.
Can ModWood be used for joists?
No, ModWood has been designed for use as decking and screening products only and cannot be classed as a “load bearing” product.
Is joist size important?
Yes, when butt joining top fix boards it is recommended to use a 45 mm joist to enable the fasteners to be located a minimum 15mm from the board end.
Brushed or Smooth? Which surface to face upwards?
Below are the pros and cons of using the different faces.
Brushed (lighter coloured face).
- Must be used for decks under roof/cover **
- A more uniform appeal when under cover
- Does not show scratches as easily
- A more “timber-like” surface feel
- Better non-slip feel in wet areas (e.g. around pools)
- Heavy scratches may be sanded or wire-brushed out
- Less colour shift/fade over time - apart from embossing lines fading
- A more durable finish; suitable for under roof and fully exposed deck areas.
- Surface temperature of brushed feels cooler than the smooth
- Can more easily take oil based paint or decking stain
- Susceptible to “fatty” stains due to the exposed wood fibre
- Will pick up dirt/stains/mould more easily due to wood fibres exposed (these can usually be cleaned)
Smooth (darker coloured face)
- More “plastic” at the surface gives better resistance to dirt and grime (stays cleaner)
- A more solid colour
- for fully exposed deck areas only **
- Less uniform appeal if installed undercover
- Smoother surface may feel a bit more plastic
- Surface temperature will get hotter; especially when new
- Smoother surface not quite as good for grip (88mm board)
- Cannot simply give a wire-brushing “touch-up” for scratches
- Will show a higher degree of fade over the first few months
- Needs to be well weathered before paint or stain will adhere properly
** For decks partially under roof, the brushed / lighter side must be faced up. For fully exposed decks; either face up can be used.
See our Care and Maintanence and "Does ModWood Fade" for further details.
Is it scratch resistant?
No, ModWood can show scuffs and scratches, especially when new, and especially on the “smooth surface”. By rubbing on a clear/natural decking oil with a clean rag the marks will be less noticeable. Exposure to the weather will see the board fade to its natural colour, thus hiding scuff and scratch marks. It is strongly recommended that all furniture on a ModWood deck has protective feet e.g. rubber stoppers applied to the legs to help prevent scuffing or scratching of the deck surface.
ModWood is a finished product-take care!
See our web site under the section called Care & Maintenance for further details.
Important - the brushed surface does not easily show scuffs and scratches.
- This side is recommended if the product is intended for use under shade/cover.
- The brushed surface can be wire brushed.
- The area you wire brush will quickly fade out and hide your repair.
Can ModWood be used in bushfire prone areas?
Yes, Flame Shield® only, can be used in bushfire prone areas that have a bushfire attack level (BAL) up to and including BAL-40 (AS3959-2009). Flame Shield®, is certified to AS1530.8.1-2007 with a BAL-40 rating. Flame Shield® can be used in BAL-12.5, 19, 29, and BAL-40 rated areas. Flame Shield Instructions
Note - our non-flame retardant decking boards and mini board must not be used in BAL rated zones.
Is it termite resistant?
Termite resistance of ModWood has been tested by the CSIRO against two of the most common species in Australia. ModWood has been found to give superior termite resistance, enough to be classed as a “termite control” product.
Is ModWood slippery?
ModWood decking has very similar non-slip ratings to painted or coated timber decking products. Note, our 137mm profiles are manufactured to a higher anti slip rating of R11, AS 4586:2013
Refer to Technical on our website for more details.
Is ModWood suitable for use around swimming pools?
Yes, ModWood is an ideal decking to be used in a pool and spa environment. Also, as there is no likelihood of splinters occurring, it protects your feet.
Refer to fixing instructions with regards to ventilation requirements.
Can ModWood be used by the sea?
ModWood is ideal in a marine environment, being unaffected by the salt air.
How can I clean and maintain ModWood?
ModWood is relatively maintenance free:
- Regular cleaning is important in keeping the deck to look great.
- Do not use high pressure cleaners on ModWood.
- Sweeping and cleaning with normal household cleaners is usually adequate to keep your deck looking great.
- “Sugar soap”, mixed with water works particularly well when used with a yard broom - take care not to scratch the board surface.
- Stubborn (usually oil-based) stains can be difficult to remove - we find that water-diluted Intergrain Reviva or So Safe deck cleaning products very effective.
- The use of Kenco degreaser works well for heavy spot stains - scrub in and wash off after a few minutes.
- Periodic cleaning of expansion joints is also recommended.
- Tests have shown that it is possible to remove graffiti paint by using paint stripper.
- Use strong chemicals with caution.
Refer to Care & Maintenance. on our web site for more detail.
Can I paint or stain my ModWood?
