Abbey Woods, for good times at home in the great outdoors

Abbey Woods, for good times at home in the great outdoors

Hardwood cladding on garden office, just one of  the range of innovative uses of natural materials by specialist timber company Abbey Woods.

With the summer holiday season disrupted due to the impact of coronavirus, many people have opted to stay at home. Statistics show that over half of adults are unlikely to go on holiday at all this year and four out of five are unlikely to go abroad.

With time at home on the cards for many then, and some particularly good Irish weather, it looks like it’s time to spruce up that garden and consider some of the new-norms the Covid-19 crisis has driven us to adopt.

Decking is always high on the list of improvements when it comes to the garden space, from dining areas to pathways, sun terraces to verandas.

The choice of materials is sometimes baffling, and this is where Abbey Woods come in to help. With a product range that stretches from stain, scratch and slip resistant ‘wood plastic’ composite decking in a number of colours, through the market leading Millboard decking, which is moulded from oak with a hand tinted surface for a truly convincing appearance, all the way on to real wood decking in various softwood and hardwood variants, all the options are available to you.

Public garden benches made from Accoya.
Public garden benches made from Accoya.

But nowadays the garden isn’t just for play - for some it’s a workplace too. With many people having endured months of working from spare bedrooms or the kitchen table, the popularity of garden buildings for use as home offices has boomed.

No longer are people satisfied with she-sheds or man-caves created out of the old garden shed. Instead, the trend towards fully equipped garden rooms used for all purposes from offices to bedrooms, gyms, even spare living accommodation has led to homeowners looking for materials that will last, whilst looking their best.

Cladding for these garden buildings is not only key to their appearance, but also their lifespan. The choice of cladding, like decking, is almost endless.

Antiqued Oak garden pergola, Abbey Woods.
Antiqued Oak garden pergola, Abbey Woods.

For a traditional look with excellent durability, you could opt for cedar, larch or iroko, either as shingles or ready profiled planks awaiting a stain or coating.

However, for something even more historic, yet seemingly modern, many people are now looking at Shou-Sugi-Ban, named for the ancient Japanese art of charring timer.

This finish was originally used by Japanese fishermen who would char the timber of their huts to release the resins, providing additional natural protection against the elements.

Shou-Sugi-Ban charred cladding.
Shou-Sugi-Ban charred cladding.

Nowadays, our customers mostly choose this trendy finish based upon its visual appeal, especially when cladding products such as Accoya timber already offer such outstanding lifespans on their own.

Accoya timber is a unique, naturally modified softwood, that acts like a hardwood. So much so, that it comes with a warranty of up to 50 YEARS! It even gets a 25-year warranty when buried in the ground.

Outdoor kitchen made from Medite Tricoya Extreme. Abbey Woods.
Outdoor kitchen made from Medite Tricoya Extreme. Abbey Woods.

Sustainably sourced timber is treated with a very scientific-sounding process called acetylation, changing the cell structure of the timber so that it doesn’t retain water and therefore doesn’t rot. Whilst this may sound high-tech, the theory is actually very simple, and something that most of us will have experienced or even used before.

Stick with this – here’s the science bit. The process of acetylation involves treating the wood at high temperature and high pressure with a natural chemical called Acetic Anhydride.

Driftwood weathered texture, Abbey Woods.
Driftwood weathered texture, Abbey Woods.

Still sounds scientific, huh? OK, let’s break that down a little. Acetic acid (the main active component in Acetic Anhydride) is the main ingredient in vinegar. If you remember hardening conkers when you were young, what did you do? Soak them in vinegar and bake them in the oven. That’s pretty much what has happened to Accoya, just on a larger scale. Effectively the wood is pickled and heated like a conker!

It’s available in all common sizes and looks and feels just like regular wood. It just lasts a whole lot longer.

Planter made from Medite Tricoya Extreme with Accoya, from Abbey Woods.
Planter made from Medite Tricoya Extreme with Accoya, from Abbey Woods.

A wealth of wonderful uses

So, how can you use it? You name it! We’ve mentioned cladding, but it’s also perfect for making outdoor furniture, planters, garden screens, fascias and soffits and outdoor kitchens - the list goes on.

Whilst we’re talking about outdoor kitchens, there are some remarkable panel products available nowadays too, which enable homeowners and landscape professionals alike to do some truly incredible things.

Products like Medite Tricoya Extreme use the same process of modification as Accoya wood, but in an MDF sheet form. Yes, MDF outside, which still has a warranty of 50 years, or 25 years in contact with soil. Perfect for those outdoor kitchen doors and carcasses, but also ideal for planters, edgings etc, where contact with the soil won’t harm the panel.

So where can you go for all these amazing products? Abbey Woods, your local timber people. Firmly rooted in the Cork community, Abbey Woods have been supplying Hardwood and Softwood Timber, Decking, Claddings, Worktops and Wood Components to homeowners and tradesmen alike since 1997.

If you’re looking to freshen up your garden, or maybe expand your living space, give Abbey Woods a call.

They’ll know what to do! www.abbeywoods.ie

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