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0111 Durable (Water)

Myth:
Wood is a material which easily rots and this makes it far less durable than other materials used in construction.
Reality:

Wood is designed for surviving in a humid environment and, having come to the end of its life cycle, for being recycled in the natural environment with its essential components. When a tree dies, wood-eating insects which live in its environment (larva cycle insects, termites, wood-eating fungus) help degrade the wood. The wood-eating fungus is what plays an essential role, especially because of the greater humidity and less content in resins at this stage.

Wood-eating fungus are primitive vegetables which, as they lack chlorophyll cannot photosynthesise. After trees die, there are favourable conditions for these agents to thrive and are capable of degrading their molecules and over time, the material completely disappears.

At present, regulations in France are more advanced in controlling this. They have defined several parameters in this respect, such as the massivity of the wood species, its correct and incorrect construction design, climatic conditions it is exposed to and its type of use:

  1. Indoors
  2. Indoor roofed area
  3. Outdoors above the ground: with limited humidity time or extended time.
  4. Outdoors in contact with sweet water
  5. E5. Outdoors in contact with salty water

In Spain, there is a parametric tool UNE-EN 335, which is open access and based on these criteria in order to know and control what kind of wood we must use with a suitable design, according to the climatic conditions of the place and how it is used.

Conclusion

As we can see, once again, good knowledge of each type of wood, the design according to location and its use are the main factors to bear in mind so that any type of construction with this material is essentially durable.

As yet no material as durable as wood matches it in terms of traction, compression and bending stress in construction

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