Due to its high wood-fibre base, ModWood products when fully weathered, will accept some decking oils.
Must be oil based and not water based decking oil!
- Products such as Sceneys Timber & Decking Oil and Feast Watson Traditional Timber Oil will give a good result. Note - Feast Watson decking oil has a yellow tinge and is not suitable on our grey coloured boards.
- Oil based stains can be applied. However, the plastic component of ModWood (especially the brushed and embossed finishes) can make good adherence of most coatings difficult, until it is fully weathered.
- Before painting ModWood, it should be given a coating of Taubmans Prep Right oil based wood primer.
We strongly recommend a small trial is done first with any of the above suggestions. Choose a small in conspicuous area to satisfy yourself that the result is desirable in terms of appearance and adhesion prior to applying to the total area.
More information at Care and Maintanence
Can water stain marks appear on ModWood?
Yes, water stain marks can show on ModWood boards. There are two types of water stains; both of which will generally disappear with exposure to a reasonable soaking of rain and general weathering. Both can be cleaned fairly quickly with an application of diluted “Intergrain Reviva”.
a) Water stains from wood tannins will occur in the early life of your deck as the natural tannins come out of the wood fibres at the surface of the ModWood. This will happen in the early weeks of your deck, and will depend on how exposed to the elements your deck is before the weathering process is complete.
b) Water stains from water pooling or dripping can happen with ModWood just like it can with many other materials/surfaces such as timber flooring, glass, laminated tables etc.
The visibility of the stain will be governed by factors such as how dirty the deck is and how quickly the water dries from the water pooling. Where decks are only partially exposed to the elements, water stain marks are more prone in this situation. This is due to the inability of the boards to be exposed to the weather to receive a reasonable soaking of rain and general weathering.
Clean as mentioned above. Care and Maintanence
Is ModWood mould resistant?
As ModWood has a wood-fibre base; mould and mildew can grow on the deck in some circumstances and environments, or if it “sweats” under the plastic cover (especially in rain) before installation.
Failure to keep packs dry in storage can lead to the growth of mould spores on boards. Clean as per directions under “Care & Maintenance” on our web site. We have also found a product known as “Wet & Forget” to work very well.
What joist span do I use?
Some ModWood products have different joist spans to similar timber products.
Please check Installation section for instructions for relevant products on our website.
Installation with chalks
It is best to avoid coloured chalks that are used in construction as most coloured chalks are permanent! Best alternatives are white chalk (Irwin Strait-Line Dust Off) or baby powder. Test on a small off cut if unsure and confirm that you can clean off successfully. Contact the manufacturer of the specific brand and colour of chalk for a cleaning solution that may prove effective prior to use.
Why does ModWood specify a bigger side by side gap than timber?
Timber boards will often shrink slightly in width once laid, however ModWood wood fibres have extremely low moisture content. After laying, the surface fibres will “normalise” with moisture and the boards will swell slightly.
Note - It is critical that the side by side minimum gapping specified (4mm) by ModWood is maintained when laying the deck.
Please check Fixing & Installation on our website prior to installation.
If unsure please contact ModWood.
What are the standard colours and sizes?
ModWood comes in a wide range of colours and sizes for residential and commercial applications. Check our web site for more details.
Please note colours may vary from batch to batch, however different batches of the same colour will weather to within a commercially acceptable tolerance.
Can audible tones occur between ModWood decking boards?
Yes, it is possible for harmonic’s to occur. This is a site specific condition that can occur with the loudness level more pronounced in elevated decks, exposed to high velocity winds from a particular direction.
Contact ModWood who will assist with suggestions that may help to minimise the noise level.
Can I use ModWood for screening?
ModWood has a specific product (68 x 17mm) for use as screening. Other ModWood boards may also be used for screening.
Check fixing instructions for details.
Are there special tools required for working with ModWood?
With ModWood you can use standard power saws and drills. As with using any power tools, adequate personal protective equipment should be used when cutting or drilling ModWood.
The ModWood “sawdust”, is coarse, heavy sawdust that doesn’t tend to “float” in the air. This makes it safer for handling.
Refer above "What is ModWood"
How should ModWood be stored and handled?
Whether at the timber merchant premises or at your own house awaiting installation, ModWood should be stored on edge in a dry, flat area under roof and off the ground.
Failure to keep packs dry in storage can lead to the growth of mould spores on boards.
When moving product around ModWood should be carried on its edge.
ModWood is a finished product-take care!
Is ModWood guaranteed?
ModWood Technologies P/L offers a limited ten-year Residential and seven-year Commercial warranty.
Please visit our Terms & Conditions page on the website.
All product performance claims are based on ModWood products being used as recommended and installed in accordance with ModWood’s minimum fixing specifications.
This information is available in PDF.