Real vs. fake

29 January 2018

Faux building products and synthetic building materials are changing the way homes are being built as more homeowners and builders become aware of the low maintenance and environmental benefits these can offer. 

While this doesn’t mean ‘real’ or authentic building materials, including wood and stone, will disappear, there are an increasing number of new homes and renovations integrating ‘fake’ elements.  

There are some synthetic building materials that have been found to cause indoor air quality problems though so it’s important to do thorough research before incorporating any of these into your home.   

Here are three synthetic materials or faux products to consider for your next renovation or new build.

Laminate countertops

Laminate countertops have received a bad rap in the past and rightly so (remember the horrible, cheap looking laminate countertops of the 70s?). However, they are starting to make a comeback thanks to style and design improvements by manufacturers. Laminate countertops have actually improved so much that you can now get ones that look like marble but are actually Formica patterned to look like Calacatta marble (like the one below).

Faux wood beams

Easy to install, lightweight and inexpensive, faux wood beams are a good alternative for homeowners wanting to incorporate aged-wood beam features. Faux beams are generally manufactured using high-density polyurethane and are made to look like real wood, coming in a range of styles and textures.

Composite window frames

Composite window frames combine two or more materials to take advantage of the best features of each. The most common composite style uses powder coated aluminium or vinyl for the outer frame, with timber on the inside. This outer cladding protects the wood and keeps the frame stable.

As the editor of BUILD I have a keen interest in sustainable housing and new technologies.