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Preserving Timber: Effective Techniques for Protecting Wood in Sydney's Climate

Once you’ve got your Dream Wood - Look After it!


Preservation of timber is vital because if it becomes damaged, it will result in damaged timber and wooden structures in Australia's harsh climate.


Wood planks

Preservation of timber is challenging in such an environment with its peculiar weather patterns and severe climate oscillations. Rot, decay, insect attack, etc., can cause serious structural damage to unprotected timber structures in Australia, with dangerous consequences for the occupants and expensive repair bills.


Therefore, proper timber preservation methods are required to reduce weathering effects on wooden structures and lengthen service life.


The article explains why people living in Sydney should protect wood daily despite different techniques that may be applied on an industrial scale.



The importance of wood protection in Sydney’s climate.


The process involves wood preservation against different causes like fungi, insects, marine borers, weathering, UV radiation, moisture or abrading effect.


Damaged wood

Wood protection is important for several reasons, such as:


Wood durability and wood preservatives - The durability, stability and overall performance of wood, as well as wood products, could be improved when the wood is protected against environmental conditions. 


This approach would also decrease the need for maintenance and substitutes. This would prove cost-saving, timely, and resource-based, boosting the price and satisfaction level for wood use.


Protected hard wood flooring

Protecting the natural looks and appearance of wood. The protection of wood may enhance or keep up the appearance and colours of the wood and its products, as well as minimise the occurrence of fading, cracking, warping, or staining of that particular wood. This increases beautification, and wood quality enhances indoor comfort.


Limiting the environmental damage of wood utilisation. Wood protection may, therefore, lower the demand for wood and wood products, resulting in less stress on forests and biodiversity. 


Wood protection can also minimise the emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants from wood decay and combustion and increase the potential for carbon sequestration in wood and wood products.



What you can do Everyday to Enhance your Woods Lifespan


Keep the wood clean - Do not dirt the wood – Dirt can get on the wood surface, combined with dust or other impurities; as a result, they will gradually disintegrate over long years. It thus calls for maintaining the wood free from dust to be wiped with a damp cloth as often as possible.


Putting on a coat – If you treat the wood with a protective coat, this seals it off and prevents water from coming into contact with its surface. These come in different forms, such as varnishing, painting, and sealing.


Utilising wood preservatives – Several preservative formulas are available on the market for use on timber. These wood preservatives pass through wooden fibres and stop fungi, termites, and other wood-eating insects from reaching into the wood.


Proper storage of wood – Store wood in a dry place with adequate ventilation. In damp or humid areas, moisture tends to build up, which can lead to wood rot and pestering by wood-eating animals.


These simple measures will help us preserve our wooden materials so that they can last for a long time.



Using wood preservatives


Chemicals that prevent, check the progress, or retard the degradation or rot in wooden poles, regardless of its causes by termites and other agents, are referred to as wood preservatives. Dipping, brushing, spraying, and pressure treating are available wood preservative applications.


Examples of wood preservatives include water-borne, oil-borne, and organic solvent-borne, among others. Preservatives should be safe, affordable, effective and permanent, not corroding metals or staining wooden parts of the building’s components.



Using wood modification systems


Modification of wood is a set of methods that affect the properties of wood in terms of resistance, strength and stability.


Various types of wood modification systems have been developed. Those include chemical modification, thermal modification and impregnation. The other type of modification involves reacting wood with chemicals such as acetylation, furfurylation, and silane treatment.


Thermal modification


This process includes heat treatment in the absence/presence of oxygen, like torrefaction, carbonisation and thermowood. 


The process known as impregnation modification is a method whereby these materials are impregnated into wood.



Using wood coatings


Wood coatings serve to enhance aesthetics, durability, wear and tear resistivity, weather, and UV resilience in wood.


Wood coatings can be classified into two categories: in the case of film-forming or non-film-forming.


These types of film-forming coatings create a seamless and consistent covering of the wood surface, including paint, varnish, lacquer, and staining.


Examples of non-film-forming coatings include oils, waxes, and water repellents because they penetrate the wood pores yet do not become visible.



New technologies to aid in the effort to save timber.


Nanotechnology


Nanotechnology is about dealing with materials on a scale ranging between 1-100 nm to manufacture new and quality products with better properties and functionality.


Nanotechnology is applicable in wood protection through nano-preservatives, nanocoatings, nanocomposites, and nanosensors.


Wood preservation is also possible through this method as it is possible to significantly increase the shelf life of a product, enhance its stability, improve the system's efficiency, and mitigate the environmental impact often associated with wood conservation.



Biobased wood preservatives


Bio-based wood preservatives are chemical compounds found in nature derived from plants, animals, or microbes that inhibit or reduce rot-decay effects on wood inflicted by boring insects, mould, and marine-boring organisms.


Wood can be bio-preserved through dippers, brushers, sprays, or pressures. Examples of some of these biobased wood preservatives include essential oils, tannins, chitosan and biochar.



Summary


Everyone from industrial construction companies to every carpenter in Sydney should try their best to extend the life of the wood we use daily in our construction activity. We can say with confidence that new housing built from sustainable timber using new technology and compositions and in accordance with many new laws will be coming. So, while the remaining timber should be harvested promptly and put to proper use, what is left of our timber should be conserved to serve many more generations, provided that it is managed properly.

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