Inspiration and Good Looks for Your Following Home Project

If you are searching in order to upgrade your home’s exterior, including things like American hardwoods in the mix. New, environmentally friendly treatment approaches now make hardwood an excellent and great looking material option for outdoor living areas.

“American hardwoods within outdoor applications used to be taboo,” states Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center. “These days, restraints and concerns are distant memories, and hardwoods are confidently being set up outdoors as siding, decking, fences – you name it – thanks to non-chemical heat treatments which boost the dimensional firmness and sturdiness of this wonderful product.”

  • A recipe for accomplishment

Thermal modification is the non-toxic procedure that basically “cooks” wood in heat. When it’s in the method, oxygen is taken away from the oven in order to prevent the wood from burning. The high heat – in excess of 400 F – produces a naturally durable wood which is permanently resistant against water, insects and decomposition.

Bob Miller, director of sales and marketing intelligence at Frank Miller Lumber Company, states that because the course of treatment significantly reduces modified wood’s moisture content and also limits its capacity to absorb moisture, products are more dimensionally steady – which makes them less prone to cupping, warping, expansion, and contraction with changes in humidity.

“The process also eradicates organic compounds from wood’s cells, eradicating a food source for insects and fungi,” Miller adds. “Simply put, thermally modified wood is known as a natural and healthy replacement for chemically preserved, pressure-treated wood. And it is reasonably priced, too.”

  • At home in the outside

Successfully used within Europe since 1980’s, thermally modified wood has been slow to migrate to America. But, Scott Seyler, who deals with export sales at Northland Forest Products, states that the sturdiness and dimensional strength of thermally modified hardwoods are major advantages that interest property owners who are checking out outdoor home-improvement projects.

“With all that thermally modified wood offers, it is swiftly becoming trendy for siding, decking, trim, as well as flooring,” Seyler explains. “Depending on the particular treatment process, locally sourced ash, poplar, maple, and also other hardwoods are performing just as well, if not much better than cedar, popular imported species, and composite materials.”

  • Finishing it off

During the entire thermal modification process, a rich chocolate color results, highlighting the wood’s natural beauty and also providing a lavish look. But like any other wood, over time, if it is not sealed, thermally modified hardwood will naturally weather to a shade of gray due to exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

“Most homeowners like the rich, dark color of the modified wood, and decide not to apply a stain or to cover the grain pattern with paint,” says Hal Mitchell, vice president of domestic sales at Atlanta Hardwood Corporation. “We do, however, endorse applying a UV-inhibitor sealant to all sides and ends of the wood, to protect its shade and avoid graying.” He added that, “Since thermally modified hardwood is resistant to water, water-based finishes may not perform well. We’ve discovered that oil-based sealants and finishes work best.

“I have a screened-in porch with tongue-and-groove flooring manufactured from thermally modified sweet gum,” Mitchell claims. “It looks great and is performing well because it does not cup from exposure to the elements. The material is perfect for outside applications if closed properly. No other wood can do that based on my experience.”

  • In search of ideas?

Consider adding timeless beauty to your home’s exterior with thermally modified American hardwoods. For more info visit the American Hardwood Information Center at for design ideas and inspiration.


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