Wood can be a great addition to any interior or exterior when renovating or upgrading your home, bringing a warm and bespoke feel. However, the UK’s climate, especially during the wetter months, can make wood exteriors hard to maintain.
Bricks and mortar are the mainstays of UK house building. They cope reasonably well with driving rain, gusting winds and freezing temperatures, which unfortunately we’re all so used to. Wood, albeit attractive, natural and environmentally friendly, has for a long time been considered an inferior material, prone to shrinking, warping and rotting. However, things are changing. Here is why you should choose wood for your home’s exterior.
See also: Facade Rejuvenation
After 90 years of research in wood science, the process of transforming softwoods into products that mirror the resilience of tropical hardwoods has recently become widely available. This process is known as acetylation. Acetylation alters the wood’s chemical structure, making it practically impermeable to water and therefore not vulnerable to swelling or shrinkage.
Acetylated wood has many benefits such as better stability and decay resistance. It also won’t swell or shrink with seasonal changes such as damp or wet weather, which means it’s a great choice for exterior use. The hardwearing nature of acetylated wood means that homeowners can be worry-free when it comes to the loss of heat and cold drafts in their rooms, which is a common problem with other timbers.
When Gordon Aitken, first considered cladding his family home in 2006, he longed for a natural wood finish on his home’s exterior but imagined that he’d be forever maintaining, coating and touching up the façade of his house near Glenrothes in Scotland.
‘I considered many options including pre-painted / wood grain effect fibre-cement boards, heat treated wood, siberian larch and western red cedar. However, I was impressed with the benefits of Accoya®, including its impressive 60 year life (BRE) and the significant reduction in timber shrinkage and expansion,’ said Mr Aitken.
10 years later Gordon hasn’t once had to scale a ladder or coat his home’s cladding with tins of lacquer.
Gordon’s home was the world’s first ever property to be clad with Accoya—a virtually rot proof, non-toxic and highly durable natural wood product with a 50 year above ground guarantee. Finished 10 years ago, this use of Accoya has changed the perception of how wood can be used for residential projects.
Accoya wood is the result of over 80 years of research and development. Combining the proven modification technique of acetylation with cutting-edge technology, this high performance wood is created for demanding outdoor applications; from windows to doors, decking to cladding, bridges to boats.
As well as an aesthetically pleasing look it has the added benefit of being treated to make it extra-hardwearing, using a non-toxic formula that creates a wood product which is longer-lasting. Accoya comes with a 50-year guarantee, plus, it’s also sourced from sustainable forests making it an environmentally friendly product. It has been repeatedly assessed, with many tests conducted in real-world conditions over many years to showcase how this exterior wood product works within different conditions.
Accoya’s sister product, Medite® Tricoya® Extreme, made from the same process is an extremely durable wood-based panel, offering the design flexibility of a medium-density fibreboard (MDF) with the resilience of hardwood. It has been described by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) as ‘absolutely unique’ and one of the greatest advances in board products in the last 10 years.
Both products have won a host of awards from environmental bodies around the world, demonstrating the products’ commitment to sustainable building and design.
Wood’s popularity amongst homeowners is certainly on the up, and with products such as Accoya and Medite Tricoya Extreme making real waves; it seems logical that this upward trend is here to stay.
Our thanks to Accsys Technologies PLC and Medite Europe DAC for their assistance in this article. Accsys Technologies PLC is a chemical technology group focused on the production and licensing of acetylated wood with products such as Accoya® and Medite Europe DAC manufacture MEDITE® TRICOYA® EXTREME under license to Accsys.
Choosing wood for your home’s exterior is a great way to add a modern feel to your home, read more on Celebrity Angels on the best wood furnishings for your home.