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Timber preservation

Whether you’re building a new garden shed or you’re adding decking to your garden, you’ll need to think about timber preservation. Timber preservation and treatment is vital to keeping wood, especially wood that’s used outdoors, in good condition for as long as possible. Without treatment, wood is susceptible to damp, dry and wet rot, mould and insects such as woodworm. This is especially the case for softwoods like pine – while hardwoods like oak should still be treated, it’s vital that you have any softwoods around your home treated to keep them from decaying. Luckily, there are plenty of tradespeople that will do that for you.

Why should I have my timber preserved?

Lots of timber that people use for decking and garden sheds comes untreated. If you leave it that way, it won’t be long until moisture gets in and you could end up with damp or rot. Moss and algae are also common on decks if they’re left moist without much sun. There’s also a risk that your timber could become infested with woodworm, which are the wood-eating larva of many species of beetle. They will burrow into the wood and leave lots of small holes and powder as they go.

All of these problems will cause the wood to become weak, and depending on what the timber is used for it could cause serious structural damage, so it’s important to get timber treated to prevent any problems from arising.

Types of timber preservation treatments

  • Water-based treatments The most common timber preservative used for outdoor woods, for example on fencing, decking posts, joists and sub-structures, is copper-organic. It’s a water-based treatment that is suitable for timber that is going to be in contact with the ground or fresh water. It doesn’t have a smell and won’t discolour adjacent materials. It can be applied in a specialist pressure treatment facility or vacuum and adds a strong protective layer on the surface of the timber. It gives the wood a soft green colour, but it can have a dye added to give it a brown colour.
    If a professional is applying a water-based timber preserver for you outside, make sure that it’s a Class 4 treatment. Class 4 preservatives ensure that any wood that’s going to be subject to moisture for most of its life will last as long as possible. If it’s for an indoor treatment, make sure that it’s suitable for protecting against insect attacks and fungus.
  • Oil-based wood preservatives Preservatives mixed with linseed or tung oil penetrate deeper into the wood than water-based timber treatments. This means that generally you’ll get a longer-lasting, glossier finish. The oils repel water so will help prevent damp, mould and rot, but they might give off strong smells. It’s best to ensure you can stay away from the treatment area for a few days, and if inside, make sure there’s plenty of ventilation.
  • Solvent-based timber preservatives Solvent-based treatments are great at preventing rot, fungi, decay and mould, and often come as a clear treatment as well as a range of wood tone colours. They’re ideal for exterior projects since there will be a strong smell as the treatment’s applied, so again it’s best to stay away from the area once it’s been treated.


How Much does Timber preservation cost?

Whether you’re constructing your home or property or perhaps you’re simply putting in a deck there’s a need to put timber preservation into consideration. This includes finding a reliable timber preservation company or contractor and determining exactly how much it would cost to have your timber preservation project done. To make sure that any wood you incorporate is well maximized and in top condition for a lengthy period, you’ll have to protect it against rot, mould as well as insects – this process is referred to as timber preservation or treatment. Given the fact that most buildings across the UK largely incorporate untreated timber, this becomes a target for woodworm infestation and if it becomes wet or moist, it can lead to damp or dry and wet rot. In the event whereby any of these issues occur, the wood is made to lose its strength and in some terrible cases can compromise the integrity of the structure. Hence, the importance of having your timber preserved or treated. If you’re looking to kick start your timber preservation project, it’s essential to find out just how much it’ll cost to get the project over the line. In this post, we’re going to give you a good insight into how the timber preservation cost works. Let’s take a look!

When it comes to timber preservation, there are three main methods to select from. These methods include the water-borne treatment (the most popular due to its low cost and high availability), the oil-borne treatment and the light organic solvent preservative. In general, the timber preservation costs depend on the size of your house as well as the extent of the problem. Overall, you can expect to pay within the range of £1000 to £2000 for rot removal, £600 to £1000 for chemical treatment and £500 to £1000 for blanket pesticide treatment. On average you are looking at £301 - £1,151.


Will timber treatment save you money?

