One of the many benefits of incorporating timber is the distinctiveness that it imparts to any project. With its unmatched structural integrity and aesthetic appeal, timber adds a timeless look that cannot be replicated. The richness and finesse of timber offer wide possibilities to enrich a space in the most beautiful way. With its unpredictable grain and colour variation, timber has emerged to become an important segment of any design and appeals even to the most discerning client.
However, timber undergoes a change over time. The most visible change is in its colour which is particularly true for timber used for external applications. This makes it essential for both specifiers and clients to have an understanding of the transformation that timber goes through, especially in terms of maintenance.
Low Maintenance Timber
Concerned about the maintenance that might be involved when using timber?
While timber is known for its admirable properties, it is not without challenges. The upkeep required by timber often becomes a determining factor in the extent to which timber will be used in a project. The maintenance required varies widely and is influenced by a number of factors like the climate, coating and exposure to UV rays. While in certain cases, timber might require a recoating every 6 months, in other cases the need for maintenance may be minimal. When timber is used for applications like soffits or undercover, the maintenance required is very less. As there is no exposure to UV radiation and rain, there is no need to re-coat timber.Another way to avoid the maintenance involved is by allowing timber to weather. This would result in the timber requiring very minimal maintenance even when used for external applications. However, it is essential here to understand how timber will look after it has weathered since it involves a drastic fading of the colour. When correctly detailed, weathered timber looks beautiful and can be used for various applications.
Reasons Why Timber Turns Grey
When timber is exposed to external elements, it loses its natural colour. This results from the chemical changes that occur within it. Every timber species is known for its unique colour. It results from a component called lignins that work as a glue and holds the timber fibres together. Timber also contains water-soluble extractives called tannins.
After being exposed to UV light, there is a breakdown of lignins into simple sugars. The tannins also oxidise leading to a change in the colour of the timber. Timber might also release tannins due to rain. This often results in the timber leaching surfaces nearby.
Ensuring A Consistency in Colour
As mentioned earlier, the predominant factor determining the colour change of timber is UV rays. Different sections of a building receive a differing amount of UV at various times of the day. So, based on the amount of exposure, the timber may change colour, making it difficult to maintain a consistent look.
Benefits of Allowing Timber to Weather
The aesthetic appeal of weathered timber is one-of-a-kind and growing in popularity. This is especially true for areas that have an aged appearance as the timber seamlessly merges into the look. There is no doubt about the fact that a natural timber façade looks incredible, but the grey look also has its benefits.
The Natural Organic Look
For coastal areas and suburban environment, the weathered look effortlessly blends into that of the surroundings. The natural and distinct aesthetics can even make a structure have an edge in terms of appeal. As the timber ages, it evolves and adds character to any project. The grain variation leads to differences even within the greyed off palette imparting any structure with an admirable touch of uniqueness.
If done correctly, the natural weathering process of timber makes it possible to significantly reduce the maintenance required. Not only does this save time and money, but also influences the overall look of the project. The re-coating and cleaning required can be reduced by allowing the timber to grey off.
Planning to use timber for your next project?
At Eco Timber Group, we bring you a diverse range of Australian recycled timber products to enrich your project with a beauty like none other. Our selection of recycled timber offers an eco-friendly option and enables you to add an extraordinary finish to structures. To know more, feel free to reach out to us. We will be happy to help you.