As one of the most used natural resources in the world, timber offers unrivalled versatility in its uses. From homes and decking to woodworking and fencing, there’s little timber can’t do. If you regularly work with timber, you may have heard of timber seasoning before and wondered what it’s for and if it offers any benefits. In today’s article, we take a closer look at the advantages of timber seasoning and explain the different processes used to achieve the perfect moisture balance.
What is timber seasoning?
Timber seasoning is the process of reducing moisture content from timber. This can be achieved in a few different ways, with kiln and air seasoning being the most common. If left unseasoned, timber can quickly warp, twist, and break as too much moisture wreaks havoc on the cellular structure. This is just one of the many advantages of seasoning timber, and the top reason why seasoned timber is used for all building projects.
Advantages of timber seasoning
Reduced chances of fungi
Timber that has just been cut from a tree and not dried properly (green wood) has a very high chance of developing fungi and decay due to the moisture content. As seasoned timber has a moisture content of 20% and less, it’s made to last a lot longer and won’t be as susceptible to rot.
One of the biggest advantages of timber seasoning is that it has a stronger formation, as moisture in timber leaves it susceptible to bending and breaking. This is because the fibres absorb moisture in the cell walls, which softens the wood and becomes an ideal breeding ground for fungi. Timber that meets the right moisture content ratio is stronger and less susceptible to shrinkage.
Maintains size and shape
If timber isn’t dried properly, it can be susceptible to shrinkage and warping. This is because the moisture affects the internal structure of timber and makes it softer. Though this may be good for woodworking projects, highly malleable timber isn’t practical for building, decking, fencing or as timber beams. Seasoning improves the strength and stiffness of timber and reduces the tendency to break, snap or warp.
The advantages of seasoning timber: Types of seasoning
Kiln seasoning is the most common way to dry wood and uses a special machine (kiln) to draw out moisture. This type of seasoning works especially well as the timber is evenly dried out, leaving no areas of timber that’s less dry than the rest. Kiln seasoning gives the option to choose a certain temperature, humidity, and time for different kinds of wood, instead of a one size fits all option. This type of seasoning is a lot faster than air drying but can cost more and has more implications for the environment.
Air seasoning is the natural approach of leaving timber to dry on racks outside. Though slower than kiln seasoning, air seasoning is one of the best options for timber with lots of gum veins, as gums and veins can harden under heat pressure. Timber may also be susceptible to colour changes in a kiln, though some types of timber such as beech benefit from said colour changes. The biggest downside to air seasoning is that timber is at the mercy of the elements, so it needs to be contained in a heavily sheltered area.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our article on ‘Advantages of timber seasoning in the building industry.’ If you’d like to check out more building supplies or discuss shop with a timber expert, you can drop in at 33 Vauxhall St Virginia QLD 4014, call us on 07 3266 9000 or email [email protected].