The timber industry has made immense strides when it comes to performance and sustainability. Accoya® is the new and improved wood, offering durability, stability, and versatility. Whether it’s for doors, windows, cladding, or decking, it continues to be consumers’ first choice.
As its popularity increases, more questions about Accoya® arise. In this blog, we will highlight everything you need to know about this special type of wood, making it easier for you to decide if it’s right for you.
What is Accoya® Wood?
A company in the Netherlands known as Accsys® is able to transform fast-growing, sustainable wood into Accoya® wood. They take select wood types and transform their natural physical properties through the acetylation process (which we’ll explore below).
What is Acetylation?
Acetylation is the process of preventing the cells in wood from being able to absorb water. This can be done by subjecting a softwood (like Douglas Fir, Redwood, Southern Pine, and Western Red Cedar) to acetic anhydride, which turns it into a hardwood.
This special production process alters the cell structure of wood. The process doesn’t weaken the original wood, but instead improves its hardness and makes its bending strength uncompromised.
Unmodified wood contains free hydroxyl groups that absorb and release water as weather conditions change. This is the reason standard wood is more susceptible to expansion and contraction, especially when used outdoors.
After this treatment takes place, acetyl groups (hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon chemicals) are created within the wood from the acetylation process, which changes the structure of the existing free hydroxyl groups.
Acetylated Wood Process
So how exactly does this treatment work? The acetylation process can be broken down into six steps:
- Rough sawn sustainable wood is soaked in acetic anhydride.
- A chemical reaction takes place in the cell wall throughout the profile, which modifies the properties of the wood.
- Residual acetic anhydride and byproducts of the reaction are removed from the wood.
- Acetylated wood is quality checked.
- Acetic anhydride is recycled and used in future production batches.
- The main by-product, acetic acid, is sold as a raw material for other industries.
Once the wood goes through the entire acetylation process, it’s ready to be put to use. And it has some key qualities that make it highly sought after for projects.
There are many reasons why people favor this type of wood. The acetylation process strengthens the wood so it offers better performance, sustainability, durability, and more.
In terms of performance, Accoya® is known for its reliability. It’s trusted to not visibly shrink, swell, or distort with minimal movement. It also withstands the test of any climate and is highly rot-resistant. Best of all, it will stay this way in the long run, allowing you to enjoy your wood for years to come.
By only using timber from FSC-certified forests, the manufacturer can prove its supplies are managed in an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable manner. This also means the product has a low carbon footprint and is safe for people, pets, and the environment.
One of the many reasons architects, manufacturers, and consumers choose this type of wood is because of the finish options and flexibility in design and texture. This wood is known for its beautiful and long-lasting coatings. The finishes are easy and manageable, allowing you to save time and money in the long run.
Softwood species are coniferous trees that are usually produced in plantations. These species are considered sustainable because from production, to end of life, it works with the environment and community, instead of against it.
Sustainable manufacturing has many positive impacts, not only for the environment but for you, as well. There are a few different ways to ensure your timber is sustainable.
Obtaining a certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is one of the main ways to prove this. Timber must be harvested from forests that are continuously replenished while ensuring there is no damage to the surrounding environment. This is what sets sustainable wood apart.
Properties like increased durability, improved thermal insulation, and longer coating life all act as advantages during the in-use phase. Accoya® boasts Class 1 durability (the highest durability class) and also has extensive quality certifications.
Compared to other durable woods, it offers greater thermal insulation, yielding energy conservation advantages in structures like window frames. In addition, its superior stability means less frequent coatings and maintenance.
End of Life
This wood is a non-toxic product, making it fully biodegradable. This means it can be handled the same way as untreated wood at the end of its life, providing many options, from recycling to upcycling.
It may seem relatively expensive upfront, but because of its many benefits, you may save money in the long run. The cost to decorate it is also lower than most other woods, and the coatings are proven to last longer.
The initial price may seem daunting, but you can find relief in looking at the bigger picture. Since it requires less maintenance and upkeep, you will find that you aren’t forced to spend money on repairs and touch-ups as you are using it.
Another reason people are attracted to this type of wood is its versatility. It can work well for many different types of structures. Some of the most common uses are:
- Windows and Garage Doors
- Siding, Facades, and Shutters
Whether you choose to use it for a small or large project, this particular type of wood carries the reputation of being one of the best choices when it comes to timber.