Preserving Natural Timber

Board, Hardwood, Brown, Carpentry

As a long overdue follow up to a previous article I introduced pertaining to the treatment of lumber using an allegedly all natural Cedar Oil established product, I’m now in a position and sufficiently confident to report my findings in the research I’ve done so far on what can only be referred to by me as a much improved version of the preceding product.

A business colleague and close friend of mine, Jeffrey Hartman has worked with and researched the Cedar Oil based timber treatment fluid for many years now. He initially bought it from Texas in routine shipments made up of fifty five gallon drums. Jeffrey and I felt that although this item was good, it could be further refined and possibly improved upon. The original product lacked back up documentation, formal registrations and any industry awareness by the general public, nor did it have some real accountability or authenticity with regard to laboratory controlled testing and so forth. These issues were destined to be altered and to achieve these changes, a slow and long process was started in conjunction with some controlled formula tests and changes until eventually, after all the variables and collateral criteria had been addressed and satisfied, a newly designed crystal clear product bottle and fresh brand name were started and enrolled as Hartman’s Perma Shield TM. It’s packaged and available in 1 gallon, 2.5 gallon and 5 gallon containers.

This is where I can provide you with specific details of my own personal testing of the all natural Perma Shield product. My property is located near Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and to the back of my home I have a large areal timber deck which sits over a ravine and in the midst of quite tall mature trees and a great deal of bushes and ferns. This deck faces north and enjoys a seasonal view of the Rocky Mountains across the Fraser River. In the fall of 2011, I eliminated the vast majority of my present painted deck rails and spindles, most of which were revealing bare wood and rotting badly. The structural articles were still structurally sound other than just one which I also replaced using pre treated lumber. As you can imagine, the humidity and general moisture levels around this deck are both high and somewhat extreme. However, instead of renewing the 2 x 6 hand railings and 2 x 4 spindles in pre treated lumber, I decided to use the common SPF white timber commonly found in the big box store suppliers. This was a deliberate choice on my part because I knew from my experience of living here after literally every winter, the paint could be pealed in my hand railings and many of the spindles even although each Spring I had implemented a primer and at least two coats of good quality professional grade paint to all. I wanted to construct my railings in white timber and treat them all using the new Perma Shield product as a critical product test in what I consider to be extreme conditions. During the Spring and Summer months the deck gets direct sunshine in the early morning and then day and evenings.

To start with I constructed the new bottom rails, spindles and top rails, again using 2 x 6 to top rails and the standard 2 x 4 to the spindles. Upon completion of the construction work, I chose a nice sunny day with little wind and I proceeded to prepare the new wood by applying cold water misting out of my garden hose. I only worked on one segment ( Approximately three 8 foot panels ) at a time otherwise the water could be dried out before I could apply the Perma Shield. I then proceeded to brush on a reasonably even coating of this product to all surfaces, using a heavier application to the very best areas of each spindle in which their end grain is facing upwards. I repeated the process with the different areas of new rails, first the mist and then the item until all surfaces and regions were coated. After lunch, then I began at the beginning and applied my second coat of Perma Shield, now with no misting program first. By mid afternoon the job has been completed and the railings were touch dry and the pleasant aroma of cedar oil lingered for most of the day. The product should be given about forty eight hours to fully cure before applying paint or stain. No particular paint was used, only a simple lace finish water based latex available everywhere. I implemented a total of 2 coats of latex and standing back to admire my work, decided that this was a great starting point for my continuing evaluation on Perma Shield.

Since that time, a total of three winters have passed and I am now entering the spring of 2015. Other than needing to hose off some green algae residue after every winter, my paintwork still looks like it has only been done and there are absolutely no signs of rot, warping or other damage anywhere on the white wood regions. Some of the remaining original deck boards and even the treated ones are showing paint peel and even wet rot in a couple of places, especially around joints and end bits. Each year since applying the treatment, I have regularly tried scratching the handrail surfaces in an attempt to remove what may have been slack or prepared to peel paint but nothing has ever moved or even shown any sign of damage. From evaluations undertaken by others, it has been shown that timber treated with this product provides states that allow the adhesion of paint to be increased by up to 300 times that of normal untreated lumber. Furthermore, it provides conditions in which the treated lumber no further expands and contracts and thus become structurally stable. It stops the painted finish from cracking, splitting or peeling. I must also add that my own paintwork still looks extremely new with no signs of fading or discoloration.

