DIY projects that involve woodwork have always been my favorite. The material is versatile, and the sheer variety makes it possible to experiment with design and arrangements.
However, some woods are more susceptible to damage than others, especially when exposed to external elements like soil. Hence, you need to know about the best wood for ground contact before you start working.
Please note that they are generally at a lower risk of elemental damage. Thus, you won’t need to worry about this topic when creating indoor furniture. Overall, this blog will help direct you towards the suitable raw materials for making items to place outdoors.
Why You Need to Be Selective About Wood Type
Wood is a generally sturdy material, but it also has a few weaknesses. You need to be careful when choosing a wood type for outdoor items because of elemental exposure. For example, you might want to place your outdoor dining furniture in the garden to enjoy sunny and peaceful days.
However, some wood types are sensitive to external elements and soil and are not the right fit for outdoors. Following are the primary problem that can occur when you use the wrong wood type:
1. Moisture Absorption
Soil has natural moisture trapping and retention properties. Therefore, placing wooden objects on it would also put the wood in contact with moisture. The problem is that several wood types naturally absorb water quickly and expand, thus distorting their shape and quality.
Hence, it is critical to use woods resistant to moisture absorption and can sustain on soil and humid weather.
Termites are wood-eating insects that thrive outdoors. They act swiftly, eating their way to the inside of the wooden structure, causing it to become weak and hollow from within. Termite infestation can quickly destroy your furniture and spread to other objects inside the house.
Therefore, it is best to take precautions and use wood resistant to infestation. Of course, once the infestation starts, you’ll need professional help to get rid of the termites.
Fungi are microorganisms that grow in places abundant in moisture. Moss, mold, yeasts, and mushrooms are typical examples, and you have likely seen a few growing in the wild. The problem with fungi is that not all are harmless, and they typically erode the material they grow on.
Moist wood is a common location for such growth, and such problems often occur when you leave wooden objects on the ground or soil. If you use the incorrect wood, it will absorb moisture. The fungus will eventually use this moisture to grow, destroying the object.
Some fungi are also hazardous to health so an infestation can cause health concerns. The best solution is to use wood that can resist moisture and fungal growth.
Best Wood for Ground Contact
You now know why you need to be careful when selecting raw materials when making outdoor items. Hence, let’s look at some of the best woods for the purpose.
Cypress trees are often planted for beautification, but did you know they are a good choice for creating outdoor furniture? Cypress wood is rich in oil content, making it resistant to moisture and rot. Therefore, using the wood as a raw material for your woodwork project can increase the item’s durability on the ground.
Redwood trees are famous for their remarkably gigantic heights and are a sight to behold. But their appearance isn’t their only strength. Redwood is naturally resistant to insects and moisture, thus keeping it safe against the most common issues outdoors.
However, redwood is not readily available. The trees take a long time to grow, so there are governmental restrictions about people cutting them down for commercial profits.
3. Western Red Cedar
Western red cedar is a popular softwood and is part of the cypress family. Softwoods are generally good at moisture and insect resistance, but western red cedars are more proficient. Their higher resistance results from tannins, making them the perfect wood for creating outdoor structures like patios, fences, furniture, etc.
Teak is one of the most premium hardwoods and a popular choice for high-quality doors, furniture, and other wooden installations inside and outside the house. The reason is that teak contains natural oils that protect it against moisture, allowing it t avoid unnecessary water absorption.
Hence, items made from teak are less likely to become damaged when placed on the ground.
These four wood types are the best for creating outdoor structures. Although all are proficient for the role, I think teak is the best wood for ground contact. This wood is exceptionally durable and hard and lasts for years with essential maintenance.
The only problem is that it is also premium priced, so you’ll need to spend a little extra to use it.
How to Treat Wood for Ground Contact
Getting suitable wood is essential, but you need to take a few additional steps to enhance protection against moisture, rot, and insects.
- Step 1– Apply a water sealer suitable for wooden objects. Spray the first coat, wait for it to become absorbed and dry, and then apply a second coat with a brush or roller. Give the second coat about an hour or two to become absorbed and dry.
- Step 2– Repeat the process mentioned above with termite treatment agents. The only difference is that you’ll need to wear safety gear to avoid inhaling toxic fumes.
- Step 3– Use roofing tar to cover any areas that need to go below ground (in the soil). The extra layer helps increase protection to the relevant area.
- Step 4– Wait for everything to dry before you put the wood to use. Ideally, you should wait for at least 24 hours for process completion.
Our Final Thoughts
I hope you found the guide about the best wood for ground contact informative. I also recommend that you consult the seller when buying because they will help you choose an option that’s best for the climate conditions of your region.