Learn New Ideas for Your Succeeding House Project
If you’re searching to upgrade your home’s exterior, include American hardwoods in the mix. New, eco-friendly treatment approaches now help to make hardwood an outstanding and great looking material option for outdoor living spaces.
“American hardwoods within outdoor applications used to be taboo,” claims Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center. “These days, restrictions and concerns are distant memories, and hardwoods are confidently being mounted outdoors as siding, decking, fences – you name it – thanks to non-chemical heat treatments which improve the dimensional solidity and durability of this wonderful product.”
- A recipe for achievement
Thermal modification is known as a non-toxic procedure that simply “cooks” wood in heat. When it’s in the process, oxygen is taken away from the oven in order to prevent the wood from burning. The high heat – over 400 F – makes a naturally durable wood that is permanently resistant to water, insects as well as decomposition.
Bob Miller, director of sales and marketing intelligence at Frank Miller Lumber Company, says that because the treatment process significantly lowers modified wood’s moisture content and limits its ability to absorb moisture, products are more dimensionally firm – making them less prone to cupping, warping, expansion, and shrinkage with changes in humidity.
“The technique also removes organic substances from wood’s cells, getting rid of a food source for insects and fungi,” Miller adds. “Simply put, thermally modified wood is actually a natural as well as healthy replacement of the chemically preserved, pressure-treated wood. And it’s really reasonably priced, too.”
- At home in the outside
Productively used in Europe ever since the 80s, thermally modified wood has been slow to migrate to America. But, Scott Seyler, who handles export product sales at Northland Forest Products, says the robustness and dimensional firmness of thermally modified hardwoods are major gains that interest property owners who are discovering outdoor home-improvement projects.
“With all that thermally modified wood offers, it is quickly becoming trendy for siding, decking, trim, as well as flooring,” Seyler explains. “Depending on the exact treatment process, locally sourced ashes, poplar, maple, as well as other hardwoods are performing just as well, if not much better than cedar, popular imported species, and composite materials.”
- Finalizing it off
During the entire thermal modification process, a rich chocolate colour results, highlighting the wood’s natural beauty and giving a lavish look. But like any other wood, over time, if not sealed, thermally modified hardwood will naturally weather to a shade of gray resulting from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
“Most homeowners love the rich, dark shade of the modified wood, and choose not to apply a stain or to cover the grain pattern with paint,” claims Hal Mitchell, vice president of domestic sales at Atlanta Hardwood Corporation. “We do, however, endorse applying a UV-inhibitor sealant to all sides and ends of the wood, to maintain its hue and avoid graying.” He added that, “Since thermally modified hardwood is resistant against water, water-based finishes may not perform well. We have found that oil-based sealants and finishes perform best.
“I have a screened-in porch with tongue-and-groove flooring made out of thermally modified sweet gum,” Mitchell states. “It looks fantastic and is performing well because it doesn’t cup from exposure to the elements. The material is perfect for outdoor applications if sealed properly. No other wood can do that based on my experience.”
- Seeking for ideas?
Consider adding endless beauty to your home’s exterior with thermally modified American hardwoods. To learn more, go to the American Hardwood Information Center at www.HardwoodInfo.com for design ideas as well as inspiration.