At precisely the exact same time as constructing the new deck railings, I treated a single 8 foot length of 2 x 4 with the Perma Shield TM that I had cut into 2 foot pieces. Each piece was fully coated including the endings and once they were dry I placed one in the creek that runs through my yard and weighted it down with some heavy stones. I put the next piece to a muddy bank where it was nearly completely covered in slimy mud. The next piece I laid within the gutters on my rear roof and the fourth piece was put into the yard like a stake, with about four inches left sticking up above ground. At the end of January 2015 after three full years and winters, I recovered the four pieces of wood for review. After collecting them all, I had to wash them down to remove green algae and slime and then I let them dry a little from the fresh air. There are no indications of any rust or decay of any kind on any of the pieces. I then proceeded to put each piece in my chop saw and cut them at approximately two inch intervals. What I found was that the inside of every piece was totally dry with no evidence of moisture penetration or discoloration of any kind. Using my moisture meter I noted that the readings obtained were nearly identical to the readings taken in new kiln dried timber straight from the supplier. I also noted that the wood samples revealed no signs of warping, splitting or cracking either and considering where they’d all been found for over three years; I found this to be rather impressive.

Their results for Perma Shield TM showed that it completely out preformed ALL of the current treatments previously approved by the MDOT. The Perma Shield™ was used to treat the exact same wood required by the MNDOT noise barrier walls along highways. After treating the wood, then they top coated it with various top coat products. Approximately 25 different painted coatings were applied, mostly earth toned color paints which were previously approved for this use. After the testing, each of the coatings showed no signs of any sort of adhesion issue’s, including no pealing without lifting or cracking of any kind. These tests were done in an extreme weather system for more than 2000 hours in a broad and varied assortment of temperatures and conditions. Further tests were also undertaken in an outdoor natural Minnesota environment evaluation for over 2 decades, and these have shown NO evidence of any adhesion issues within an MNDOT facility controlled research. These studies have provided documented evidence of controlled testing where all of the results are quite literally far beyond any other known and/or approved treatment for timber.

During the past three years I have also used the Perma Shield in my contracting business for treating water damaged timbers in homes and also for mold remediation works, all with great success in every circumstance. I have treated a plywood covered new deck which was waiting to have a fiber glass top coat applied and found that the unexpected rains that came next day, had no effect on the plywood and caused no damage as it generally would have done. Down in Minnesota, Jeffrey has his product fully registered and trademarked and better still, it’s been accepted and registered on to the US Government’s Bio Preferred program. From my own experiences to date, I feel that this product could supply the timber industry something very unique with respect to a truly safe and natural way to treat timber and prevent it from rot, fungal rot, warping and splitting. It also provides some amazing benefits on timber where people wish to paint the surfaces, since the adhesion parameters are vastly increased and the need for regular repainting is all but eliminated completely.

It should also be noted that the conditions I provided for two of the four 2 foot treated samples were more than ideal for the germination of the wet rot fungus (Coniophora Puteana) and in one instance the true dry rot fungus (Serpula Lacrymans) and yet, no evidence of either fungus was found even after three decades of constant exposure. This, coupled with all the other benefits I’ve previously stated above gives me great confidence in this natural product for numerous future applications. The product is now under formal university test conditions in Minnesota where it’s being compared to a range of other bio based timber treatment products. Although these tests aren’t fully completed yet, at the time of writing this article the Perma Shield has shown up well in the lead in most situations compared to each other product being tested. In summary of a few of the advantages of treating wood structures with Perma Shield, the wood appearance is still the same as untreated. Freshly cut lumber can also be successfully treated with Perma Shield as it functions to remove all jumped and inherent moisture for the timber, thus stabilizing it and stopping the continuing expansion and contraction. The bottom line being; in lumber, where there’s not any moisture there are no problems! The product is safe to use, apply and store and it has no detrimental effects on plant or the environment in general. For a complete and thorough treatment of heavier timbers, it’s advised that the three coats are applied in total, with each coat being applied before the previous coat has completely absorbed. Pressure/Vacuum treatment systems are recommended for quicker and complete penetration in heavy timber. The timbers should be clean and given a light spray with clean water before application of the product, as it uses the moisture to draw itself into the timber. I personally only applied two coats for my deck rails and spindles and so far, the results have been outstanding and most certainly exceeded my own expectations.

For all types of wood, this unique and all natural fluid will preserve your lumber on a permanent basis with a one time application and you will no longer need to be concerned that the attractiveness of your lumber will deteriorate, even in harsh or extreme weather conditions.

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