Is all Nutec the same?

All Nutec is fiber cement boards, but not all fiber cement boards are Nutec!

We don’t vacuum the floor, we hoover it. ‘Hoover up’ is a well used phrase in the English language. But Hoover is a brand name, its just been so successful that it has entered everyday language to describe a common activity- vacuuming.

Nutec has managed to do the same, and they (and in turn, you) have become a victim of their own success.

nutec and everite logo

Nutec is a brand name for fiber cement board products produced by Everite Building Products. Its registered, and protected in South Africa, but has become the common term used to describe any structure made using fiber cement boards. Nobody calls them “fiber cement Wendy houses”, they are “Nutec Wendy houses”.

Everite are quite proud of this association, but in recent years it has caused a problem- not just for the company, but also for the end user. They have become victims of the same shoddy practices as the rest of the Wendy house industry. And they realize that there is no point in trying to stop anyone who isn’t using the genuine product from referring to it as such- its just become the generic name for a fiber cement Wendy house. Every single builder of Wendy houses in South Africa will refer to them as Nutec Wendy houses, even if they are really not.

Nutec is a proudly South African product- its made in the country, for use in the country. And it is made to very high quality standards by a company that has been doing it a very long time. Not only that, but they also guarantee their products, and do replace any that fail within that guarantee period, no matter the cost to Everite. There can’t be many companies that do that (and for some products that guarantee is up to 10 years- its a life time commitment to quality).

Unfortunately, in recent years imported boards have started flooding the market.

By Everite’s own admission, not all those products are bad, some are of a reasonable quality. Some of them are borderline unfit for purpose, and none of the imported boards carries the same guarantee as genuine Nutec.

The problem is that most of the imported stuff is cheaper than Nutec products (though not all- and not necessarily by the time those products reach your bill). In a very price sensitive Wendy house industry its very tempting for companies to cut costs by using cheaper alternatives to Nutec.

For the end user (you, the Wendy house owner) this can be a real issue. The company you are using is building you a Nutec house- its what you asked for. Quality fiber cement boards have a massive advantage over other building materials when used on Wendy houses, (click here to read about the benefits of Nutec), but it doesn’t matter whether those boards are the best or the cheapest, they will still be referred to by the builder as Nutec. It is sold to you as this wonder product, but if a cheaper alternative is used, all that advantage disappears, and you could be left with a Wendy house that will not last much longer than a traditional pine unit before needing major maintenance. You will still be paying a premium for the privilege though.

And what happens in five years when the fong-kong boards are falling to bits?

Chances are, your shoddy builder won’t still be in business. Even if they are, the guarantee they were giving has probably expired. And you have absolutely no recourse with the manufacturer of the boards. You could fly to the far east and knock on their door, but beyond that you will be paying for the repairs yourself on something that you thought was a once in a life-time investment.

So what can you do? It all just looks like gray boards, right?

Its really your choice but the price difference between using genuine Nutec and a cheap import is not that big, and may not cause any difference in the price of your Wendy house at all.

If you already have quotes for a Wendy house from a company, that you go back to insisting they use the genuine Nutec product, and this leads to a massive increase in price then you know they were using the cheapest products they could find. A Nutec wendy house is an investment, its supposed to be around for many years without causing any issues- is it really worth saving a few thousand rand when building it when you could be looking at a service life that is half what it should be?

Even if they are using a quality alternative, it is not going to be under any kind of guarantee other than the general one supplied by the builder.

There is currently no list of registered Nutec installers or suppliers that you can refer to, but all Nutec products are branded and printed with serial numbers for quality control purposes. And you can use those numbers to contact the company and ensure that your builder is using the genuine product. They also have a very approachable regional team in the Western Cape who would be happy to help you verify the integrity of your supplier.

It may cost you a little more up front (it may not) but you are getting:

  • a long term guaranteed product
  • to support a South African company
  • a heck of a lot of peace of mind- is that imported product really asbestos free?
  • environmental credentials (Nutec is already a low impact material, but not transporting it halfway around the world certainly improves those creds)
  • a good indicator that you have a builder who genuinely cares about quality, and that you get a good Wendy house, not that he makes maximum profits!

Again, I have to point out, there are many fiber cement products on the market, and not all are bad products (most adhere to the building codes and SABS standards), but only one is the genuine Nutec product.

You can learn more about Everite by visiting their web site

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