If you’re looking to improve your home’s exterior, include American hardwoods in the mix. New, eco-friendly treatment approaches now cause hardwood an excellent and great looking material selection for outdoor living spaces.
“American hardwoods within outdoor applications used to be taboo,” declares Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center. “These days, restraints and concerns are distant memories, and hardwoods are boldly being built outdoors as siding, decking, fences – you name it – thanks to non-chemical heat treatments that boost the dimensional solidity and durability of this delightful item.”
- A technique for accomplishment
Thermal modification is actually a non-toxic process that merely “cooks” wood in heat. While in the method, oxygen is taken away out of the oven to avoid the wood from burning. The high heat – over 400 F – creates a naturally durable wood that is permanently resistant to water, insects and rot.
Bob Miller, director of sales and marketing intelligence at Frank Miller Lumber Company, says that because the treatment process significantly decreases modified wood’s moisture content and limits its capability to absorb moisture, products are more dimensionally firm – causing them to be less prone to cupping, bending, expansion, and contraction with changes in humidity.
“The treatment also eradicates organic elements from wood’s cells, getting rid of a food source for insects and fungi,” Miller adds. “Simply put, thermally modified wood is definitely a natural as well as healthy replacement of the chemically preserved, pressure-treated wood. And it is reasonably priced, too.”
- At home in the outside the house
Successfully used within Europe ever since the eighties, thermally modified wood has been slow to migrate to America. But, Scott Seyler, who handles export product sales at Northland Forest Products, claims the durability and dimensional constancy of thermally modified hardwoods are major gains that interest property owners who are looking into outdoor home-improvement projects.
“With all that thermally modified wood offers, it’s speedily becoming trendy for siding, decking, trim, as well as flooring,” Seyler explains. “Depending on the particular treatment process, locally sourced ash, poplar, maple, and other hardwoods are performing just as well, if not better than cedar, well-known imported species, and composite materials.”
- Finalizing it off
From the thermal modification process, a rich chocolate colour results, highlighting the wood’s natural beauty and also giving a deluxe look. But just like any other wood, over time, if not sealed, thermally modified hardwood will naturally weather to a shade of gray caused by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
“Most homeowners prefer the rich, dark shade of the modified wood, and decide not to apply a stain or to cover the grain pattern with paint,” states Hal Mitchell, vice president of domestic sales at Atlanta Hardwood Corporation. “We do, however, recommend applying a UV-inhibitor sealant to all of the sides and ends of the wood, to keep its hue and prevent graying.” He added that, “Since thermally modified hardwood is resistant against water, water-based finishes might not perform well. We have found out that oil-based sealants and finishes perform best.
“I have a screened-in porch with tongue-and-groove flooring made from thermally modified sweet gum,” Mitchell states. “It looks great and is also performing well because it doesn’t cup from contact with the elements. The material is great for out-of-doors applications if sealed properly. No other wood can do that based on my experience.”
- Searching for ideas?
Consider adding endless beauty to your home’s exterior with thermally modified American hardwoods. To learn more visit the American Hardwood Information Center at www.HardwoodInfo.com for design ideas and inspiration.
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