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What is Heat Treated Wood?

Wood is a natural material, and while it is the natural beauty of the wood that makes wooden playhouses so charming, it's important that the wood is protected and cared for. This special heat treatment will make sure that your new playhouse is healthy and strong, providing long lasting play for your little ones.

The Wood Heat Treatment Process

Before the wood takes the form of your beautiful new playhouse, all timber is heat treated. Heat treatment is a process whereby the wood is heated to very high temperatures, ranging from 180 to 230 degrees Celsius, in a specialised container for 24 to 48 hours. The wood is subjected to pressure, heat and water vapour to dry the timber in a controlled environment. Heat treating wood to these high temperatures changes the physical properties of the wood fibres, increasing the durability, stability and structure of the wood.

Altering the cell structures of the wood in this way firstly drives out the moisture, acids and bacteria within the wood. Before this heat treatment process is carried out, wood is naturally susceptible to fungus growth, mildew and rot, and forcing the moisture out of the wood during heat treatment prevents this from happening. After this process, the wood is far less desirable for pesky insects, termites and fungus, making sure that these unwelcome guests do not invite themselves in.

This treatment also significantly reduces shrinkage and swelling of the wood, which could otherwise cause a problem with structures such as playhouses as the wood can warp and subtly change shape. The natural movement within the wood is therefore kept to a minimum once heat treated, preventing the wood from expanding and therefore improving decay and weather resistance.

Heat treated wood therefore provides a strong defence against environmental affects as well as resisting against decay and rot caused by insects, termites and fungus.

Many people favour this process to many other treatment processes such as pressure treatment, as no chemicals are involved in heat treatment which makes it far more environmentally friendly and safe. "Biological durability of wood is increased without adding outside chemicals / biocides to the wood" (European Thematic Network for Wood Modification; Review on Heat Treatments of Wood by A.O Rapp). This chemical-free method is a revolutionary find, most often used by experienced and eco-conscious organisations.