If you are looking in order to upgrade your home’s exterior, include American hardwoods in the mix with Home Inspector Huntley IL. New, eco-friendly treatment procedures now help to make hardwood a superb and great looking material option for outdoor living spaces.
“American hardwoods in outdoor applications used to be taboo,” states Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center. “These days, restraints and concerns are distant memories, and hardwoods are boldly being set up outdoors as siding, decking, fences – you name it – thanks to non-chemical heat treatments that boost the dimensional stability and durability of this wonderful product.”
A recipe for success
Thermal modification serves as a non-toxic procedure that basically “cooks” wood in heat. While in the course of action, oxygen is taken away from the oven to avoid the wood from burning. The high heat – over 400 F – creates a naturally durable wood which is permanently resistant against water, insects as well as decay.
Bob Miller, director of sales and marketing intelligence at Frank Miller Lumber Company, claims that because of the course of treatment drastically lowers modified wood’s moisture content and limits its capability to absorb moisture, products are more dimensionally stable – making them less prone to cupping, warping, expansion, and contraction with changes in humidity.
“The technique also eradicates organic elements from wood’s cells, removing a food source for insects and fungi,” Miller adds. “Simply put, thermally modified wood is definitely a natural and healthy replacement for chemically preserved, pressure-treated wood. And it’s really affordably priced, too.”
At home in the outdoors
Effectively used within Europe ever since the 80s, thermally modified wood has been slow to migrate to America. But, Scott Seyler, who handles export sales at Northland Forest Products, states that the robustness and dimensional steadiness of thermally modified hardwoods are major gains that interest property owners who are looking at outdoor home-improvement projects.
“With all that thermally modified wood offers, it’s quickly becoming popular for siding, decking, trim, as well as flooring,” Seyler explains. “Depending on the specific course of treatment, locally sourced ash, poplar, maple, as well as other hardwoods are performing just as well, if not much better than cedar, well-known imported species, and composite materials.”
Completing it off
Throughout the thermal modification process, a rich chocolate colour results, highlighting the wood’s natural beauty and also providing a luxurious 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 love the rich, dark shade of the modified wood, and select not to apply a stain or to cover the grain pattern with paint,” says Hal Mitchell, vice president of domestic sales at Atlanta Hardwood Corporation. “We do, however, recommend applying a UV-inhibitor sealant to all sides and ends of the wood, to maintain its color and prevent graying.” He added that, “Since thermally modified hardwood is resistant against water, water-based finishes might 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 manufactured from thermally modified sweet gum,” Mitchell states. “It looks great and is also performing well simply because it does not cup from contact with the elements. The material is great for outdoor applications if sealed properly. No other wood can do that based on my experience.”
Searching for ideas?
Think about adding everlasting beauty to your home’s exterior with thermally modified American hardwoods. For additional information, check out the American Hardwood Information Center at www.HardwoodInfo.com for design ideas as well as inspiration.
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