UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Optimizing Surface Micro Grooving to Reduce the Checking and Cupping of Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and White Spruce Decking Exposed to Natural Weathering Heshmati, Sina; Mazloomi, Mohammad Sadegh; Evans, Philip David


Machining grooves into the surface of pine and fir (Abies spp.) deckboards reduces undesirable checking that develops when “profiled” boards are exposed to the weather. We aim to develop improved profiles for Douglas fir, western hemlock and white spruce decking to reduce their susceptibility to checking, and understand how profile geometry influences the stresses that cause checking. We varied the width and depth of grooves in profiled deckboards, exposed deckboards to the weather, and measured checking and cupping of boards. A numerical model examined the effect of groove depth on the moisture-induced stresses in profiled spruce boards. Profiling significantly reduced checking, but increased cupping of deckboards made from all three species. Western hemlock checked more than the other two species. Profiles with narrow grooves (rib profiles) were better at restricting checking than profiles with wider grooves. A rib profile with deeper grooves developed smaller stresses than a rib profile with shallower grooves, and boards with the former profile checked less than boards with shallower grooves. We conclude that checking of profiled Douglas fir, western hemlock and white spruce decking is significantly reduced by changing profile geometry, and our results suggest the best profiles to reduce checking of all three species.

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