Frequently Asked Questions
Q.What are the Smart Timbers made of?
A. Smart Timbers are made from a proprietary blend of recycled polyethylene/polypropylene matrix materials that give the timbers the required combination of stiffness and durability. All of the plastic used in Smart Timber is recycled.
Q. How was the Smart Timber created?
A. Recycled plastic landscape timbers have been available for several years, offering customers a product that is resistant to rot and insect infestation. Historically, however, these products have cost several times more than pressure treated lumber or stone and concrete. Smartware Products' goal was to invent a timber that would offer the benefits of plastic, yet be competitively priced relative to natural products. This resulting product is the Smart Timber™. Smartware Products was able to create a timber with structural ribbing and cored for lighter weight because of its unique injection molding technology.
Q. What are some of the benefits of Smart Timbers?
A. Like other plastic landscape timbers, the Smart Timber is resistant to rot and insect infestation. In addition, the structural ribbed design of the timber makes them less than half the weight of other plastic or wood timbers. The pre-molded holes reduce the cutting and drilling required for assembly and allow the easy use of reinforcing rebar throughout the entire height of the wall.
Q. Will the timbers get brittle or will the color fade in the sun?
A. The Smart Timber are specially formulated with additives that resist ultraviolet (UV) degradation from the sun.
Q. Will the timbers crack in the winter?
A. The timbers are made from recycled polyethylene. Polyethylene has exceptional resistance to cold temperatures. Like any material, it may crack when subjected to a high impact, such as from an automobile or sledge hammer.
Q. Can I paint the Smart Timber?
A. Polyethylene, in general, does not hold paint well. Painting the Smart Timber is not recommended.
Q. Since the Smart Timbers contain recycled materials, do they have inferior properties?
A. Even though the material used is recycled plastic, Smartware Products uses a proprietary blend of recycled polyethylenes to provide superior performance. If fact, Smartware Products offers a 50 year limited guarantee against materials and workmanship.
Q. Will there be variations in the timbers?
A. The process used controls the size, shape, and performance of the timbers very closely. There will, however, be some lot-to-lot variation in color due to the variations in the recycled plastic feedstock. The timbers were designed with a marbled texture to resemble natural wood . As such they will provide some natural timber-to-timber variation.
Q. Can the Smart Timbers be made in colors other than weathered brown?
A. Yes. Although only one standard color is currently available, certain colors, in large orders, can be accommodated.
Q. I notice some minor streaking and flecks in the surface of the Smart Timber. Is this a defect? Will it reduce the performance of the timber?
A. No, this marbled/streaked appearance is normal. The process has been designed to give the timber a natural grainy appearance and look more like wood. Many plastic wood products are too uniform and shiny and look like plastic.
Q. How heavy is the Smart Timber?
A. The Smart Timber weighs only 35 pounds, less than half the weight of other plastic and pressure treated landscape timbers. This lighter weight makes the Smart Timbers easier and safer to install.
Q. Are the timbers resistant to chemicals?
A. Yes, the Smart Timbers are very resistant to chemicals. Polyethylene, in general has great chemical resistance.
Q. Will the Smart Timber bow or bend over time?
A. One of the concerns with plastic lumber is that it is not as stiff as wood and can bend. The Smart Timber overcomes this in a variety of ways. First, the unique blend of materials in the timber increase the stiffness and makes them less prone to bowing. Second, the modular construction of the timber with the pre-molded holes allows the timbers to be constructed with rebar reinforcement every two feet. This creates a steel reinforced structure that will resist bending and bowing. Additionally, Smart Timbers were designed with a tongue-in-groove construction feature to help aid lateral support (stiffness) when the timbers are placed on top of each other during wall construction.
Q. What are some of the more common uses of this product?
A. The Smart Timbers are great for many outdoor landscaping applications and can be used wherever you would use wooden landscape timbers. Some typical uses include: Garden Edging Retaining Walls in Yards and in Wet Areas Stairwells Raised Beds Play and Swing Set Area Edging Sandboxes, etc.
Q. How high can I build a wall?
A. Walls can be built like any pressure treated wood wall. Like any retaining wall, it is suggested to build walls no higher than 5 feet. For areas where higher walls are required, it is best to break the height into multiple walls with terraces in between each wall. As with any landscaping project, it is best have an engineer properly design the wall for the specific situation. Appropriate use of anchors into the ground and into the earth behind the wall are recommended.
Q. Are there any special requirements for installing the timbers?
A. For best results follow the installation instructions, keeping the preformed holes aligned as described. This will make installation of any project fast and easy and result in a stronger, longer-lasting wall.
Q. Can the timbers be nailed together?
A. While the timbers can be nailed just like wood, using large spikes, this is not recommended. It is best to fasten the timbers together using rebar through the pre-molded holes, as described in the installation instructions.
Q. How do I anchor the timbers to the ground?
A. The timbers are easily anchored to the ground by driving rebar rod through the timber and into the ground. For best installation, prepare the base of the wall by digging a trench and fill with gravel. Dig the trench deep enough so that one complete timber is buried. This will provide a more stable base. Subsequent layers of timbers can then be secured to this base using rebar as described in the installation instructions.
Q. How do I anchor walls made with Smart Timbers back into the earth behind the wall?
A. Like wooden retaining walls, you should use dead-men to anchor walls back into the earth behind the wall. The unique design of the Smart Timber makes the use of dead-men easy and strong. Simply cut the timbers according to the installation instructions and secure with rebar rods. Alternatively, you can use plastic geo-grid membranes to secure the wall back into the ground.
Q. How do I fill the holes?
A. The holes in the top layer of a wall or edging are easily plugged using specially molded plugs provided with the timbers. Simply apply a small amount of silicone adhesive into the hole and then fit the plug in to create a uniform finish.
Q. How do I cut Smart Timbers?
A. The Smart Timbers are easily cut using hand or power saws. For the best results use a power miter saw or hand-held circular saw and cut at the two-foot intervals as shown in the installation instructions.
Q. How do I maintain the Smart Timber?
A. The maintenance program for the Smart Timber is a multi-step process as described below: Once every season, inspect the wall and admire how well it is holding up. Take extra vacation with the time saved from not having to stain, waterproof, or replace wooden timbers. Treat your co-workers to lunch with all the money you saved. Congratulate yourself for making such a brilliant purchase. Call your friends and family and tell them how happy you are with the new Smart Timbers from Smartware Products.