Timber treatment: an attractive and cost-effective method to protect your home and garden wooden fittings from damage and decay.


Whether you are building a house or simply putting in a deck you will need to consider  timber treatment – find out more about how much does timber treatment cost and how to find a reliable timber treatment company or contractor. To ensure that any wood you use has the longest life span possible you may need to protect it against rot, mould and insects, this protection and preservation of wood is called timber treatment.

Why is timber so important?

Timber is a great material and it is also the only truly sustainable resource for construction, so we should continue to use it. Wood is also extremely versatile and has been used since as far back as records show. Whilst some types of timber are very durable, a lot of the plantation grown softwoods that are used these days are very susceptible to decay if left to their own devices.

Why do we use softwoods then?

Large forestry companies tend to favour softwoods such as pine because they are cheaper to produce and faster to grow. However, even if we could afford to use stronger timbers for our building needs there still wouldn’t be enough sustainable supplies to meet the massive demands. Softwoods are fine though, as long as they go through a timber treatment process and are properly maintained, they should offer exceptional performance.

Softwood is also available in a pre-treated option, which is ideal for safety and value. This option is also great for the environment as those that are culled in a sustainable manner make timber construction a very viable option.

Why is treatment necessary?

Most buildings throughout the UK use untreated timber, this can become infested with woodworm, or if it becomes moist it could experience damp or dry and wet rot. When these problems occur the wood loses its strength and in some severe cases can undergo structural damage, so it is important to treat your timber.

Benefits of timber treatment

There are numerous benefits in maintaining the quality of wooden structures or furniture that are an integral part of your home décor. Not only does the material conjure a natural and warming impression to the eye, creating a soothing and fresh atmosphere for guests and visitors but its low-key effect means you can adapt your own interior design style around any fittings or household items you might have. Unfortunately in Britain wet weather is a guarantee, which means outdoor timber is going to get soaked from time to time, and indoor wooden fittings perhaps damp at the very least.

Timber treatment methods

timber treatment methodsLuckily, timber treatment is a simple and efficient technique by which you can extend the life of your
wooden structures and increase their durability against insects, bacteria, rot and various forms of wooden fungi that can all cause softening, splintering and loss of strength in the material.

There are a number of chemical or natural processes widely common that can be used for both residential or community buildings, and for a variety of different purposes; from garden posts, poles or fencing, wooden decking or framing or even your more precious wooden furniture – all can be protected against daily weathering and bugs with timber treatment.

There are three primary methods to choose from – one of them will surely suit your personal home-improvement needs.

  1. Water-borne treatment: This method is popular due to its low cost and high availability; preservatives and insecticides are usually mixed with a water-based solvent and applied in a vacuum or pressure treatment facility to create a strong, protective layer on the surface of the timber, making it less susceptible to exterior damage. The treatment can, however, result in swelling, which increases the risks of internal twisting and splitting in the wood – a greater problem if you’re looking to make your decking or furniture that little extra-sturdy.
  2. Oil-borne treatment: A substantial layer of Linseed or Tung oil mixed with preservatives usually penetrates deeper into the wood than water-borne treatment, making for a longer-lasting and glossier finish to your timber structures, as well as acting as a drying agent and repelling water to prevent damp. Many oils do, however, give off strong, unpleasant odours – so make sure you shop around and aren’t hosting any parties or gatherings too soon after you have the fittings treated.
  3. Light Organic Solvent Preservative (LOSP’s): This method basically involves the use of white spirit as the solvent carrier and uses a mixture of insecticides and water-repellent chemicals that form a protective coating over the wooden product. This specialised treatment takes place in professional plants and is therefore a longer, more expensive choice than water or oil-based alternatives. LOSP is also unsuitable for wooden garden fittings that are going to come into contact with soil, although it usually results in a nice, dry finish to your timber.

How much does timber treatment cost?

Timber treatment prices obviously depend on the size of your house and the extent of your problem, but as a rough guide you can expect to pay;

  • Rot Removal: £1,000 – £2,000
  • Chemical Treatment: £600 – £1000
  • Blanket pesticide treatment: £500-£1,000
  • Boron surface treatment (light to medium) :  £30-£32 per  30 square metres

Finding a timber treatment companies & contractors

Timber treatment (wood preservation) is always best completed by hiring a professional. You can check that prospective employees are fully competent by asking if they are members of the British Wood Preserving and Damp-Proofing Association (B.W.D.P.A), which has only recently split into two sub-divisions: the Property Care Association (P.C.A) and the Wood Protection Association (W.P.A).

The latter of which will ensure your employee has access to a wide range of technical and administrative services that will help your project run smoothly. You could also ask to see proof your employee has obtained the Certified Surveyor in Remedial Treatment (C.R.S.T) qualification, which requires acute understanding of wood-problem diagnosis by examination – meaning they are probably more than up to the task.

Once you have hired a timber treatment specialist be clear about which wooden structures in your home and garden need treating and which processes you would prefer – but don’t be wary of taking any professional advice on the matter either. Just be sure to draw up a contract to make sure you don’t end up over-budget.

Watch the following video on timber treatment

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