Thermally Modified Timber for Designing Indoor and Outdoor Spaces
Timber, harvested and prepared for construction, is a durable material known for its strength and versatility. It serves as an architectural element in structural systems, framing, cladding, decking, and flooring. Although it possesses a warm and natural character that creates an aesthetic appeal, the inherent humidity of timber can cause wood deformation, leading to bending, mold, and rot once the moisture content reaches 23%. However, with the development of new products and production techniques, Thermowood –also known as Thermally Modified Timber– has emerged as a method for creating natural, chemical-free solutions made from certified raw materials.
By reducing moisture content, it does not rot or mold, it experiences no longitudinal shrinking, and ensures high dimensional stability, resulting in a minimum biological life span of 25 years. After analyzing how to apply these solutions in architecture and design, we will showcase indoor and outdoor spaces featuring Tantimber’s Thermowood products.
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How does Thermowood work?
The thermal modification method results in a product that minimizes wood deformation, making it extremely durable regardless of the environment in which it is applied. This manufacturing process is suitable for both hardwoods and softwoods, and it is always optimized depending on the wood species that is used as the raw material. It consists of three phases: first, a high-temperature drying process to decrease the moisture content to zero; second, the actual thermal modification procedure; and lastly, a cooling/conditioning phase. After this process, the moisture content of Thermowood solutions is 4-7%. During the thermal modification, only high heat and steam are used, resulting in a non-toxic, recyclable, ecological, and natural process. After undergoing this process, timber can be adapted and applied to different types of architectural products.
Even though thermal modification processes allow for durability and resistance to external elements such as fungi, insects, and weather, regular maintenance is still required. Annual inspections are recommended to asses its condition, including neutralization and the application of UV-protective finishes to prevent material discoloration. Regular maintenance also involves cleaning and applying surface oil treatments to prevent chips or cracks and preserve the wood’s natural color.
Thermowood for architectural applications
Tantimber combines natural materials with a chemical-free manufacturing process, from the original raw wood to the finished solution. By preserving the natural characteristics of wood and improving its durability, stability, and resistance to humidity, Thermowood processes offer versatile solutions for both indoor and outdoor construction applications.
Incorporating natural wood processes for durable and aesthetic indoor spaces
Thermowood utilizes natural processes to create architectural solutions that enhance the quality of life of its inhabitants. Besides being highly durable, Tantimber’s engineered flooring comes in a range of colors and designs. After undergoing the thermal modification process, raw oak materials sourced from Croatia are transformed into modern building materials with a high level of strength and durability. These flooring solutions are suitable for various applications, including installations over wood subflooring, concrete slabs, and even those with underfloor heating. It can be customized to fit different designs –including chevron and herringbone patterns– with surface treatments such as lacquered, oiled, brushed, and hand-scraped finishes. Also, Thermowood processes enable reduced shrinkage and swelling compared to standard timber, making it less prone to developing gaps commonly seen in wooden floors due to changes in humidity.
Creating attractive outdoor spaces with sustainable strategies
Designing outdoor spaces is a crucial aspect of some architectural projects, as they serve as gathering places for inhabitants. To achieve durable spaces with minimal maintenance, Thermowood makes use of sustainable materials and strategies. As thermal modification involves a natural process, the installation of these renewable solutions ensures that no harmful chemicals are released into their surroundings.
Thermally modified wood conveys numerous benefits for outdoor spaces, including resistance to warping, expansion, contraction, and damage from temperature and humidity variations. Moreover, its low moisture content prevents the presence of organisms. These qualities make it suitable for outdoor applications such as decking, siding, and garden constructions.
These materials come in a wide range of sizes and cross-section profiles, making them adaptable to various building applications and architectural styles. Tantimber’s decking, made from ash, pine, and iroko woods, provides long-lasting, high-performance, and aesthetically pleasing solutions for terraces, gardens, walkways, and landscaping.
Because of their thermal insulation properties, thermally modified claddings are highly durable in extreme weather conditions. As for their aesthetic purposes, they can be used as primary or complementary covers for different architectural applications. These claddings can be customized with diverse textures and colors, as well as being adapted to horizontal and vertical applications. Their unique profiles are designed to meet the thickness requirements of each project.
Find more information about these and other Thermowood applied solutions in our product catalog.