The raw material wood
Wood is becoming increasingly popular.
Spectacular structures like the Expo canopy in Hanover bear witness to this. The number of halls and bridges made of constructional timber, as well as the number of wooden houses, is constantly growing.
In gardens and landscaping, wood products show their versatility. Wooden play and playground equipment represent diversity, naturalness and warmth. Patio surfaces of local timbers create an atmosphere of relaxation and comfort around your home.
Wood-based materials are indispensible for the building trade and the packaging and furniture industries.
There are very few materials as versatile as wood and this is particularly true for garden and landscaping applications.
Whether for fencing and screen elements, play equipment and sheds, palisades and flower bed edging, pergolas and pavilions, terraces and balconies, but also for noise protection shields or avalanche barriers, observation towers and utility masts or for landing stages and groynes, wood is used everywhere, thanks to its versatility. Though optical features have a significant role to play, wood can also offer a range of outstanding technical qualities such as high strength at low specific weight, good heat insulation and good workability. Given the right protection, the usually low durability wood types used in outdoor applications can be put to versatile and long-term uses in gardens and landscaping.
For outdoor play equipment (play ground apparatus), the safety requirements are the main focus. This is reflected in the great number of norms and standards that regulate safety requirements for wooden play ground equipment. Correctly applied and protected, indigenous timbers such pine and spruce are used in play equipment, and the imagination of manufacturers knows no limits, as long as the standards are observed. Besides the classical swings, slides and sand pits, ever more complex and creative equipment gives children the chance to indulge in physical activity and have great fun. Where better can children learn to appreciate and understand wood than in the forest – or on their play areas?
Wood is playing an ever more prominent role in garden design. No longer limited to fences and palisades, its uses now included sight and wind screen elements, pergolas and pavilions, terraces and garden furniture. There is a great variety on offer, not only in the design of the products but also in quality. But what all types of low durability, local timbers used for garden applications ought to have in common is a sound basic treatment (vacuum pressure impregnation) to provide lasting protection against the effects of the elements. Over time, the effects of the weather turn both indigenous and tropical timbers grey. Regular care with suitable maintenance products will ensure the wood retains its natural beauty for a long time.
The term “wood-based materials” usually stands for panel-shaped products made from various intermediate products gained from wood. The best known products of this type in Europe are most easily categorised under the terms “plywood”, “flake board” and “fibre board”.
In their applications, a general differentiation is made between those used in the construction industry (mostly static load carrying) and those used in furniture and packaging (non-load or low-load carrying). Countless new developments – mainly from America and Scandinavia – now mean the above categorisation is no longer accurate. Besides the traditional panel-shaped materials, pole or beam-shaped materials or composite products, like I-girders, have now been developed to make up for the decreasing availability of high quality solid wood or veneer wood.
The following pages are intended to give a rough overview of the most important wood-based materials in Europe, which we have divided in to three main groups:
Particle and fibre board based materials can, in principle, be manufactured endlessly on continuous presses, though subsequent processing and transport limits the panel sizes normally to approx. 5.60 m x 2.6 m.
Depending on the wood type and application in the particular building, wood-based materials should be protected against attack by wood-destroying organisms. Information on the protective treatment of wood-based materials can be found here.