In the long term – yes! While it might seem like the cheaper option to use untreated wood for your project and leave it that way, you’ll only end up needing to replace it more quickly.

If you treat any timber you use, both inside your home and out, you’ll get decades of use out of it. If you leave it untreated, it may not even last 10 years outside. And untreated wood used in the construction of your home could even cause structural damage, so it’s definitely more money-saving to spend out on timber preservation now.

Average Timber preservation cost

The typical cost of Timber preservation is £654 in your area. Costs can change based on the materials and the business selected. The upper price range can be as high as £1,151. The material costs are usually around £200.

Average price per Timber preservation job in 2023

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Prices based on actual Timber preservation costs for your area, as reported by local Quotatis members.

Timber preservation installation cost in your area 2023

Labour cost £460
Material cost £200
Waste removal £20
Time frame: 1 day

Advantages for Timber preservation

  • Increases the lifespan of the timber both inside and outside
  • Prevents woodworm and other insect infestations
  • Prevents damp, dry rot, wet rot, mould and fungus
  • Creates a good surface for painting over

Disadvantages for Timber preservation

  • If you don't use a Class 4 preservative outdoors, timber will still degrade quickly
  • Some water-based preservatives can cause wood to swell, which may result in internal twisting and splitting
  • Solvent- and oil-based preservatives can give off strong-smelling fumes that may be unpleasant

Timber preservation Manufacturers

Timber preservation FAQs

How to treat dry rot?

The most serious form of fungal decay is dry rot which occurs when the moisture levels of a timber is about 20 percent. It targets timber in buildings and feeds off the part of the wood which gives it its strength.it is able to produce moisture through the digestion of timber and as a result, does not require any source of moisture to spread. Once the dry rot is able to spread, it can severely impact and compromise the structural integrity of the house or building. If you think you may have dry rot on your building, the best solution would be to call on a professional to conduct a survey of your premises and have it treated as soon as possible if positive. If the dry rot is not identified and treated as soon as possible, you may have to remove and replace all the affected timber later on. In this post, we’re going to take you through the process of treating dry rot by yourself. Let’s take a look!

  • The initial treatment stage of dry rot is to identify the moisture source and have it repaired. Once done, you’ll have to ascertain the full extent of the dry rot outbreak. To achieve this, simply open up the affected area by removing the plaster and render in all directions while also removing flooring and lifting floorboards. Once done, you should be in the best position to determine the full extent of the infected timbers.
  • Proceed to cutback the timbers in-situ to a minimum of 500mm beyond the last signs of fungal growth or the strands of hyphae.
  • Remove all fruiting bodies and detectible spores. Clean the wall areas to eradicate surface growth using a stiff brush if necessary.
  • Replace the timber with pre-treated timber.
  • Treat the new and old timber with a dual purpose dry rot treatment fluid and sterilise the masonry.
What is black mold?

Black mould, just like every other type of mould, is commonly present in dark and humid areas of homes and structures. Basically, it releases spores into the air which can be absorbed when you breathe in or through your skin. These spores are also able to get a ride on your body to other areas and gradually, spread throughout the home or house. Black mould is very different from other common household moulds, but it has a reputation for being toxic. In fact, a lot of individuals refer to black mould simply as toxic mould due to its reputation. When left untreated or totally ignored, black mould can result in serious health challenges and even more so for more vulnerable individuals. Respiratory issues are the most common health issues that arises as a result of black mould. You may start to cough, sneeze or even develop an itchy throat after a prolonged exposure to the toxic black mould spores. Vulnerable people or people at higher risk such as infants or an individual with respiratory challenges, could suffer long term health challenges. So, what are the signs of mould? Let’s take a look!

The most effective approach to reduce the risk of breathing in black mould spores is by eradicating it immediately you notice it. You may have a black mould issues if you notice:

  • A musty smell. Luckily, mould has a unique and distinct smell which is often described as musty and earthy. It may even smell just like rotten vegetables or plants.
  • Growth spots of different colours. Just like the name implies, black mould is often dark in colour. If you notice circular spots that are black, dark green or dark brown, then you probably have black mould in your house.
  • Water damage spots. To detect black mould early on, simply look for water damage spots.
What is wet rot?

