Why The Weather Is So Harsh On Untreated Wood Products

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When left untreated, wood’s condition can quickly deteriorate into weathered, and degraded.


Wood is one of the oldest building materials there is. It’s strong and sturdy, and in many ways, ideal.

Wood is renewable, and it can be carved or joined to create elaborate structures. Wood can also be flexible, which means that it can move with the wind, and even absorb earth tremors. Wood –when used properly and maintained correctly can be a long lasting and durable material.

Unfortunately though, wood isn’t immune from damage caused by the elements. Excessive heat and moisture can be especially hard on untreated wood, causing it to decay and rot, or crack and warp.

When moisture creeps into untreated wood products, it can cause a host of problems. Excessive heat can also cause damage. If you have untreated wood products, here’s what you should know about untreated wood, and preventing it from damage caused by the elements.


Excessive Moisture

When the moisture content in wood exceeds beyond its Fiber Saturation Point (FSP), usually around 30 percent water content, the wood becomes susceptible to rot. Wet wood also creates a prime condition for mold and mildew to grow.


  • Decay and Rot

In order for wood to decay there must be four main components – moisture, oxygen, heat, and food –the wood itself. Wood that is left in the elements –untreated, can decay quickly. The weather can wreak havoc on your untreated wood products if they aren’t properly maintained.


  • Mold and Mildew

The same conditions that need to be present for rot and decay are also required for mold and mildew to grow. Since lumber naturally contains moisture, when left in the sun, it can quickly start growing mold and mildew. Simply drying wood isn’t enough to prevent mold from growing –because the first rainstorm will reintroduce the untreated wood to moisture, starting the process again.


Excessive Heat

While it’s common knowledge that too much moisture can cause wood damage, many people are unaware that hot weather can also cause damage.


  • Warping

When wood loses or gains moisture, it can warp. Most people probably know this to be true with excessively wet wood –but the same can be true for wood that has been dried too much, left in the sun too long, or even simply stored in the garage. Ask anyone who’s ever stored lumber in their garage, and returned to find their perfectly straight boards, warped. As moisture leaves the wood, the board changes shape –causing warping.


  • Cracking

Cracking is also a possibility in extremely hot temperatures. When the moisture is taken out of the wood, cracking can occur. Wood that hasn’t been properly dried or treated can crack in extreme temperatures.


Regardless of your climate, and the weather conditions that your untreated wood is subjected to, taking proper precautions can go a long way in preventing your wood from becoming degraded. When left untreated, wood can become significantly damaged, and its condition can quickly deteriorate.

With the right cleaner, you can restore and revitalize weathered wood surfaces to their original appearance –without the need for harsh scrubbing or pressure washing. Look for cleaning products that are powerful, and non-toxic –ones that are specifically designed for eliminating mold stains and revitalizing wood.

Weather can be harsh on untreated wood –so take precautions, and never let the damage go unchecked. Make sure you perform proper routine maintenance and tackle problems such as mold and mildew at the first sign of trouble.


How do you tackle mold and mildew on your untreated wood? Share your cleaning tips with us in the comments!


Image: James Walsh

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