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Making sure your timber is in tip-top condition

Wooden doors and windows add value to any building. They look good and are environmentally efficient. Well-made joinery that is treated carefully during construction and regularly maintained afterwards will continue to give pleasure for the life of the building.

Preparation: I am the original Mr “Planning and Preparation” guy, as planning and preparation are vital to prevent problems during construction and later. There are several key elements to consider:

All too often frames arrive glazed and the builder is far too keen to get them built in, leading to problems later down the road. Credit: sxc

Choice of timber: External timber is often exposed to high temperatures, UV radiation and wide humidity variations. Most un-protected timber will quickly react. The wood cells swell when moisture is absorbed, and then shrink on drying. Joints open up, and the timber cracks, warps and splits. The choice of a more durable and stable timber can help, and is recommended when the budget allows.

Storage: There should be somewhere to store the joinery on site when it arrives. This should be under cover in a dry, well-ventilated area where it will not have to be moved before installation, other than for sealing or painting.

Doors should be stored flat. They should be laid on level well-supported bearers that are wider than the doors, and there should be at least three bearers per door. Bearers on top of doors should be immediately above the ones below. Avoid scratching the timber.

If you are planning a solid timber floor, I recommend you let the timber lie in the area where it will be laid for at least four weeks, preferably six, to acclimatise before laying it.

Tip of the week: My wife and I spent last weekend with friends in Denysville in the Free State, where they have just built their dream retirement home. I was impressed with the standard of building.

A visit to friends is never complete without a glass or two of red wine, and this trip was no different. Allan went to great lengths to explain why you should never go anywhere without a magnet. On a trip to the UK, he dropped his rental car keys in a canal, walked in to the local hardware shop and asked for help. No problem said the assistant, it happens all the time. With that he was handed a large magnet and told to go fishing. - Weekend Argus

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