Robert Hall investigates how manufacturers like Swallow Greenhouses are beginning to invest in Thermowood (Thermally Modified Wood) and analyses what this might mean for the UK garden buildings market.
It was on Monday the 27th October 2014 that I got an email out of the blue from Howard Roberts at Swallow Greenhouses GB saying
"We are introducing Thermally modified buildings. Called Thermowood. This product is excellent..."
So with great excitement, I called him to find out more about this product and what it will mean to the UK greenhouse and garden buildings market.
Swallow Greenhouses are one of the leading independent garden building companies in the UK, specialising in the manufacture and installation of quality timber greenhouses, which are delivered and installed in the United Kingdom. They have grown their range rapidly in recent years, and with good reason.
View the range of Swallow Thermally Modified Greenhouses at GardenSite.co.uk.
Quote: "Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse too." William Cowper - English Poet
What is Thermally Modified Wood
Howard described how wood is modified by a process of being heated (baked) to 250 degrees in a special oven with the doors closed and the air pumped out. According to Howard the process kills the proteins and resins and shrinks the capillaries within the wood. He then used the analogy of a piece of bread and a toaster, to describe how the wood is changed to become stronger, just like a piece of toast after it has been toasted.
The Benefits of Thermowood
- Has high durability
- Has excellent finish
- Is insect and mould repellent (no chemical preservatives required)
- Is environmentally friendly (no need to treat the product)
- Has no resin bleed
- Shrinking and swelling is reduced up to 90%
- Warping is reduced to a minimum
- Does not expand or contract
- Makes painting easier (similar to painting metal)
- Thermal qualities are improved
The Future For Wooden Garden Buildings
In the UK it is currently used for cladding large commercial buildings and commercial decking but Swallow Greenhouses are the first company to put it into the UK domestic greenhouse market. It will be interesting to see if any other UK garden building manufacturers adopt this type of wood, I will keep you updated.