Low Maintenance Exterior Timbers
Many exterior woods are considered high maintenance but with clever choices, maintenance can be significantly minimised.
Timber choice, orientation, exposure and finish choices all affect the amount of maintenance required on timber cladding or wood decks.
Choosing stable timbers that have low shrinkage and expansion maximises coating life. In most instances the stability of the timber itself dictates the lifespan of the coating.
Modified woods tend to be more stable than traditional wood, and timbers with a vertical grain - otherwise known as “quartersawn” are excellent choices. Abodo’s Vulcan Cladding is an example of a Thermally modified wood cut with a vertical grain pattern.
Exposure and Orientation
Installation away from the prevailing weather and sunlight will markedly decrease re-coat periods, in the Southern Hemisphere this means avoiding north/northwesterly orientations, and in the Northern Hemisphere avoiding the south/south easterly orientations
Eaves and some protection from rain and sun will also reduce recoat periods for coatings.
The choice of timber finishes is critical to a low maintenance facade or deck. Where possible, a textured finish should be used - bandsawn, brushed or sanded timbers hold more coatings for longer. Paint systems should be robustly selected, with two coats of quality primer, and two coats of acrylic top coats - at minimum. The general rule with paint is “the greater the paint film build, the longer the life”.
Semi transparent coatings should be chosen with utmost care. In exposed areas penetrating coatings are preferable, as they will penetrate into the wood’s surface and slowly erode back, requiring a simple wash prior to recoat.
Light colours and shades of grey tend to weather better than darker shades. Abodo’s Protector Oil is a good example of a new generation, long life penetrating oil. Film forming type semi transparent coatings should be avoided for highly exposed applications.
Exciting new surface modification coatings have been developed to reduce the maintenance cycle for cladding and decking timbers. Silicate based surface coatings mineralise the surface of wood creating a long life silver shell that lasts two to three times longer than typical semi transparent coatings.
House and deck washing is one maintenance requirement that cannot be avoided no matter the building material. Regular washing will keep mould and grime at bay – maximising the life of your timber.
Many companies exist who can provide this service for a nominal fee - for those more DIY inclined, Abodo’s Rejuvenator is an excellent wash for exterior timbers.