Wood vs. Water: How Can Wood Win?

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It’s common knowledge that wood and water don’t generally mix for long. Since wood is porous, prolonged contact with water can often have destructive effects on any type of wooden material. There’s a myriad of all-too-familiar and equally annoying problems we can associate with wet wood: the damp smell, the structural weakness, and the presence of pests such as termites.

However, not all wood is created equal. After all, it only takes a brief moment of thought for us to realize that it was the material of choice for our ancestors for many years. When it comes to resisting water, there are a couple more options out there than marine grade plywood. Some timber species are naturally resistant to water, while others can be treated with a finish that can lessen the impact of water on the surface over time.

The Need for Waterproofing

There are many instances where wooden fixtures are often exposed to water. Aside from the aforementioned housing material, you have wooden tables and counters in restaurants, the underside of boats, outdoor furniture, and structures in coastal areas. Since metal may not be easily available quite yet, wood naturally becomes the material of choice.

Any fixture that you can reasonably expect to make contact with water for a long period should be considered needing some sort of waterproofing in order for it to not decay. Wood can have extremely resilient properties if treated correctly and can last for quite long if taken care of properly.

So, which types of wood can work?

Cedar wood wall

Ideally, water-resistant wood can be your best option if you have it treated with a coating material or varnish that can help improve water-repelling properties, but if you need a base wood, to begin with, here are some options:

● Cedar: One of the most common and high-quality types of hardwood, cedar is known for resisting insect activity, as well as being one of the densest woods you can use for any fixture. It’s ideal for outdoor projects.

● Pine: If you want something more readily available and easily treated with a finishing material, pine is the best type of wood you can have for outdoor projects. Easily procured in different grades, this is ideal for those who don’t want to concern themselves too much with the work.

● Other wood species, such as redwoods and cypress are ideal if you don’t have the time or the budget for the other two types of wood above. It also helps that the majority of pre-made fixtures often come in these materials.

While wood won’t certainly last forever, the ways above can be good methods to extend their use and your enjoyment of them. Looking for experts who are well versed in the application of these types of wood and know how to treat them accordingly is a must for those who take their woodworking seriously. The quality of work will determine how water-resistant and durable the finished product will be, so you need to make the right decision.

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