Wet rot simply refers to the decay of timber caused by high moisture levels. This natural decay occurs when the moisture content in timber is about 30 percent to 50 percent. This is opposing to dry rot which only occurs as a result of a lower moisture content of about 20 percent. Naturally, a fungus is attracted to very damp wood, which it feeds off and in turn, destroying it. There are a number of fungus types, however the most common type is Coniophora puteana (also referred to as cellar fungus). In general, wet rot is usually confined to a localised damp area and does not spread which makes it a lot less destructive when compared to dry rot. However, if left untreated or totally ignored, wet rot can be just as destructive as dry rot and can greatly reduce the structural strength of the timber thereby causing a major structural damage in the process. So, what causes wet rot? Let’s take a look!

First and foremost, it must be stated that wet rot would be non-existent without a damp area to grow and thrive as wet spores are attracted to wet timber with a high level of moisture content. This moisture can be as a result of a number of issues which includes defective plumbing, leaking gutters, leaking roof, broken pipes, leaking washing machine or a leaking shower tray or bath. When the moisture a timber is exposed to is excessive, this offer the perfect environment for the growth of wet rot as it enables fungal spores to germinate and grow. They use the wet timber as a food source and eat it away, leading to a weakened wood and a compromised structural integrity.

What is Dry Rot

Also commonly referred to as brown rot, dry rot simply means a decay of the root as a result of fungi which may negatively impact the wooden structures in the interior or exterior of your home or property. When the dry rot happens, the fungi present breaks down the cellulose as well as hemicellulose – the components which are responsible for the strength and resilience of the wood. Consequently, the wood is left weakened and brittle while also appearing a bit blocky. Most often than not, dry rot affects damp timber, primarily with a moisture content that’s more than 20 percent. As a result of this, any dry rot eradication strategy should have the removal of the source of moisture to form the core of its activities. So, how can you identify dry rot? Let’s take a look!

  • Examine the wood. At first, the fungus appears a lot similar to cotton wool and may also possess water droplets on its surface if there is a very humid surrounding.
  • Look out for shrunken or sunken wood.
  • Identify darkening and cracks in the structure of the wood.
  • Identify affect wood that features flat skin-like grown that may appear like the exterior of a mushroom with shades of silver and grey. Most times, patterned with patches of light purple or yellow which easily peels.

Dry rot can be treated in a number of ways which includes epoxy treatments, commercial anti-freeze as well as copper compounds. The epoxy treatment simply means the act of filling in channels within the damaged wooden structure with an epoxy treatment to eliminate the rot and strengthen the structure of the wood. The commercial antifreeze is the treatment of the rot with antifreeze to kill the fungus and prevent further growth.

What is rising damp?

This is one of most common and discussed dampness found in building. In recent times, condensation is the most common form of dampness, however positive identification and the right corrective action for both is vital. Rising damp is simply referred to as the flow of water upwards and vertically through permeable wall structure, the water being gotten from the ground. The moisture rises via the capillaries or pores in the masonry, meaning that the masonry functions just like a wick. With rising damp, water rises through the mortar beds and through the bricks. The mortar forms the only continuous pathway for the moisture to rise up the wall. Even if a house is built from impervious bricks then moisture can still rise through the mortar beds, however if an impervious brick is incorporated then water will not rise even if the bricks happens to be quite porous. In other words, mortar beds are an integral element in the chemical treatment for rising damp.

The moisture coming from the ground features small quantity of soluble salt which includes nitrates, chlorides as well as sulphates. These are transmitted with the water up the wall and are deposited and left behind when the moisture evaporation when drying. After some time, the salts will slowly accumulate and form a salt band close to the peak height of the rising damp. Chlorides and sulphates absorb water from the environment. Overall, the higher the quantity of salts, the greater the absorption of moisture from the environment and even more so when under humid conditions. In other words, even if rising dampness has been controlled by the installation of damp proof course, these salts can still make the wall and any affected decorations to remain damp.

Dry Rot in Leeds A tip on recognising Dry Rot Mycelium

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