Over 5000 kinds of wood in the world offer the opportunity for creating a wide range of renewable and ecological construction material with great thermal, electrical, mechanical properties.
Wood is one of the most common construction materials, which has proven its reliability in multiple applications. Heat conductivity, durability, high strength, small bulk density, acoustical, mechanical and aesthetic properties make wooden building material suitable for different needs. Production and use of wooden construction materials have a minimal environmental effect. With sustainable forest management wood is a great solution for ecological construction.
Wood is a universal construction material with diverse applications making it possible to build a modern comfortable house with only wooden products. Peculiar aesthetic pleasure comes from wooden items in the building, each with the individual color and design, even with the smell creating a special atmosphere in the house. The material has great thermal, acoustic, electrical, and mechanical properties. The wooden building materials have proven to have the lowest environmental impact requiring little energy to be produced, being recyclable, coming from a renewable resource, and emitting minimum pollution to the atmosphere. Of course, some disadvantages and peculiarities of using wood in construction have to be considered and mitigated by using innovative techniques and treatment.
Reasons and hazards of wood deterioration:
Exposure to sunlight resulting in photodegradation and surface erosion,
Influence of the heat and moisture leading to wood splitting, separation of glue bonds, shrinkage, swelling, and decay,
Insects attack and fungi decay weakening the wood’s structural properties,
Organic compounds easily compound with oxygen and catch fire.
Ways to mitigate the problems with wood materials in construction:
Wood selection with the suitable qualities and depending on the climate conditions.
Coating reduces the risks of surface cracking from shrinking and swelling, protects against ultraviolet rays, and the development of decay and mold. The damaged coating may increase the decay possibility.
Drying. Soaking wood in water results in deoxygenation. The wood then needs to be dried out to prevent fungi growth.
Wood preservatives prevent from decaying, although some of them might be harmful to health.
Remedial treatment of wood in construction should be done periodically especially to the window and door frames.
Fire retardants turn wood into non-combustible material, although they only minimize the flammability and reduce the speed of combustion.
Types of wood used for construction
Hardwood trees have reproduction from seeds with a cover:
Ash is peculiar in the ability to bend into different shapes avoiding breakages;
Balsa is light and durable wood used for refined decoration;
Birch is distinguished with the recognizable thin bark, frequently used for kitchen cabinets;
Cherry tree is a source of the redwood used in furniture manufacturing;
Chestnut tree now requires careful management to be able to grow more mature trees;
Elm is common for flooring, veneer, mining timbers;
Oak is known for its durability and resistance to insect damage;
Walnut is a quite easy wood to work with and a popular choice for furniture and veneers for facades.
Softwood trees have reproduction from uncovered seeds:
Cedar is resistant to decay option, which is great for closets and wall coverings;
Cypress does not rot in wet conditions being excellent for outdoor construction materials;
Fir is frequently used for lumber, plywood, fencing, and posts;
Pine is applied in a wide range of construction products, furniture, and decoration;
Spruce is an accessible construction wood common for indoor construction and furniture.
The decision of using softwood, hardwood, or wood veneer depends not only on personal taste but also on the area, climate, and constructional requirements. Definitely, a great variety of wooden building materials can satisfy any demand.