Wood construction has become increasingly popular and people are using more wood-framed buildings as they attempt to construct larger ones. But is wood safe enough?
Moisture damage to timber is one of the primary sources of structural failure. Luckily, there are ways to mitigate its risks by storing all timber on flat, elevated surfaces.
Protect from Moisture
Wood, including timber framing, is an absorbent material which draws moisture out of its environment and absorbs it through absorption or exusion. When this moisture seeps into construction projects, excess damp can lead to staining, mold growth, irreversible dimensional change (which may compromise structural capacity), as well as other issues including decay of wood fibers or fungal growth on surfaces.
Engineered wood components like cross-laminated timber (CLT) and laminated veneer lumber (LVL) should be kept as dry as possible during construction in order to preserve their quality and performance. To do so effectively, weather protective covers provide optimal storage conditions immediately upon delivery as well as throughout assembly – shielding workers from rain, snow and wind while offering optimal conditions on-site.
SOLITEX ADHERO moisture-transport membranes actively move moisture outward, preventing condensation and dampness from building up within wood structures and thus decreasing risk of rot, mold, and other damages caused by excessive moisture during construction and beyond, making it an excellent solution for CLT projects. For more information about moisture mitigation benefits check out FPInnovations’s N8E InfoNote which includes key planning strategies and recommendations to manage on-site moisture control of mass timber projects from construction through occupancy.
Protect from the Elements
Timber is an attractive material and it can be used in numerous ways to build both functional and visually appealing structures. However, timber must be protected from its environment to avoid damage and deterioration; moisture, sunlight, wind and pests are among its many enemies that could easily wreak havoc with it.
One of the key steps for protecting timber is proper storage. This involves keeping it indoors on flat and raised surfaces, covering it with a waterproof tarp when rain or snow fall occurs, and ensuring there is adequate air circulation.
Use oil-based finishes that bring out its natural beauty while offering protection from water damage to prolong timber’s use and extend its life span. Reapply regularly, selecting depending on its intended use and environmental conditions; label your timber so those handling it know its type and storage period to minimize mishandling risks and unnecessary delays during construction projects.
Protect from the Weather
Timber frame construction offers unparalleled strength and beauty, but these natural materials still need protection from weathering to preserve its integrity for decades to come. There are several best practices that can help preserve your building for many years ahead.
At the time of assembly, one of the most crucial steps is applying a high-grade exterior-rated stain or polyurethane stain or polyurethane stain to your heavy timber structure. This helps keep moisture at bay while improving its look over time – it should be reapplied every 2-3 years for best results.
Outdoor timbers’ lifespan depends on their initial exposure to moisture. Moisture exposure can damage wood by causing it to expand and contract, creating stresses that lead to checking (the opening of fissures on its surface) and warping.
To best address this issue, it is wise to store timbers on a level surface away from ground contact and protected with an weather-protective cover.
Protect from Pests
Timber can be vulnerable to certain pests that can wreak havoc, such as termites, Queensland pine borer and anobium borer – among the most damaging being termites and Queensland pine borer – which are capable of eating away at wood in your home and leading to structural issues.
To protect your timber construction from pests, it’s essential that it is regularly inspected for signs of infestation or damage, ventilate the area to reduce moisture build-up, and have any damp patches within walls fixed immediately.
For optimal protection of timber structures, apply a wood preservative. This helps safeguard it against fungal growth and certain pests; amongst the available options is borate treatment which works by slowly releasing borate into the wood to provide termiticidal benefits; glycol-treated borates soak deeper than standard ones into heavy timber buildings like log cabins – perfect for heavy timber buildings such as log cabins. You can apply your preservative either spraying or brushing it on; additionally physical barriers like stainless steel mesh can help further safeguarding timber frame construction against potential threats like termiticide release from within borate treatment; there are various available options but borate treatment is by far superior.
Protect from Damage
Damage to timber structures can range from minor discoloration and disintegration, through to rot and insect infestations, so it is crucial that they are regularly checked for signs of wear-and-tear, so any issues can be addressed as quickly as possible.
Protection is also key when it comes to timber preservation, so use of water-based wood preservatives like tung or linseed oil is highly recommended to extend its life and ensure maximum value from each plank. Applications should take place every two months for maximum effect.
Protecting timber against pests, particularly termites, is of utmost importance. Termites are one of the primary causes of damage to wooden structures and if left untreated can result in significant structural rot and destruction. To reduce your risk, ensure there are no combustible voids in walls and roof spaces, repair any leaky pipes quickly, and treat water damaged areas quickly with appropriate treatments such as Roxil Wood Protection Cream which acts as an effective barrier over time against termites.