Timber disadvantages become advantages

Benefits of using timber in construction

Timber is a cost efficient building material which has many great characteristics for outdoor structures and products. It is often chosen due to its good lasting performance and natural appearance, depending on timber type/grade.

However, the natural characteristics of most timbers have some related disadvantages, these disadvantages can be easily turned into advantages with today’s modern remedies that have turned timber into a highly requested material for outdoor structures and products.

We have listed the advantages and disadvantages of using timber for outdoor structures, then we continue to explain how the disadvantages can be turned around giving timber an advantage over many other materials for building good value, long lasting structures.

Advantages:

  • It is readily available.

    Timber is a natural material used in many forms for building and construction. It is readily available, and can be easily sourced from many building material suppliers all over Australia.

  • It is safe.

    Since it comes from a natural source, timber is non-toxic. It is safe to handle and even as it ages, it will not cause damage to the environment. It is safe to reuse or recycle and maximises Green Star Energy rating and carbon credits. Most timbers these days are endorsed or sustainably harvested to return a great life cycle.

  • It is easy to work.

    Due to its lightness, density and grain structure, and the fact we have been using timber in buildings from the early ages we have highly developed machinery to cut, drill and prepare timber to the required size and shape. Even hardwood timbers are relatively easy to work with compared to other building materials such as steel.

  • It is cost effective.

    Timber is the cost effective alternative to many other materials, if you consider the life cycle of timber it has less steps to process than many other building materials, therefore less to produce.

  • It is versatile and visually appealing.

    As timber comes in many different grades and species this gives timber a huge reach across many different uses and appeals. Structural and visual grade timbers are often chosen for outdoor structures.

  • It is naturally anti-corrosive.

    Unlike steel and other highly used building materials timber does not corrode in salt air or heavy industrial environments.

Disadvantages:

  • As timber is natural and cellular it moves with changes in climatic conditions. Timber shrinks, swells, twists, cracks and bends over time and different climatic conditions.
  • Most timbers are prone to pest, rot, mold and fungi attacks, some are far better than others but they both require a minimum of LOSP or ACQ treatments for outdoor structures.
  • Timbers tend to silver or look old if left natural and unpainted.
  • Timber maintenance can seem to be higher than other building materials.

So given the advantages and disadvantages, how do we turn these disadvantages in our favor for long lasting performing structures? The answer is twofold, ensure your using select visual grade timbers and that you treat your timber with an easy to maintain wood treatment like Cutek Extreme.

  • Using a select grade of timber ensures you have the straightest, most consistent piece of timber available. This with applying Cutek Extreme before and during the life of your structure will massively reduce the natural occurrence of splitting, cracking, warping and cupping – Advantage timber!
  • Ensuring the select grade of timber has been ACQ or LOSP treated is paramount, again when you couple this with Cutek Extreme you get the perfect timber treated perfectly which gives you the perfect solution – Advantage timber!
  • Cutek has a choice of colour tones to reduce silvering over time, it’s easy to reapply to enhance the colour again – Advantage timber!
  • Timber maintenance can be high, but selecting a good quality timber from the start and applying the right treatments will have your maintenance team clicking their heels! Did you know that because Cutek Extreme is oil based it can be easily reapplied with a rag or brush right over the existing coating…no sanding or cleaning with nasty cleaners required – Advantage timber!

Selecting the right timber whether it is a softwood pine or hardwood it’s important to ensure you get select visual grade. Ensure that all hardwood is treated with ACQ to help protect the timber from insect infestation, rot, warping and splitting then further prevent this with a treatment (such as Cutek Extreme) to ensure your ongoing costs are minimised. With softwoods, ensure it has been LOSP treated in clear (no colour) as it will change the look of the timber and any coasting, stain or further treatment colour. Then treat the timber with an oil base preservative that is highly recommended by longevity in the industry – nothing tells you quick than the local industry if a product will stand the test of time.

If you require any further help or information regarding wht timber to select, or treatment to supply on timber give your local representative a call or visit our website FAQ’s for more information. Don’t forget to download our timber colour chart to see how your timber will look when its finished!

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