UBC Undergraduate Research

Comparisons of heat treated wood to chemically treated and untreated wood in commercial usages Chen, Albert


Methods of heat treating wood for improved properties have been studied and developed for a long time. However, it was not until recently that heat treated wood has started being commercialized and sold on the market. The attention towards heat treated wood is caused mostly by public and legal demand for a more environmentally safe method of wood protection. Currently, most methods of preserving wood are done by chemical treatment using many kinds of chemicals, but the chemicals can cause harmful effects to humans and to the environment. Heat treating methods do not apply any chemicals within its process and can be considered to be environmentally safe. Many consumers who buy wood products are still unfamiliar with the qualities of heat treated wood and should know the differences it has before deciding what to use in their projects. The main points a consumer would be concerned with in determining whether to use heat treated wood is in its durability, physical mechanical properties, environmental impact, and economic feasibility. In general, heat treated wood is good green material against decay and has high dimensional stability, but certain strength properties are lacking. Therefore, for commercial usages such as flooring and decking, heat treated wood is superior to other wood alternatives. In this essay I will compare the advantages and disadvantages that heat treated wood has over chemically treated and untreated lumber when used in most timber structure applications common to normal homeowners.

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