Defect and decay in timber: 9 Causes and How to prevent

Defect and decay in timber: There are some differences between defect and decay in timber. Wood defect and decay are two different things, but one depends on the other. There are some basic reasons that work behind different types of wood defects for example various irregularities in the structure of the tree from the time of transplantation to the time of survival and growth. Besides, wood defects occur if the wood is not seasoned.

Defect and decay in timber

Most of the defects can occur in natural and artificial living conditions. Also, abnormal growth of the tree is one of these defects. Different knots, underlying bark, various cracks, etc., reduces the usability of wood and reduces the selling and buying price of wood. Actually, different types of decay are the result of tree defects.

After cutting down a living tree, various types of decay, erosion, or destruction occur, which break down the wood’s quality. It takes time and a favorable environment for wood to begin to rot. Otherwise, the durability of wood can be many years. However, wood decay is a long-term, slow-moving continuous process. And for this, the weather, different types of fungi, insects, and spiders play a significant role.

There is some decay in the wood that can’t be seen from above, but you can determine it as a powder-like, or wood foam or tiny pores when it is taken for use. Or there are various spots on the wood. There are different types of fungi, molds, and different kinds of insects like weeds, ants, beetles, etc., that work for wood decay. Insects attack and decay wood in a short time.

Conditions that develop wood decay

There is no eternal thing on earth. Wood is also not a permanent object. A suitable environment and the absence of proper wood maintenance facilitate wood decay in a short time. There are some environmental conditions that help in accelerating wood decay briefly discussed below:

1. The amount of water particles in the wood is high: High amount of water in timber is one of the great reasons for wood decay. You should season/dry the timber completely after cutting and collecting the tree. Otherwise, defect or decay will take place in wood within a short time.

2. Lack of necessary ventilation: Wet decay takes place in the wood, if the wood cannot be ventilated freely during construction or warehousing, it can cause serious damage to wood.

3. When the wood is kept in a wet and dry place in phases: After the wood is used for construction or warehousing, if the dry place is changed again in this way, the wood will be severely damaged.

4. Temperature change: As the temperature changes, the cell walls in the wood change, i.e., contraction and expansion reduce the bond between the fibers in the wood and cause it to decay in a short time.

5. Combined lack of heat and moisture: Sudden transfer of wood from the aquatic space to the thermal place causes drying and abandonment of water particles in the timber and accelerates the decay or destruction of the wood.

6. Not using preservatives: Not using the right preservatives or not using preservatives at all and using wood for construction can lead to the rapid decay of wood.

7. Use of preservatives in non-seasoned wood: Applying preservatives to wet or moist wood can cause the wood to decay in a short time.

8. Fungal Attacks: Attacks of different types of fungi can result in various types of decay, stains, and erosion on the wood and can destroy the wood in a short time.

9. Attack various types of insects on wood: Insects often choose wood as food and habitat, resulting in wood decay.

How to prevent wood decay

Engineers take some special care to prevent wood decay in construction work which are given as follows.

  1. Design or select a proper site for wood use in construction to protect from adverse reactions of heat, weather, and water particles. 
  2. Make sure that the wood does not come in contact with the soil. 
  3. Although it has to be used in contact with the soil, coat the wood properly with wood preservatives and protect from various decay or corrosion, including dry and wet decay.
  4. You should ensure appropriate seasoning and the required number of coatings have been applied on the surface and inner surface of the wood to protect it from rain and storms. 
  5. If a plank of wood is to be used with metal or iron or with limestone, it is better not to use it in contact with iron or limestone; And if you have to use it, you should use the necessary preservatives
  6. If any structure decay, it should be removed quickly and replanted. Otherwise, an accident could happen at any time. 
  7. You should closely monitor all types of timber in construction work and immediately take effective action to detect decay or destruction.

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