Suitable Uses & Application Guide

Decking

Appropriate Use

Decking is one of the most testing applications for timber, where its visual qualities are quickly lost, and where it typically receives little or no care. Consider using non-premium grades & timbers, and durable non-timber (e.g. tiles) and composite products (e.g. 'Modwood'  or 'Ecoboard'-see database ) that maintain their look and the less-thermally conductive qualities of timber.

Biodiversity & Social

· Commonly used imported rainforest species e.g. Merbau typically uncertified. Not generally possible to determine that timber does not come from illegally logged areas.

· Fit for purpose  timbers include Jarrah, Blackbutt, and Turpentine. Many commonly specified species e.g. Yellow Box are sourced from private land where conservation management can come under less scrutiny.

· Cypress pine.

· FSC high durability grade timbers; contact suppliers for appropriate timbers.

· Plantation radiata, slash & hoop pine is suitable but only if preservative treated. Plantation hardwoods are available.

· Wood plastic composites may use plantation sawdust as 'modwood' currently states they do at the time of writing.

Energy

Typically NA for operational energy. Preservative treated timbers will have a higher embodied energy.

Fate

Generally poor reuse opportunities for timber decking so biodegradability or fuel conversion capability important. CCA timber cannot be burnt or disposed of except in landfill. Encouraging the user to regularly reapply decking oils can greatly extend appearance and service life.

Preservative Toxicity

CCA-alternatives and LOSP available in major centres. If using CCA specify the minimum preservation grade required.

Adhesive Toxicity

Typically NA

Fixing

Typically mechanically fixed via screwing or nailing, both of which may be removed. Screw fixings may be preferable for deconstructability.

Windows and Doors - external

Appropriate Use

Particularly in exterior applications windows and doors generally require a high-value clear-grained timber to maximise potential durability and lifespan in first and subsequent design lives.

Biodiversity & Social

· Imported rainforest species e.g. Merbau, Meranti are typically uncertified. These species are listed as vulnerable, endangered & critically endangered by Friends of the Earth UK (FOE UK 2003).

- Western Red Cedar from North America is sourced from 'Managed' forests, some of which can (as with Australia AFS Certified Products) contain high canservation value, old growth forests that are not protected under the National Reserves systems.

· FSC timbers; contact suppliers for appropriate timbers.

· Plantation hardwoods are available in small quantities e.g. Sugar Gum (Victoria) Sydney Blue Gum (Melb and Syd from NZ). Other plantation hardwoods as per 'Decking' above.

Energy

Solid wood products have similar thermal resistivities. Frame thermal conductivity can dramatically affect building efficiency(Commonwealth of Australia 2002).

Fate

Timber windows and doors can have long and repeated lives with care and maintenance. Boron based preservatives are preferable to LOSP from a disposal/reuse of timber perspective, and has lower toxicity, but requires periodic reapplication. LOSP requires reapplication to any cut areas or after sanding/ refinishing. Access for repair and maintenance critical for long life.

Preservative Toxicity

As per Fate.

Adhesive Toxicity

Typically NA

Fixing

Typically gluing and traditional joinery techniques. Design for Disassembly (e.g. sill replacement) where possible.

Windows and Doors - internal

Appropriate Use

Use the lowest level of Visual Grade as appropriate.

Biodiversity & Social

· Imported rainforest species e.g. Merbau, Meranti are typically found in a wide variety of solid and core doors. Conservation status as noted above.

· There is a wide variety of fit for purpose timbers for this application if  FSC timbers are specified; contact suppliers for appropriate timbers.

· A wide range of softwoods are suitable.

· Plantation hardwoods are available in small quantities as per windows-exterior above.

Energy

Generally not a significant issue, although timber is much less energy intensive than other common materials.

Fate

Can have long and repeated lives with care and maintenance. Lightweight composite doors tend to have single-use lives, while more expensive joinered doors (often using more material by weight) are more likely to be reused.

Preservative Toxicity

Generally NA

Adhesive Toxicity

Interior doors may use quantities of glues in their assembly. This application not known to be a high-priority IEQ issue at this time.

