Choose Thermally Modified Wood for Exteriors

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Blog | No Comments
Thermally modified wood

Thermally modified wood was the perfect material to create the rich, exotic, and modern exterior designed for Shakou Sushi.

Thermally modified wood (TMW) is a great product for exterior siding projects. Are you thinking about using wood as decking or siding, but are concerned about maintenance and potential deterioration? Consider thermally modified wood for its beautiful appearance and longevity.

How is it Different?

TMW is different from other wood products! Select wood is improved by going through a controlled process that changes the character, appearance, and functionality of the material.

Manufacturers create thermally modified wood by subjecting wood to high heat and steam. The cell structure of the wood is changed by the heat and steam. The use of heat treatments to modify wood properties is not new.

TMW does not hold moisture and it becomes rot-resistant, making it suitable for exterior applications. In addition, it becomes more physically stable; material expansion and contraction are greatly reduced.

How is it Made?

  1. Wood is sustainably harvested, selected and kiln dried to a consistent moisture content.
  1. The dried wood is thermally modified with high heat and steam in absence of oxygen to enhance its performance.
  1. The material is milled to achieve the desired profile for decking or siding. It is also used for interior flooring.

BONUS! When TMW is milled, the sawdust smells like toasted marshmallows!

What does it Look Like?

Thermal modification changes the appearance of the material. The visual effect can vary, due to higher or lower temperatures, but it is darkened in color by the process. In fact, a ranBefore and After, Thermally Modified Woodge of appearances can be obtained from the same wood species by varying the temperature.

We like the rich, exotic appearance obtained by thermal modification.  Our Shakou Sushi restaurant project in St. Charles, features a horizontal wood band on the front façade of an existing building in St. Charles, IL.


Benefits of Thermally Modified Wood

  1. Attractive – TMW in the US is usually produced from North American hardwoods. The process of thermally modifying the wood produces a rich warm color that highlights the wood’s natural grain pattern. Color variation can be achieved by varying the temperature.
  2. Ages Gracefully – Since TMW does not hold moisture, it becomes rot-resistant and stable as compared to untreated wood.
  3. Dimensionally stable – TMW is less susceptible to warping, checking and cupping from humidity.
  4. Decay resistant – TMW does not support insect infestation or fungal attack.
  5. Non-Toxic – TMW is produced using heat and steam, not toxic chemicals.
  6. FSC Certified – Wood used for TMW is sustainably harvested and much of it is Forest Stewardship Council certified.
  7. Durable – Heat-treating makes the wood more durable.

TMW is Environmentally-Friendly

Thermally modified wood is a natural, environmentally-friendly building option, as compared to imported hardwood. It’s an innovative product that is reasonably priced and long-lasting too. If you are thinking about using wood for decking or siding, but are concerned about high maintenance and potential deterioration, consider thermally modified wood for its beautiful appearance and longevity.

For more information, read the article Wood Modification by Heat Treatment: A Review.

Check out the websites of some of the manufacturers of TMW:

Arbor Wood

Cambia Wood

Thermal Wood