Which wood type is best for the terrace?

Miriam Damache Miriam Damache
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For every terrace floor there is a multitude of materials to choose from such as concrete, stone, aluminium or PVC. Wood is a material that is widely used and that is available to all at a moderate price depending on the type chosen. The many virtues of wood include those of flexibility, durability, light weight, style and how easily it can be worked. Its use dates back to prehistoric times where cavemen would employ wood for weapons and tools. To this day, the popularity and the beauty of wood is unparalleled. Wood offers many diverse options in strength, various styles and colours to accommodate everyone. To this day, wood remains a traditional, classic yet modern type of material that should always be considered for the home. Wood will permanently increase the emotional and the residential value of the property.

Checklist before buying

Before buying any type of wood for the terrace floor, a few elements need to be considered. One must buy wood that is suited for the climate where the home is because certain types of wood are better suited for hot and humid climates and they would not fare well in a cold and dry climate. Then comes questioning about the design of the terrace. What are the dimensions of the terrace in the garden? This will ensure the exact measurements are brought to the mill for the wood cutting. How is the terrain where the terrace will be built on; is it sandy and unstable or mostly rocky? Then comes the weight that the terrace should carry. How many people will it accomodate and how much furniture will be on it? Will it be built for short-term usage or longer? That would confirm knowing if the terrace should be built to last a few years which would require a less expensive wood type or on the other hand, if it is meant for a long period of time, investing a little bit more is better advised.

Qualities to look for

Chattarpur Farmhouse New Delhi:  Balconies, verandas & terraces  by monica khanna designs
monica khanna designs

Chattarpur Farmhouse New Delhi

monica khanna designs

Naturally, anyone requires a solid type of wood that won't break or become easily altered after a short period of time. Durability is a priority as well as strength. This means that the type of wood should not be too soft. Wood that is softer will give and dent under a certain amount of weight. For example, if a woman comes onto a terrace of soft wood with high heels, the back heel will leave a mark, a slight puncture in the wood which is not the preferred choice for a terrace floor. Another important factor to consider is if the wood was collected responsibly and in an eco-friendly manner. This means that Nature friendly wood will have been carefully selected in the forest. Only mature trees are cut down in order for the young ones to grown but also to protect the rest of the forest. If a forest is completely cut down without making a pre-selection, it will rapidly die because a forest is an ecosystem of different types of trees that are young and old, even the moss and plants assist each other to create that are interconnected and self-sufficient network.

The design of this sumptuous terrace has been made possible by Monica Khanna Designs.

Types of wood

Different types of wood exist for different sorts of uses. Pine is widely employed for terrace floors or any other part of a home.After being either pressure or heat treated, it renders high standards of quality which means that it has high resistance, it will not shrink too much after some time and it will only have fine to medium cracks. There is also oak that is a very solid kind of wood. It is a type that will need to be treated every 5 to 10 years in order to maintain the tint. However, It won't shrink as time passes. Bangkirai is another kind of wood commonly used. It is a durable and resistant wood that won't have as much knots as the other kinds of wood. It will show very few fine cracks and only at the ends. This type does tend to shrink over time so treating the wood yearly is a must.

Properties of wood

There might be a few issues that arise when examining the wood of the terrace. However, most of the time, these issues are minor and almost always subside with time. The following points will relate the issues that may be encountered but that should not cause alarm. Wood is a natural material that will change slightly overtime which is a normal process. 

First off is drying cracks: wood adjusts to ambiant moisture, therefore the wood may swell and shrink a little. There might be efflorescences which means that the chrome-free wood protection agents dissolve the resin in the wood. It will look like reflected green dots or crystallised white deposits on the surface of the wood. This is an effect that will not stay. There can also be colour changes or colour differences of the wood right after it has been delivered or during the installation. This is completely normal and the colour will be a uniform one after a few days in the sun.  With time, the wood will gradually turn gray which is a normal sign of the ageing of the wood. This can be remedied with oil treatments. Finally, tropical hardwoods are mainly free of knots unlike their coniferous counterparts that will contain many. They are not a defect but if they stick out, they can be smoothed out with sandpaper.

Care and maintenance

 Balconies, verandas & terraces  by Inkout srl
Inkout srl

Sirchester chair—Floret lamp—Lou Lou table—Top Pot Hard

Inkout srl

There are several ways to maintain a beautiful terrace floor throughout the year. Naturally, the greatest threat to wood that it is exposed to the outdoors. It will face the harshest climate conditions Nature can muster. It is a known fact that leaving something outside for a long period of time will show damage and signs of it wearing off. Since wood is no exception to that rule, treating the terrace floor with a wood protector will greatly help maintain its durability and look. There are also oils made especially for wood terrace floors that will hydrate the wood and protect it from the changing weather. The terrace floor can also be painted with a paint that is specifically designed for that purpose. This will improve the longevity of the floor and help against dryness that creates cracks or humidity that causes rotting.

Pros and cons

 Balconies, verandas & terraces  by Inkout srl
Inkout srl

Time Out armchair + stool—Cork table

Inkout srl

When deciding to install a terrace or to replace it, making a list of pros and cons might help confirming the final decision about which material to opt for. First off wood is light, durable, economical and available anywhere in the world. It is also cosy for bare feet because it is not as hard as marble and it doesn't transfer heat as much as metal does. On the other hand, wood might need a bit more care and attention than another types of material, unlike stone for example. It will need to be checked for structural integrity and other problems every year. Wood also requires to be treated with a protector or an oil treatment every few years depending on the kind of wood. However, if maintained, the wood terrace floor will last for decades. Also, the look of wood is incomparable, it has a unique colour in many shades and intensities. There are many wood imitations but they will never truly replace the beauty of wood.

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