Hardwood Conservatory Image

Is Hardwood a Good Choice For Your Conservatory?
A timber conservatory, properly stained and varnished, can be a very attractive sight. Good timber has a natural beauty, and darkening and polishing it can bring out its finest qualities.

You cannot just use any old timber however. Some of the cheaper conservatories on the market are constructed out of what is called redwood; this is often timber from Russia which has been barely seasoned and if it is not properly maintained (and often even if it is!) Decay is almost inevitable. This can be delayed by ensuring that the timber has been dipped in preservative before use, and all cut edges have been treated with copious quantities of it before fitting. However, this is not a certain cure for rot and we cannot recommend this type of product at all.

An alternative is a 'hardwood'. This is often a form of mahogany known as luan, which is a member of the mahogany family from the Philippines. Luan is a relatively inexpensive timber to buy and is relatively easy to work with. I say 'relatively' because this is compared to the finest product of all which is Brazilian mahogany. Brazilian is however very difficult to get hold of, extremely expensive and difficult to work with because it is just so hard; you would find it very tough indeed to saw, plane or sand it. Oak is also a possibility if you have an enormous budget and unlimited patience; you would need this for the time it would take you to find all the components you would need. All in all, Luan is the best option.

After the timber has been fitted it should be carefully sanded to a good smooth finish, and then a coat or two of wood stain, preferably incorporating a timber preservative, should be applied. This will lift the nap of the wood somewhat so it should be sanded again. It may be necessary to re-apply the stain after this. The timber should then be given several coats of clear varnish; yacht varnish is the preferable option. Again, a light sanding with very fine sandpaper or glass paper may be necessary between each coat.

This should give your conservatory a beautiful, long lasting finish with a deep, rich shine. You should however budget for applying another coat of yacht varnish on a regular basis; preferably once a year; in order to keep it in tip top condition.
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