Wood protection refers to measures that in various ways aim to protect wood and wood-based materials against attacks by destructive organisms. These include wood-decaying fungi, termites and other wood-destroying insects, marine borers, and discolouring microorganisms such as blue stain and mould. Wood-decaying fungi are the most common of the destructive organisms in temperate climates, while termites are a dominant vector in more tropical regions.
Wood protection is an important consideration when building anything in wood. The interplay between structural design, material choices and maintenance plays a crucial role in the structure’s function and service life. When it comes to designing structures, the first point is, as far as possible, to avoid moisture traps where the wood is unable to easily dry out, creating a risk factor for future decay to set in.
However, in industrial applications of wood such as railway sleepers, utility poles, marine piles and associated structures, in ground retaining walls, etc, wood protection through design is less important for long term reliable performance of the material than the protection of the wood product through chemical or other means to prevent wood substrate biodeterioration.