Five Exciting Updates In The Oregon Timber Industry

If you are thinking about using Oregon timber in your next building project, you may want to hear about updates in the timber industry. From a number of perspectives including functionality, treatment and harvesting, the timber industry is constantly improving.

Here is a look at a few of the most exciting things that are happening in the timber industry:  

1. Cross-Laminated Timber Panels

Instead of the classic Oregon timber beams and floorboards that builders have used for years, many people are looking into something new – cross-laminated timber. Abbreviated CLT, cross-laminated timber is bits of timber pressed into sheets of laminate.

Those sheets can be manufactured into prefabricated panels. Once ready, these panels can be shipped directly to the building site and made into a structure. There is no need to worry about construction debris at the work site, and the prefabricated panels make building fast and easy, especially in remote areas that can handle a delivery but not a lot of machinery.

2. Engineered Oregon Timber Flooring

In addition to pre-fabricated panels that can be used to create almost any structure, many manufacturers are forming timber into precision-milled engineered flooring. These Oregon timber floor boards feature shapes that snap neatly into the piece of timber next to them. Once snapped together, these floor boards can be directly installed over almost type of flooring.

To ensure the floor is sturdy and long lasting, the flooring can be UV-cured. It can also have a scratch-resistant coating and a top layer that allows you to sand and refinish the floor as needed to extend its life.

3. Safer Timber Treatment Strategies

Whether you opt to buy an engineered timber floor or large timber planks to make an outdoor playground for your child, you need to pay attention to how the timber is sealed. In the past, most timber was treated with copper chromium arsenic (CCA). Although useful for sealing the wood and preserving it from potential termite attacks, this type of treatment can be toxic. After years of its use, environmentalists have discovered that Oregon timber treated with CCA leaches arsenic into soil. Arsenic can be deadly, and from the soil, it can affect people as well as animals and groundwater.

Luckily, timber specialists have come up with new ways to seal timber. New sealants include Ammoniacal Copper Quat (ACQ) and Copper Azole (CA). Both of these sealants have been exhaustively tested by scientists for both their efficacy and their toxicity.  

4. Increased Forester Training And Licensing

Oregon timber is grown primarily in Oregon, but it is also grown on timber plantations in New Zealand and some parts of Australia. Unfortunately, many people hired to work in the timber industry are unskilled and untrained workers who may not have experience with timber. Workers who are not experienced in the forestry industry may lose a great deal of the tree as they chop it down. That inexperience wastes precious resources and makes the entire industry less sustainable.

Luckily, states such as Tasmania that have a lot of timber plantations now have operator assessment and licensing schemes. Schemes like these increase training, and they also offer foresters' tools to audit their workplace to ensure efficacy and training.

5. Upgraded Certification Standards

A forestry oversight organisation that certifies over 400 million acres of forests round the world has just updated its certification standards. In order to be certified as green by this organisation, forests and plantations need to meet certain sustainability standards including harvesting methods, regrowth and other elements.

Some environmentalists complain that the updated standards do not go far enough. Regardless of those opinions, however, the improved standards do more than they were doing in the past. Consumers, as a result, can rest assured that the world's timber is being harvested more sustainably than it was.