At Highgate our furniture is eco-friendly because we only use timber from Scandinavian forests that are protected by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). Where trees are cut down responsibly and many more are replanted in their place.
The fact that we go to the extra effort of having our timber pressure treated means that it is protected against the elements for up to 20 years. A lot of the garden furniture on the market nowadays is made to last for as little as three or four years, therefore, our products will last nearly four times as long, putting less of a strain on this beautiful planet’s natural resources.
All of our products are hand made. They are made from wood which is a natural product, so there will be natural blemishes like knots and veins through the grain, and slight imperfections like cracks or splits in the wood may occur with changes in the weather, these natural characteristics are due to the wood losing moisture during warm and dry seasons, and during exposure to intense sunlight. During colder and wetter seasons the wood will uptake moisture again which will reduce these splits or cracks. This is of no detriment to the product. We try our best to get rid of splinters and rough edges but we may not eliminate all of them.
What does pressure treatment (tanalising) do?
The pressure treatment process protects the timber against rot and decay, giving it the best possible pre-treatment available to give your product a long lifespan.
Do I have to treat the product as soon as I get it?
You don’t have to rush to add a further preservative treatment to your product as it is safe and protected from rot. Some customers decide not to treat their product at all and to just leave it to naturally weather and season. However we recommend the use of a furniture oil periodically, to help moisturise the wood and help to delay the aging process. (We do advise the use of a waterproofing product to the exterior of sheds and summerhouses if you want to avoid damp or water ingress to the inside of your building. Wood is naturally porous and the water ingress is of no detriment to the structure of the building due to the tanalising, but it can be bothersome if you are wanting to keep the inside dry)
What will happen to it if its left with just the base treatment (tanalising)?
If left untreated the wood will fade in colour turning either a light grey/silver or a darker grey in places over time. On odd occasions some parts of the timber can turn a blackish shade. Differences in how the appearance of the wood changes can depend on variables such as: location in the garden, exposure to weather, exposure or lack of exposure to sunlight and natural differences in the wood.
Why are there splits and cracks appearing?
All wood when left outside, or exposed to changes in temperature or weather conditions, will experience some splitting, warping, cracking or some other kind of movement. This is not a detriment to your product in any way shape or form and these are natural occurrences, and characteristics of having wooden garden furniture. Don’t forget guys, this is garden furniture and is meant to be stood outside for years, so please expect some weathering.
What if water gets in the splits, doesn’t this make the wood vulnerable?
If the product had not been pressure treated then the answer would be yes, mainly due to the fact that micro organisms will get into the cracks in the timber and with the mixture of water it makes the wood softer and easier for the little critters to devour.
But luckily your product has been pressure treated with Tanalith-E or Tanatone treatment, which is a copper phosphate treatment that is pumped, under pressure, deep into the grain of the timber. This treatment stops micro organisms eating the timber, yes that’s right, they won’t come anywhere near, they will have to find another picnic.
So rest assured that the splitting and cracking is perfectly fine, and these occurrences will come and go with changes in the weather.
What is normal?
These kinds of occurrences are perfectly natural and will be of no detriment to your product. If you have any concerns then feel free to add your own aftercare treatment to the timber.
What kind of wood is it, and why choose that one?
We use Scandinavian Redwood which is a naturally durable timber and is perfect for use outdoors and at the price point that we are selling our products for, it is the most expensive timber we can use. If not pressure treated the timber is prone to rot which can set in in as little as 6 months, this is why we have the wood pressure treated as if stops rot setting in for up to 20 years. Scandinavian Redwood is a soft wood, but is has a tight grain and is slow grown in the forests of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, where conditions are harsh and the trees are strong and tall, meaning the timber coming from them is also very durable and strong.
Should I add a further treatment?
If you want your product to stay looking its best and you choose not to go for the natural weathered look then it is advised that you add a further treatment to your product. Most aftercare treatments can be used on this kind of wood and we advise if unsure then asking at your local hardware store what is best to use, as it depends on the finish you are trying to achieve.