Environmentally friendly treatment methods are making hardwood an excellent material for outdoor applications. And now ash, poplar, maple, and other thermally modified hardwoods are performing just as well, if not better than cedar, popular imported species, and composite materials for siding, decking, trim and flooring.
Successfully used in Europe since the 1980s, thermal modification is a non-toxic process that simply “cooks” wood in heat. During the process, oxygen is removed from the oven to prevent the wood from burning, and very high heat—in excess of 400 degrees Fahrenheit— drastically reduces the wood’s moisture content and limits its ability to absorb moisture. What results?
- A naturally durable wood that is permanently resistant to water, insects, and decay.
- Products that are more dimensionally stable—making them less prone to cupping, warping, expansion, and contraction with changes in humidity.
Through the thermal modification process, a rich chocolate color results, highlighting the wood’s natural beauty and providing a luxurious look. But like any other wood, if not sealed, exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays will cause the modified hardwood to weather to a shade of gray. To prevent graying, a UV-inhibitor should be applied. And because the product is resistant to water, oil-based sealants and finishes work best.
Thermally modified hardwood is a natural and healthy alternative to chemically preserved, pressure-treated wood. Visit www.HardwoodInfo.com to learn more.