Enhancing service life performance of oak decking and cladding using organosilicon treatments

IRG/WP 18-40838

J Van Acker, J Van den Bulcke, J-P Lecomte

The Life+ project SILEX, in full “Improving sustainability of construction materials using innovative Silicon based treatment” started in April 2013 and was finalized mid 2017. The aim of this project was to demonstrate that a new class of compounds can be used for wood treatment for an extended service life combined with enhanced new testing methodology. Ultimately, it was the intention to demonstrate performance of treatments with silicon-based hydrophobers, which have a lower impact on the environment with a lower input of biocides than conventional wood preservation. This paper provides mainly a descriptive summary of a demonstrator set up including the most promising treatments and having a focus to check long term performance and to allow potential users to check treated items in a benchmarking concept. Although several wood species are included, a fair part of the set-up has been dedicated to treating European oak in relation to cladding and decking applications. European oak has always been considered a local wood species with high potential for long service life in higher use-class applications. Recent discussion related to durability classification based on laboratory assessments has revealed higher variability than when based on long-term experience. As it is expected that there is an impact of moisture dynamics on the service life performance alongside the intrinsic durability based on heartwood components it becomes obvious that methods that contribute to improve moisture dynamics can be considered beneficial. However, oak heartwood has the disadvantage of being refractory to impregnation and hence we focus on dip treatment to achieve potentially high quality products that are not opaque coated and keep the natural looks.

Keywords: demonstrator, organosilicon compounds, performance classification

Conference: 18-04-29/05-03 Johannesburg, South Africa

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