Specifying timber exposed to weathering

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Timber has been used for construction throughout history and the performance of timber in outdoor environments is well understood. It has long been known that it is possible to extend the useful life of timber through good building/construction design and by profiling wood components to shed water and dry down quickly.

 

One of the reasons for selecting timber is its aesthetic appeal. As a natural material timber has characteristics that vary from piece to piece; this means that no two pieces are exactly the same (ie knots, grain and colour differences), which adds to its appeal.

 

When uncoated timber is exposed out of doors its colour changes over time as part of a process termed 'weathering'.

 

This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) explains the causes of weathering and its significance to timber performance. This is an overview of the subject with signposts to more detailed sources that are listed at the end.

 

Contents:

  • What is weathering?
  • The influence of moisture content on weathering
  • Colour change
  • Rate of wood surface removal
  • Prevention of weathering by coating
  • Effects of extractives in contact with other materials during the
    weathering process
  • Removal of extractive stains on other materials
  • Removal of staining resulting from wood–metal interactions
  • Additional features often associated with weathering

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