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Learn about Thermally Modified Wood Decking

Thermally Modified Wood Decking

Thermally modified decking is decking made of wood that has been heated to 400°F (180 °C) in the absence of oxygen, a process called pyrolysis. This process changes the chemical structure of cell walls, comprised of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. What you get is a wood product that is naturally durable and resistant to water, insects, mold, and decay.

Thermally modified decking is weather-resistant and generally lasts up to 30 years, while decking made from pressure-treated wood can erode metal and lose stability. Thermally modified wood is a non-toxic alternative to lumber that is commonly treated with chemical preservatives that emit volatile organic compounds.

Thermally modified wood stands up to changes in temperature and moisture better than other types of wood decking. If properly maintained, thermally modified decking won’t lose structural integrity due to rotting or warping. Unsealed or unfinished thermally modified wood loses its color (grays) more quickly than other types of wood, so be sure to check the product specs before buying. Your deck’s color can be restored and preserved by treating it with an oil-based preservative. Look for a non-toxic, high-performance wood protector with a UV inhibitor and tint, if desired. A thermally modified wood deck should be sealed every 3-5 years.

Thermally modified wood is a non-toxic wood alternative to pressure-treated wood. You can feel good about your family interacting with a chemical-free deck or swing set made of thermally modified wood. Its moisture resistance and durability make it an attractive alternative to composite decking for homeowners who prefer to avoid plastic.

Thermal modification technology is used in the guitar-making industry. The process, often called “roasted” “Thermo curing” or “baked”, prevents warping and cracking along the soundboard and fretboard. Some musicians also find that the process helps new acoustic guitars sound “well broken in”.