Fixing

Typically gluing and traditional joinery techniques. Timber sections typically too small to be reused or recycled except as doors and windows.

Flooring

Appropriate Use

Traditionally timber is little used in Middle East as a primary Flooring . Used as a flooring it limits thermal interaction with thermal mass in structures.

If using consider pre-finished systems that make efficient use of natural resources through the use of commodity plantation timber substrates and high-value timbers for veneers only.

Biodiversity & Social

· Imported species e.g. Mahogany, Teak, Anegre are typically uncertified. These species are listed as vulnerable and endangered (FOE UK 2003; Rainforest Action Network 2003) by conservation groups. Baltic pine is widely used, although there is strong evidence that sources e.g. in Baltic Russia are far from sustainable (Environment News Service 2002).

· There is a wide variety of fit for purpose timbers available through· FSC suppliers.

·Wide range of recycled and remachined hardwood and softwood timbers are available.

·Wide range of composite recycled and remachined and FSC certified laminated timber floating floors in hardwood and softwood timbers are available.

· Bamboo is available in various forms from solid laminated to 'Standwoven' high strength products, an excellent, very hardwearing alternative.

Energy

Not a traditional primary floor in the middle east. If used as such air leakage through joist & bearer timber floor systems can be a considerable source of inefficiency. Appropriate detailing and the use of insulating solutions e.g. inter-joist reflective films can best address this.

Fate

First-use: T &G, parquetry and pre-finished systems have the capacity to a give long first-use life. Panel products (e.g. plywoods) durability can be dictated by wear and impact resistance of finishing coat e.g. epoxy.

Repair/re-use: all systems prejudiced from reuse by use of glue in application. T&G floors have highest intrinsic potential for repeat re-use and repair.

Disposal: Pre-finished floors may use polyester or other wear/impact resistant additives which, in addition to composite structure and glueing limit any disposal option but landfill. Potential environmental toxicity generally unquantified. Parquetry and T&G floors disposal options depend on glues, finishes and fixing any co-joined substrates at removal. Panel products may be highly biodegradable or less depending on the glue-bond used. Marine-grade glues degrade over decades or longer.

Preservative Toxicity

Panel products may incorporate LOSP treatments to prevent termite attack. Use physical non-toxic barriers (e.g. granite-guard, termi-mesh) where possible.

Adhesive Toxicity

Particleboard flooring and interior-grade ply products (including bamboo) typically use urea formaldehyde glues and can be a significant source of off-gassed VOC's.

Fixing

Glueing is typically used to speed or aid fixing, or to reduce squeaks. It is often, in particular with T&G profiles, not required. If at all possible nail only. Fixing hardwood boards to softwood joists is achieved with longer and/or high-grip nail profiles.

Structural Framing - External

Appropriate Use

Specify requisite structural grade, lowest appearance grade.

Biodiversity & Social

· Imported species e.g. Oregon are typically uncertified. Approximately 90% of the US's old-growth Douglas Fir forests have been logged with more scheduled for logging (Noss, LaRoe et al. 1995). Western Red Cedar is a temperate rainforest species whose conservation status in many communities is endangered (reference e.g. http://www.fscstandards.org/regions/pacific/appendix_d.html) For a stark map of US reserves refer (Earthwatch Europe, IUCN et al.).

· FSC timbers; contact suppliers for appropriate timbers.

· Slash, radiata and many other pine specifies are ubiquitous generally require preservation.

Energy

Timber is not an outstanding insulator, but is far better than thermally un-broken steel.

Fate

Oregon is a non-durable timber that is widely used externally and treated as if it is durable. It typically has a short life in external situations. CCA-treated pine is a disposal liability as noted. Other treatment schemes require painting. Naturally durable hardwoods have a high chance of high-value reuse if protected. Demountable mechanical fixing facilitates maintenance.

Preservative Toxicity

CCA alternatives available. Design-out the need for preservatives where possible using physical barriers e.g. galvanised stirrups, termite barriers.

Adhesive Toxicity

Not generally an issue.

