Endless green fields spread out in every direction beneath the open sky of Northern Germany. We are in Riede, a tiny and convivial-looking municipality in Lower Saxony.
The Koss family lives in a detached house at the end of a narrow road. On arrival, the large garden immediately reveals that there are small children in the household. Toys are scattered all around, with a ride-on car and swing in the yard.
The mother, Celia Koss, opens the door and invites us to come in. The boys Levi and Marlon, aged five and three, are playing with their grandfather. Their father is still at work. We watch the boys play on the outdoor deck.
Taking hard knocks
The Koss family has selected UPM ProFi, a biocomposite developed by UPM, for their outdoor deck. The large deck blends in naturally with the look of the house. The pale colour of the roof gives it an airy feel, and the glass walls on each side are see-through. The curly branches of a Peking willow hang close to the side of the deck. Though we are sitting outside, it feels like an extended living room.
We soon witness first-hand the rough usage to which the deck is subjected on a daily basis. The little rascals run back and forth between the deck and garden, hopping on the ride-on car and circling the boards, next jumping and bouncing around the deck with their shoes on. This kind of rough handling is enough to test even the toughest of materials.
Calm and relaxed, Celia Koss looks on as her children play.
“We chose a decking material that would be as child-friendly and durable as possible. We ‘abuse’ the floor to the extreme, but it’s highly resistant to wear. Practicality was an important factor in making the choice,” says the good-humoured mother.
When choosing materials for families with children, easy and effortless care is a definite advantage.
“It only takes a brush and some water to clean the deck. We don’t need to oil the floor or treat it with preservatives,” Koss explains.
The family’s deck was finished in 2016. They selected the lightest shade of grey in the UPM ProFi Deck colour palette, pearl grey, because it was the closest match with the house. “The properties of the decking material have been even better than I expected,” Koss says.
The look of the deck is also praised by visitors.
“Everyone has loved how light the colour is. At first, our guests are usually a bit cautious, asking if the floor is easily scratched by the chairs, but I always tell them there is no need to worry.”
The boys are allowed to bring all their toys onto the deck, including the ride-on car, bike and wheelbarrow. It has even withstood a lawnmower being pulled across its surface. Despite all this hard wear, no scratches are visible, which she agrees is quite a miracle.
Foot friendly material
The family spends a lot of time on the deck, using it for barbecues, socializing, playing and generally taking it easy. On rainy days, mum urges the boys to go out and play on the deck when their energy levels become hard to contain within four walls.
The floor feels particularly pleasant underfoot.
“It’s never too hot or cold. It maintains an even temperature in both summer and winter,” Koss describes.
The Koss family also appreciates the fact that the floor does not splinter. All mothers and fathers know what it’s like to remove a splinter from the foot of a small child – an ordeal from which they are now spared.