Warped timber

How to prevent wood from warping

You have just laid a new timber deck and it looks amazing. The colour and texture blends perfectly into the surrounds and you appreciate the warmth and beauty timber brings to your home. In 12 to 24 months, the exposed timber begins to warp. The once fabulous deck has become an eyesore. How do you stop this happening? We will walk you through why timber warps, how to prevent warping and what to do if you timber is already warped.

Why wood warps:

Warping occurs when the moisture content in wood changes unevenly. In damp or rainy conditions, moisture is absorbed into the wood causing swelling. When timber dries, it shrinks. With every wet and dry cycle this process is repeated. When one part of a timber board dries and consequently shrinks faster than another area, the wood is stressed and warping occurs. Weather exposure and poor ventilation contribute to warping.

How to prevent warping:

Firstly, it is important to choose the right timber species for your project. Different timbers have different properties and densities, which effect colour, texture, grain and durability. If longevity is required and the timber exposed, it is best to choose a durable hardwood.

Second, ensure the timber is well ventilated. Timber structures that are close to the ground with poor ventilation are more susceptible to warping.

Third, protect the wood with a timber coating. A penetrating oil like CUTEK® protects wood from the inside out. It works by penetrating deeply into the timber to repel moisture. It also helps to stabilise wood, preventing cupping, splitting and warping.

What to do if your wood is already warped:

If minor warping has occurred, it is possible to extend the service life of your timber. Sanding is required to remove protruding edges and flatten the timber surface. After this, it is essential the timber is protected. CUTEK® is a recommend choice for enhancing the dimensional stability of timber and providing long-term protection against warping. Diffusing deeply, CUTEK® oil remains active inside the wood to repel moisture. When traditional wood care products, that form a film around the timber, breakdown (crack or peel), moisture is able to absorb into the timber and wood once again is subject to warping. Being a penetrating oil, rather than a film-forming product, CUTEK® does not crack or peel, making it the professional’s choice for timber protection.

Unfortunately, if timber is severely warped, full replacement is required. Be sure to choose the right timber species and apply a CUTEK® timber oil to ensure warping does not wreak havoc again.