Fixing

Removable mechanical fixing e.g. screws, bolts, facilitate disassembly.

Structural Framing - Internal

Appropriate Use

Specify requisite structural grade, lowest appearance grade.

Biodiversity & Social

· species: refer framing-external.

· There is a wide variety of fit for purpose FSC Certified timbers for solid, ply and laminated applications; contact suppliers for appropriate timbers.

·

Energy

Not typically an issue as wood has relatively low thermal conductivity ~0.1-0.15 W/m°C for timber compared to 47.5 steel, 220 for aluminium.

Fate

Fate typically determined by fixing system, use of preservatives, and size and type of timber section. Small, laminated, and non-standard sizes are unlikely to be reused. Increasing use of laminated, reinforced and composite members incorporating steel are decreasing likelihood of reuse or recycling especially in conjunction with glue & nail systems.

Preservative Toxicity

Panel products may incorporate LOSP treatments to prevent termite attack. Use physical non-toxic barriers where possible.

Adhesive Toxicity

Not typically applicable.

Fixing

Typically glued and nailed. Use mechanical fixing only where possible.

Decorative Veneers

Appropriate Use

Decorative natural veneers come in two principal forms: quarter cut and crown cut. Quarter-cut require larger trees while crown cut veneers are more suited to smaller trees from regrowth forests and plantations. Also available are reconstituted timber veneers, that are made to replicate the appearance of quarter and crown cut veneers.

Biodiversity & Social

· Wide range of imported species e.g.,Maple, Rimu, Mahogany, Teak, Ebony, typically uncertified. Many are associated with vulnerable and diminishing forest types, and ensuring sustainability and legality of source is typically not possible.

· FSC veneers are available.

· Plantation Hoop and radiata pine are available. A wide range of Italian poplar-based reconstituted wood veneers and solid-edges are available through import.

· Plantation local hardwoods commercially unavailable or chain of custody not clear. Farm forestry Sugar Gum (Victoria) is available in very small quantities.

Energy

Not typically an issue.

Fate

Except in furniture applications veneer is unlikely to be reused or recycled. Reuse potential is extremely limited. For this reason in applications with a high churn in particular the use of natural veneers with potential or present conservation concerns should be minimised.

Preservative Toxicity

NA

Adhesive Toxicity

Not generally an issue. Manufactured veneers typically use urea-based glues and will have higher product emission levels than natural veneers.

Fixing

Gluing only.

Joinery, also including Skirting Boards, Architraves and Trims

Appropriate Use

Balance predicted application life and likely fate against other considerations such as potential biodiversity impacts in the selection of manufactured/solid products. Use high-feature grade if low-feature grade is not required.

Biodiversity & Social

· species: refer framing-external.

· FSC timbers; contact suppliers for appropriate timbers.

· Plantation Hoop, slash and radiata pine typically used in manufactured products including MDF, particleboard.

· Plantation hardwoods are available in small quantities e.g. Sugar Gum (Victoria) Sydney Blue Gum (Melb and Syd from NZ). Parquetry plantation Sydney Blue Gum available from Portugal through (Premium Cork & Timber). Other plantation hardwoods as per 'Decking'.

Energy

Not typically an issue.

Fate

A great deal of purpose-made fixed joinery products, such as retail and kitchen fitouts, are unlikely to be recycled. They are made to specific requirements and dimensions and are not readily modified. Some office products (e.g. bookshelves) are more likely to be reused. However co-mingling of products such as wood panels, melamines & laminates and steel fixings usually makes recycling impractical, the low unit value of the product makes disassembly unattractive, and glue-fixing and poor repeated-mechanical fixing characteristics of wood panel products make disassembly impractical. Landfill is the likely fate of most fixed joinery.

Preservative Toxicity

NA

Adhesive Toxicity

Numerous manufacturers' make MDF products that have low emissions E0 or F**** standard (Bone 2002). Zero formaldehyde MDF products are available on import . Marine grade ply products typically have significantly E0 or F**** emission levels, but higher costs.

Fixing

Refer Quick Guide.