07 Dec Tips for Keeping Your Oak Framed Building Cosy in Winter
Oak always offers a beautiful finish to any building whether internally or externally. However, there are different ways to treat and maintain oak depending on its use and placement, whether it’s indoors or outdoors.
At Oakcraft, all our softwood comes from sustainable resources in managed forests, and is pressure treated with a biodegradable fungicide and pesticide before supply and assembly to ensure the longest life possible.
Untreated waney-edge (bark left on) Douglas Fir cladding may be used in specific designs.
Whether you’re outsourcing your assembly or including it in your purchase from us, there are further ways to treat your wood after supply to create the effect you desire.
Protection wise, it is possible to treat oak with oil or lacquer to help it maintain its appearance.
Using oil is a more labour intensive process as it must be absorbed into the wood, however it provides a long lasting effect that retains the natural look and feel of the oak for longer.
Lacquer is less time consuming but as it only creates a protective top coat and does not sink into the wood like oil, any scratches are immediately visible, and it has to be sanded and treated once more when this occurs.
One tip is to always patch test your oils or lacquers – even though they claim to be ‘clear’ they can quite often bring out the natural colours of the oak, resulting in a darker effect than intended.
It is recommended that the oak is left to weather naturally, however if retaining the colour is essential to the aesthetics of your oak framed building then the original colour can be preserved if the wood undergoes treatment or sealing before it is exposed to the elements.
It is important to remember though that the weather erodes this treatment off, so the upkeep of this protective coating is required throughout the year.
Water marks can occur when moisture forms on the surface of the beams during construction. This can be treated with oxalic acid when the structure is weather tight.
As oak dries out over time, it shrinks across the grain and can result in splits or cracks across the beams as the moisture content reduces to around 16% from 60%.
This shrinkage actually has a strengthening effect across the beams, and it is generally agreed that this rustic feel adds to the character and charm of the oak, therefore it is recommended this is left untreated.
After applying any additional protective seals you might choose (this can be done upon receiving your oak or after construction if not done before sale), it is crucial to understand that where your oak is being placed can have a direct effect on the quality over time.
Avoiding direct sunlight prevents fading to the finish and positioning any beams away from sources of heat means heat will not contribute to the wood drying out even further.
This can also apply to rooms in which extreme temperatures are commonplace (such as rooms with air conditioning or conservatories).
Essentially, we recommend leaving the oak as we supply it, for a long-lasting and beautiful building. If you want a slightly different finish and aren’t sure how to achieve it please do ask, and we’ll make what recommendations we can. For more information about our oak and the treatment processes we use to ensure only the best quality in your oak framed buildings, contact us today.