When people design and build homes, they first take into account things like affordability, neighborhood vibe, and proximity to favorite spots. In places like Portland, OR, it is always wise to consider environmental conditions as well. Salty Pacific Ocean air is a huge factor in construction. This is especially true for choosing the materials used for fences and decks.
A Common Problem with Salt on Wood
Microscopic salt particulates can corrode virtually any material. Metals, polymers, concrete, and especially wood are susceptible to salt. Portland residents have a particular problem with ocean salt mist because of prevailing winds from the coast, and the year round wet climate. Some places with ocean influence have relatively low corrosion rates because they enjoy regular sunny days. Portland, however, can go for months without warm sunny weather, which makes salt corrosion virtually guaranteed.
On fence rails and decks, “fuzzy wood” is a tremendous problem. This condition happens when salt particles collect in the grains of wood planks and rails. The particles attach to each other and expand, causing an effect that is strikingly similar to mold. In fact, most people mistake fuzzy wood for mold. Fuzzy wood causes discoloration, shortened wooden structure lifespans, and problems with the health of nearby plants.
Preventing Fuzzy Wood on Fences and Decks
There are two ways that an experienced railing contractor can help prevent wood corrosion from salt. First, they should suggest using pressure treated lumber, or faux wood. Lumber that has been pressure treated features grains that are extremely compact. The tightness of the wood fibers resists soaking water that carries salt particles. Salt will still collect on the surface of the wood, but can be washed away. It invades the wood at a remarkably slower rate.
Another way fencing providers help homeowners avoid salt problems is working with exotic wood types. Hardwood trees that flourish in places like jungles, islands, and equatorial regions are very resistant to the ravages of salt. Ipe is a Brazilian hardwood that is becoming more and more popular with homeowners living in northern coastal areas. It offers deep and rich color choices, does not easily warp, and withstands corrosion in any climate. As far as exotic hardwoods go, Ipe is also very affordable and available.
When building a new fence, or installing a replacement, work with a railing contractor who has experience with various treated and exotic woods. Fences and decks that resist things like salt corrosion remain attractive for decades, and they serve as features that preserve the value of a home.
Salt Damage To Wood, stjohns.ifas.ufl.edu