When most people hear the word “durability” in relation to wood, they immediately think of its ability to withstand dents and scrapes. However, in this context it specifically refers to a wood’s ability to resist elemental and natural forces of decay. (The former notion of durability equating to physical toughness would be better explored through Janka hardness and Modulus of Rupture values.)
Degradation of wood can occur from fungus (caused by cycles of rain/moisture), or from termites or other boring/destructive insects. An overall chart defining the terms used to describe a wood’s durability in direct ground contact:
|Classification||Service Life (in +years)||Wood species
|Very Durable||50+||Bangkirai (*), Merbau|
|Moderately Durable||15-25||Nyatoh, Kempas
|Perishable||less than 5||We do not use|
(*) Bangkirai heartwood (not susceptible to termites) will last 100+ years
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is what is the life expectancy of a timber frame home from prefabricated elements.
The classic timber frame homes have lived whole centuries. The current quality timber frame houses and the prefab houses as their successors are based on the advantages and durability of a range of materials, so the house as a system can function safely for a long period of time
A research conducted by the University of Leipzig in 2002 shows that traditionally built houses from brick are no better regarding durability and life expectancy than timber frame homes. According to the research for the last 40 years the characteristics and elements of timber prefab houses are significantly improved and they are good to inhabit at least 80 years - depending on the maintenance performed by their owners. Their technical life with a normal maintenance can be even 150 - 200 years.
In addition to the length of time the wood can physically maintain its structural integrity, there’s also the matter of a wood’s weathering characteristics. Weathering can’t be as clearly expressed in a single number or measurement, but overall, woods with good weathering characteristics exhibit limited photo-degradation (caused by UV rays in sunlight), as well as above-average resistance to contraction and expansion, warping, and surface checking due to seasonal changes in temperature and humidity.
Because of this vague definition, only woods that have notably good weathering characteristics are used by us. Bangkirai ane Merbau are noted for both its excellent durability and its superb weathering characteristics.