Timber Checks Cracks
We source our natural timber products because they are extremely sturdy and durable Timber products are natural and can be influenced by its surroundings, and being within Australia that can vary quite dramatically. This means that drastic temperature changes and moisture levels, and your location changes can be cause natural splits and checks in the timber as it shrinks and dries over time.
What causes wood to shrink & how does it affect quality?
All woods are hygroscopic, that is, it will absorb or discharge moisture to attain equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere. Typically, in the Australian climate, it is common to experience a loss of moisture. The loss of moisture content from the wood, results in the shrinkage of wood due to the loss of water. This can be interpreted by some that it weakens the overall quality of wood. However, in reality, the opposite occurs. In fact, seasoned timber (dried timber) contains properties that make it superior to wet timber. Listed below are some of the advantages:
Strength The drying of timber results in increased strength, bending strength and stiffness
Hardness As the plant cells become more compressed, it results in a structure that is harder and more resistant to bumps and other damage.
Weight The decreased water content considerable reduces the weight of timber
How long does it take for timber to dry?
Most of our timber pieces are kiln-dried to speed up this process before we pack and ship out our products to you. However, dried timber will still retain a small % of moisture and will continue to dry when being built and used. Timber dries from the outside to the centre, this is a lengthy process which can take up to 6 years to reach its equilibrium moisture content (EMC).
What causes wood cracks?
When our timber is first sourced from New Zealand and other sources around the world, much like the human body, it is composed of a considerable amount of water, this can range anywhere from 40% to 400% of the log, in other words some timber logs can hold up to 4 times its weight in water! During this manufacturing process the timber is further air dried, stained and treated to ensure that our swing sets are safe and secure for creating our play sets. However, whilst this process drastically reduces the water content of our timber, it is not completely removed.
As a result, the wood drying process continues well after being installed in your backyard. The drying process generally results in the shrinkage of wood, as the wood shrinks, checks may begin to form in the exterior of the timber. This is recognised and accounted for by timber framers and engineers as a process which doesn’t compromise the integrity of the wood.
Is this unsafe?
All Things For Kids is all about providing safe equipment for children to use. We understand it can be a cause for concern for the quality of timber, however, we assure all customers that all products have set tolerances so that the structural integrity is not compromised when natural occurrences such as timber cracks takes place. We do this by sourcing the correct diameter and size timber pieces to allow for any eventual timber drying cracks.
When should wood cracks be a concern?
Most of the wood splits will never become large enough to affect the reliability and strength of our products, however, there can be rare cases where splits can occur. This happens when a crack develops past the halfway point from the timber, splitting it into two separate pieces.
Feel free to contact us with detailed pictures of your product so we can assess and ensure that your playground remains safe.
Timber products will require care and maintenance as it weathers over time. We recommend to:
Check over the product every season.
Sand away any sharp points or splinters.
Coat or Re-coat the timber with an appropriate layer of surface protection such as a stain or paint finish.
Follow the recommendations provided in the instruction manual.