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From Oak to Cedar, there are tons of timber species out there which are well-known for their durability. But there are also plenty which are not so tough! That is where timber treatments come in, turning budget-friendly timber choices into durable, hardy woods which are better suited to a wide range of applications.

But what are timber treatments and how could they affect your next project? Let’s take a look.

What Are Timber Treatments?

Timber treatments are processes which protect your timber from external threats, such as pests, moisture and fungal infestations. They can also change the characteristics of your species, improving the structural integrity for a durable, strong timber with an extended lifespan. Treatments are usually either applied directly to the timber – e.g the OrganoWood treatments – or are a process to which the timber is subjected – e.g the heat and pressure which create ThermoWood and Abodo.

How Treatments Can Make Your Timber More Durable

A lot of our customers ask for treated timber which makes a naturally non-durable species more durable (such as pressure-treated Pine). But how do treatments make the wood more durable? This is actually a question with a few answers, all of which we will take a look at now.

  1. Protection from Decay – One of the primary reasons for treating timber is to protect it from decay. This is especially important when timber is used in outdoor applications where it will be exposed to moisture or in indoor areas with high humidity, such as the bathroom or kitchen. The right treatment enhances the moisture resistance of wood, preventing liquid from penetrating the fibres for a longer-lasting product.
  2. Resistance to Insects – Termites and other wood-boring insects can wreak havoc on untreated timber. Fortunately timber treatments can create a tough barrier to keep pests at bay and prevent them from getting into the wood without changing the appearance of your timber.
  3. Improved Stability – Some timber treatments can enhance the dimensional stability of wood. This means that your boards and planks will be less likely to warp, split, shrink or swell as a result of moisture changes in the atmosphere. It is a super useful property to have in your timber, particularly for constructions where precision is a must, such as timber frame homes or timber decking.
  4. UV Resistance  – The right treatment can make your timber products more resistant to weather-related fading. Whilst some people love the silver-grey weathering of untreated timber, if you are hoping to keep the colour of your wood for years to come, it is a smart choice for outdoor applications such as decking, cladding and fencing.

Which Timber Species Require Treatment?

Not all timber species are created equal when it comes to durability and longevity! Some species can be a little more susceptible to wear, making them a top-priority candidate for treatments.

Generally, softwoods such as Pine and Spruce are less durable than most hardwoods, making them more likely to need treating before use. The OrganoWood we mentioned earlier is actually a variety of modified Pine, which is a budget-friendly species which can benefit from a little extra oomph for external applications.

There are exceptions to the rule, though. Some hardwoods are not very durable, e.g Ash and Frake – both of which need to be treated in order to handle wear and tear. Some softwoods are naturally durable, including Cedar, Larch and Douglas Fir.

Find Out More at EcoChoice

If you are considering timber treatments, your best bet is to get in touch with our experts. We can take a look at your application, external factors and the timber species you are intending to use, to let you know whether or not a treatment is the right approach. When it comes to helping your timber last longer, we are always happy to help!

Image: Kathie Nichols / Shutterstock.com

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