Exploring the benefits of thermally modified timber

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Thermally modified timber offers a sustainable and innovative approach to enhancing timber performance through a chemical-free heating process. Our range of modified timber cladding, which includes Abodo® Vulcan Vertical Grain, Abodo® Vulcan Flatsawn, Thermopine® and the Lunawood Collection, offers a cladding solution suitable for a variety of uses. In this blog, we take an in-depth look into thermally modified timber, explore its benefits and offer insights into its versatile applications.

What is thermally modified timber?

Thermally modified timber is a natural timber that has undergone a specialised treatment process involving high temperatures and steam in the absence of oxygen. The process alters the wood’s chemical and physical properties, resulting in enhanced durability, stability, and resistance to decay. It’s also environmentally friendly, due to the absence of harmful chemicals, making it a sustainable choice. When discussing modified timbers, it’s important to note that other processes exist beyond heat treatment. For instance, Accoya® is produced using a non-toxic acetylation process, which essentially ‘pickles’ the wood, reducing how much water the cells in the wood can absorb, by increasing the naturally-occuring acetyl content.

Dimensional stability

A key benefit of thermally modified timber is that it offers enhanced dimensional stability compared to other non-modified species. This stability is achieved through the modification process, which reduces moisture content, resulting in minimal movement and greatly reducing the risk of warping or deformation. The dimensional movement of Thermopine® for example, is reduced by up to 50% after treatment. This inherent stability allows structures built with thermally modified timber to maintain their shape and integrity over time, ensuring long-lasting performance with minimal maintenance requirements.

Whether used for decking, exterior or interior cladding, thermally modified timber provides a reliable solution for architects and homeowners seeking enduring stability in their projects.

Versatile applications

Thermally modified timber offers a myriad of possibilities making it a viable choice for a wide scope of projects. Thanks to the previously mentioned enhanced dimensional stability, each of these species can be precisely machined into complex profiles, such as the RW119 profile. Available in Abodo® Vulcan Flatsawn and Thermopine® thermally modified timbers. This particular profile, features a secret fix tounge-and-groove design, which offers a sleek, modern aesthetic that is highly sought after by architects, designers, and homeowners alike. For those who like the look of narrow boards, but want to speed up installation, Lunawood Collection’s Luna Triple or Luna Trio are excellent options. Both profiles have two deep grooves, which give the impression of narrow battens, while being much quicker to install. Both these profiles can be used as exterior cladding or internally to create a contemporary feature wall.

Superior coating performance

If you choose to have your cladding painted, we highly recommend selecting a modified timber like Thermopine® as the enhanced stability of this product mean paint coatings can last up to three times longer than on unmodified timbers. The absence of resin pockets further make Thermopine® ideal for coating, particularly in dark colours. We recommend a textured surface finish for optimal coating performance. Thermopine® is available in a wire brushed finish which accentuates the figuring, or Microtex® a fibrous finish specially designed to improve coating performance. Thermopine®, along with Abodo® are also excellent substrates for SiOO:X, a silicate coating, which provides a weathered look without the wait, as well as Woca oil, a cutting-edge water based translucent coating.

Low maintenance requirements

All timber cladding requires some level of maintenance. This can range from periodic cleaning to more intensive procedures like sanding and refinishing. The extent of maintenance needed varies by project and owner preference. Thermal modification, however, significantly reduces wood moisture, enhancing resistance to warping, cracking, and decay. Consequently, thermally modified timber requires less upkeep to preserve its appearance and structural integrity over time.

The benefits of thermally modified timber highlight that overall, it is a great choice for architects and homeowners alike who prioritise practical durability and aesthetic appeal.

Find out more about any of our thermally modified species by getting in touch with a member of our Sales team who will be happy to assist you.

Products Used

Thermally modified timber offers a sustainable and innovative approach to enhancing timber performance through a chemical-free heating process.

Lunawood Collection

Lunawood Collection is based on Scandinavian design combined with the best technical properties of thermally modified wood.
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Abodo® Vulcan Vertical Grain

Abodo Vulcan Vertical Grain is a premium exterior cladding option and sustainable alternative to old-growth Western Red Cedar.
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Abodo® Vulcan Flatsawn

Abodo Vulcan Flatsawn cladding stands out as a top-tier, clear-grade cladding option and an ideal alternative to short-in-supply Siberian Larch.
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Thermally modified Scandinavian Scots Pine, modified using only heat and steam.
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Thermally treated timber decking with enhanced stability & durability.
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