Wood, as a construction material, brings some romance of the countryside. It reminds you of log cabins, old prairie homes, and whimsical settings that are difficult to find in bustling metropolises. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, wood cost less compared to a concrete and steel structure.
However, you might be hesitant using this material, questioning its durability and even the environmental impact of the wood industry. First, to dispel guilt over using up trees in your construction, understand that not all logging activities are harmful to the environment.
Incredibly, there is an advantage in logging some trees in countries where forests could be privately owned. Obviously, these are not rainforests. To save these private forests, it is logical that owners should get some profit out of them as a forest area so that they don’t prefer to use it for industrial purposes. This is not to say that logging should be done on a large scale. In this case, you have to be discriminating in selecting your wood supply. There are forest owners who only occasionally cut down trees and regrow them for sustainability.
Now going to the issue of durability, wood can last for centuries. You only need to look at the beautifully carved antiques and turn-of-century homes to ascertain this. However, they must be of good quality and were treated to the appropriate processes to strengthen them.
There is no need to petrify your wood. You only need to go through meticulous care procedures. Also, you need to schedule termite control services at least once in a decade, with the inspection done at least once a year.
Drying the Lumber
Make sure that the wood you use has been properly dried. Having too much moisture in it would make it susceptible to the temperatures. As it is, matter contracts and expands depending on the temperature and moisture present will greatly affect your material.
Air drying is the recommended method of drying wood. However, it takes time as the advised ratio is one year per inch of wood thickness. A faster way is kiln drying, but if not properly done, it could severely affect the quality of the wood. There is, for example, the condition called ‘case-hardening’ where the outer layer dries faster than the rest so that the shrinking and stretching of the lumber is not uniform. In extreme cases, this could lead to honeycombing, which are internal cracks in the wood not easily detectable on the surface of thick lumber.
Staining and Sealing
Wood needs to be protected from water and insects. The fastest way to do it is simply coating the wood with paint or varnish. But these coats could only last for a few years. The complete care process should include staining and sealing.
Wood staining permeates the wood, unlike paint, which will only cover the surface. Staining doesn’t have to be redone periodically, like applying paint. There are oil-based stains and water-based stains. Choosing one or the other would not greatly affect the quality of your wood, but rather the amount of time and effort you put into the process. For example, water-based stains would dry faster than oil-based stains. But oil-based stains would lessen the need for sanding your lumber again.
Sealer is applied after staining. Some experts also recommend applying a sealer after every coat of paint to make it even more durable. Make sure, though, that all your materials are compatible with each other. For example, there are specific sealers compatible with a polyurethane finish.
Selecting the Paint
Paint adds another layer of protection to your wood. You can choose the kind of finish you want, ranging from high gloss to matte. Gloss would mean high sheen. Below it would be the satin finish, which is more subtle, the eggshell with a low sheen, and finally matte or muted. In each finish, there are again different options from Solo to Non-drip, to Quick dry. You might want to consult with your contractors or paint suppliers to understand your options better.
Using wood as a construction material is advantageous. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, it is also versatile and easy to use. There are also different kinds of wood, which come in the market as raw lumber to pre-fabricated sheets. This gives you more options in your building design. Wood also insulates your structure better than other building materials.
As with anything beautiful, wood could last for as long as you can take care of it. Having a wooden home will need you to spend more time and care on it initially, but its beauty and endurance would compensate you in several years to come.