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Warping & Splitting – Cause For Concern Or Natural Process?

Instructions from joinery and door manufacturers can include statements something like this:

“Prevent wood warping by keeping it in a well-ventilated area, elevated off the ground, in a dry location, and not exposed to direct sunlight.”

It is understandable if this statement is read to wonder how on earth a timber garden building will fare; the only condition that is met is that it will be well ventilated, we are breaking all the other rules like soaking from rain, sunlight etc!

Our gazebo shelters are made from solid oak hardwood or pressure treated softwoods and please don’t be concerned as they will last for decades in the outside. It is good however to explain the tendency of timber to split and warp as it ages in a bit more detail and how we work with this.

We have included a handy explainer video from the Honest Carpenter below:

Timber gazebo with sides on a patio in a private garden.
Hot Tub Gazebo 2m x 2m Image

Timber is a great building material that is light, strong, and easy to work with, being a natural material that is full of sap and water when part of the tree, the drying process can be uneven and the deforming causes warping and splitting. Rapid or uneven changes of moisture and temperature can be especially problematic.

To some extent this is dealt with by pressure treatment of timber. The wood is put into a vacuum chamber that removes the air and majority of moisture from the pores of the timber and then forces chemical preservatives into the depths of the wood.

This hugely helps in reducing rot, insect attack, and deformation but some swelling and shrinking is still entirely natural. We think the best way to think about it is a sponge that is full of water, timber is as high as 50% water when in the tree, if you squeeze a sponge as hard as you can, there is still some water within it.

Your hot tub shelter’s timber can vary in colour and swell or shrink whereby cracks occur. This is to be expected and as the inner core of the wood dries, they will close again.

Our products are made for the Great British weather and some cracks and swelling are part of the natural essence of the timber; they are not anything to worry about and won’t spoil your enjoyment! 

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