Accoya wood, also known as acetylated wood, is a highly durable and stable solid wood product that has many advantages over standard wood. If you’re considering using wood for windows, doors, siding, decking or any other exterior application, Accoya is an excellent option that will surpass the performance of most types of timber. Here’s why you should specify it for your upcoming project.
Accoya wood is created through a non-toxic process called acetylation that permanently modifies the wood’s cell structure to make it more resistant to rot, insects, weathering and other wood problems. The process takes sustainably-sourced softwoods like Radiata Pine and transforms them into a durable wood material that can match or exceed the performance characteristics of the world’s most durable woods like teak.
What questions will this article answer about accoya wood?
- What is acetylation and how does it work?
- What types of wood are used to create accoya?
- What are the main benefits and advantages of this modified wood?
- What properties does accoya have that make it so durable?
- How does accoya compare to more expensive woods like teak?
- What kinds of accoya products can you purchase?
- What are some of the best uses and applications for accoya timber?
- How does the sustainability and environmental impact compare to other wood products?
What is Acetylation and How Does the Process Work?
The process of transforming wood into accoya utilizes a technique called acetylation. During acetylation, acetic anhydride is forced into the wood to chemically react with the existing free hydroxyl groups. This causes the wood’s cell structure to be bulld up as acetyl groups are added throughout.
The end result is a modified wood with greatly enhanced durability and dimensional stability. The wood’s new acetylated structure makes it difficult for water, fungi and insects to break down. This protection allows accoya wood to resist rot, swelling, shrinking and other problems that plague standard woods.
What Types of Woods Are Used for Accoya Production?
Currently, most accoya wood comes from Radiata Pine that has been sustainably sourced from New Zealand plantation forests. However, the acetylation process works on various softwood and hardwood species. So in the future, we may see acetylated timbers created from other rapidly renewable woods as manufacturing capabilities expand.
One key benefit of using fast-growth softwoods like Radiata Pine is that fewer old-growth forests need to be harvested. These younger timber plantations allow accoya production to have a very low carbon footprint from carefully managed forests instead of carbon-rich old-growth ecosystems. This makes accoya one of the more environmentally sustainable woods on the market.
What Makes Acetylated Wood So Durable?
Acetylated wood owes its incredible durability to the bulking up of its cell walls and the reduction in the number of available hydroxyl groups throughout its structure. By chemically altering the wood in this way, its susceptibility to water absorption is greatly diminished.
With the enhanced hydrophobicity preventing water penetration, acetylated timber cannot easily swell, shrink, crack, warp or become attacked by fungal decay organisms. Termites, carpenter ants and other insects also struggle to break down and digest this modified wood making it highly rot and pest resistant.
How Does Accoya Compare to More Expensive Hardwoods Like Teak?
When comparing accoya to premium tropical hardwoods like teak, you may be surprised to learn that acetylated Radiata Pine can match or even surpass its performance in many categories. For overall durability in demanding outdoor applications, laboratory testing shows that the two materials are at least equal if not slightly better with accoya.
Dimensional stability is another significant advantage over woods like teak that still exhibit some seasonal wood movement. Accoya’s acetylated structure tightly locks in moisture content allowing it to resist swelling and shrinkage forces far better. This gives it less propensity for issues like checking, cupping andfinish failures.
While exotic hardwoods often carry high price tags and sourcing concerns, accoya delivers exceptional quality and sustainability at an affordable market price. This makes it a reliable alternative for everything from windows and doors to siding, cladding and deck boards.
What Types of Accoya Products Are Available?
A wide variety of products have been developed from accoya acetylated wood including siding, cladding, windows, doors, decking and structural timber. Its versatility also makes it suitable for outdoor furniture, landscaping, and even challenging marine environments in boats and docks.
You’ll find accoya wood offered from various major manufacturers under brands like Accoya, Tricoya and Accsys. Depending on the look you wish to achieve, it can be produced with different surface textures and is available to accept virtually any type of finish from opaque stains to clear protective coatings. Its outstanding dimensional stability means paint and coating adhesion stay locked in place.
What Are the Best Uses for Acetylated Accoya Wood?
Here are some of the best applications where accoya wood can really excel thanks to its incredible durability and stability:
- Windows and Doors – Long service life even in challenging climates
- Siding and Exterior Cladding – Resists swelling, shrinking and checking
- Deck Boards – Endures heavy foot traffic for decades
- Outdoor Structures – Allows unique designs with fewer structural posts
- Places with Termites and Wood Boring Beetles – Insect attack resistant
- High Humidity and Rainfall Areas – Won’t absorb moisture or rot
- Coastal Regions – Withstands salt exposure better than most species
- Freshwater Docks, Bridges, Boardwalks – Handles water immersion environments
These challenging hot, wet and high traffic uses demonstrate where accoya can far surpass the lifespan of unmodified wood materials. If you need exceptional performance where most woods would quickly fail, accoya should top your list.
How Does Accoya Rate for Sustainability?
Beyond its structural enhancement properties, one added environmental benefit you gain from accoya wood is its sustainability characteristics. As a non-toxic manufactured wood product, it makes the most of fast-growing timber plantations that sequester more carbon than they emit. These renewable forests prevent further harvesting of carbon-rich old-growth ecosystems.
Once the material has served its long useful life, it can then be reused or safely recycled. And since accoya is made up of over 90% wood, it even has a lower carbon footprint than many types of plastic lumber, composites and reinforced concrete. This combination of quality and sustainability makes it a top choice for eco-conscious construction.
Key Takeaways When Considering Accoya Wood:
- Made from abundantly available Radiata Pine via non-toxic acetylation
- Acetylated structure gives exceptional durability and moisture resistance
- Resists swelling, shrinking, rotting and insect damage
- More stable than even expensive tropical hardwoods
- Matches or exceeds the lifespan and performance of woods like teak
- Ideal replacement for less sustainable exotic lumber imports
- Creates durable windows, doors, siding, decking, cladding and more
- Offers design freedom with fewer needed structural posts
- Can be produced in various wood grain textures and colors
- Takes paints and coatings beautifully thanks to stability
- Sustainably sourced and carbon neutral across its full service life
This versatile high performance acetylated wood checks all the boxes whether you value quality, longevity or sustainability. Visit the Accoya website to confirm it’s the right fit for your next building project.