In the latest of its building defects series, Safeguard Europe looks at the problems that arise when outdoor wood gets wet.
Wood is a very versatile and attractive building material. It has a wide range of uses, especially in an outdoor environment, such as for fencing, decking, cladding, sheds, cabins and patio furniture. There are many advantages to using wood over other types of material. It can be cheap to buy, quick to cut or assemble and has a natural beauty to it. Compared to masonry and concrete, however, more thought often needs to be put into the maintenance of outdoor wooden structures.
Depending on the type of wood, moisture ingress can create big problems like mould/algae growth, warping, discolouration or rot. These problems are not just visual, over time they can cause physical damage that will shorten the useful lifetime of the wood. Brand new dense hardwood structures will be quite resistant to moisture ingress, but softwood and weathered hardwood will need to be protected in some way.
Clean, not green
Mould and algae growth on wood is unsightly, it can permanently stain structures and can be a slip hazard on horizontal surfaces. Cleaning mould and algae from wood is relatively simple. It is just important to use a biocidal but non-destructive cleaner, such as Roxil Wood & Patio Cleaner, to make sure that any biological growth is killed and removed. Acidic cleaners will damage the surface of the wood and make re-growth more likely
Moisture shall not pass
To minimise mould regrowth and to help stop warping, absorbent wood needs to be weatherproofed and protected from moisture ingress. It is best to use a deeply penetrating and long-lasting silicone emulsion cream that retains the wood’s natural appearance, such as Roxil Wood Protection Cream. When wood is exposed to the elements, surface moisture results in loss of tannins or colour pigment components. This causes uneven and unsightly discolouration.
The advantage of using a silicone cream emulsion over traditional liquid sealers on wood is that you can achieve a thicker and more even application in just a single coat. This means that a high-quality weatherproofing cream can give you 10+ years of effective lifetime compared to just 2 – 3 years with inferior sealers.
Stop the rot
Stopping moisture ingress on wooden structures will help to ensure that rot does not set in but if there is an existing rot infestation then the wood will either have to be removed and replaced or have an appropriate rot treatment applied. For full peace of mind, it is advised to use to use a pre-treatment, such as Roxil Wood Preserver, that can then be overcoated with an appropriate weatherproofer, such as Roxil Wood Protection Cream.