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Thermory vs. Composite Decking

Date: May 17, 2018 | Category: Design Trends

When it comes time to build or rebuild a deck, homeowners have more options than ever before. With the number of products on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and make an incomplete choice.

The choice between a composite deck and a real-wood deck is a combination of priorities, expectations and knowledge. Let’s break it down so you’re armed with all the information you need to make the right choice for your needs. (more…)

The Look Of Reclaimed Wood. The Stability Of Thermory.

Date: May 16, 2018 | Category: Design Trends

You might be reading this article because you love working with reclaimed wood. There’s a lot to love, after all. It’s sustainable, it’s strong, and it looks really beautiful. Or perhaps you’re reading this article because you don’t totally understand the recent trend of barn wood everywhere, and you’re looking for more information. Either way, we’re here to help you learn the pros and cons of reclaimed wood, because you DO have another options.

What is reclaimed wood?

Reclaimed wood has soared in popularity the last few years, in part because of the recent trend is sustainability, and the downturn in popularity of tropical woods. Let’s start by clearing up what exactly counts as reclaimed wood.

Reclaimed wood is aged, recycled wood that has been recovered from old barns, factories and warehouses, typically structures that are more than a few decades old.

What people often aren’t aware of is that reclaimed wood nearly always requires a large amount of processing in order to be stable enough for reuse. And that modification runs the gamut in terms of quality and process.

So while reclaimed wood can often be a wonderful addition to any project, it absolutely requires a high level of research and distributor trust to ensure what you’re getting is what you’ve requested.

What’s so great about reclaimed wood?

The aesthetic. Reclaimed wood can be really beautiful. From the silvery patina of naturally-aged wood to the unique characteristics of non-mass-produced boards, reclaimed wood is surging in popularity for a reason. It’s also an environmentally-friendly option – reusing something is always better for the environment than creating something new, and with reclaimed wood, no new trees are cut down. Finally, reclaimed wood is, in theory, much stronger than much of the wood on the market today. Older practices used “old growth” trees for lumber, which are typically stronger by nature. Because the wood has been around for decades, the fibers have settled comfortably into stability. They expand and shrink less with changing weather, leaving them less susceptible to cracking and warping. Plus, it’s possible that your reclaimed wood came from somewhere or something really cool. An old ship, or a beloved, historical building, or even a family estate. So your new project comes with a built-in history and significance.

What’s not so great about reclaimed wood?

The unknowns. In theory, all those great attributes above are true. But in reality, those can be hard to achieve, and even harder to verify prior to use. If they’re all true? You will pay for it, and probably get your money’s worth. If they’re not all true? You still might pay for it, and not get your money’s worth, because it’s so hard to verify. And if it doesn’t live up to expectations, there’s not a whole lot that can be done about it.

Reclaimed wood typically features one of two things – insect infestations, or pesticides. Today’s technology doesn’t apply to decades-old wood. Because of this, higher-quality reclaimed wood is kiln-dried to ensure any and all insects or pests are killed off. This baking process isn’t as easy as it sounds. Thermory has spent over 20 years perfecting and developing our thermal modification process. The truth is, without true experts at the helm, this process often leads to less structural integrity than where you started. And it doesn’t do a darn thing to eliminate toxins that may (or may not) already be in the wood.

Old wooden barns and structures were nearly always constructed with a hammer and nails. So simple and rustic, right? Except that pulling out every nail is kind of unpredictable. This kind of leftover metal debris can be dangerous, and it can impact the stability of the wood in the future.

Let’s talk about the aesthetic.

We mentioned earlier that the aesthetic of reclaimed wood is stunning. And we stand by that statement. It’s beautifully imperfect, giving off rustic elegance and character. It offers visible texture that conjures images of its past life. And it’s settled into a striking, uniquely aged color that you don’t see in “new” wood.

Reclaimed wood is beautiful. In fact, it’s so beautiful that Thermory decided to recreate that look. You see, we love the way reclaimed wood works, but we don’t like the way you can’t predict it’s quality, strength or stability. So we created a brand new product that combines the beautiful look and texture of reclaimed wood with the unrivaled stability and durability of Thermory wood.

Drift combines the best parts of reclaimed wood with the best parts of Thermory, so you get expertly modified wood with Class 1 durability ratings, AND the beautiful look and texture of reclaimed wood.

The Thermory Color Evolution: Drift Edition

One of the most unique aspects of Thermory wood is the unique Thermory color evolution that each and every (unoiled) board undergoes. Drift fast-forwards to the end of the process. Drift comes in a number of realistically-weathered colored, mimicking the look and texture of aged wood. As Drift ages, each board undergoes an even more unique transformation while maintaining its signature silvery patina.


Let’s sum this up with a table. Reclaimed wood has some great features. Drift also has some great features. Which one does your next project deserve?

Schoolhouse Jealousy: Thermory Shingles Bring A Swedish Schoolhouse To Life

Date: April 13, 2018 | Category: Tried and Trusted

Trollhättan Schoolhouse

Not everyone loves going to school, but this quaint schoolhouse in Sweden has used Thermory shingles to create an intriguing and appealing design sure to make it a little more fun.

When the city of Trollhättan needed to build a new schoolhouse, they wanted to create a special place for their children that was durable, sustainable, safe, and beautiful. Thermory’s thermally-modified exterior products offered all the benefits they desired, and the versatility to bring a unique design to life.

The facade of this schoolhouse on the outskirts of Trollhättan, Sweden, resembles an old Hälltrop farmhouse with dark red fiber-cement pillars and metallic Rheinzink roof cladding. The exterior uses a unique combination of Thermory Ash shingles and cladding boards to create a playful, textural contrast.

Thermory Shingles undergo the same thermal-modification process as all our products, offering much higher dimensional stability and Class 1 durability (25+ years of rot-resistance!) than unmodified wood. It’s because of these properties that Thermory Shingles can be used as cladding for a unique design aesthetic.

Shingles have been used in architecture throughout history, and recently they’ve been making a comeback. Singles are finding their way not only on roofs, but onto interiors and exteriors as modern design assets.

These Thermory Ash Shingles bring life and warmth to the schoolhouse. As Carolina Lindahl, one of the architects says, “We just like the way it looks!”

The schoolhouse began construction in 2015 and opened its doors in 2017. The interior uses natural materials, featuring oak parquet floors, and the design takes into account the natural movement of the sun so inhabitants benefit from maximum daily sunlight. Named Mio Apple after the mio variety of apple, the design theme is, you guessed it, apples! The two-story building schools 150 students, has a full kitchen, a library, multiple recreation areas and an auditorium. With so much packed into one schoolhouse, the architects say their favorite part is the sunny yard, where students plant apple trees and enjoy the beautiful fresh air.

For a school so in-tune with nature, the aesthetic of real-wood shingles is a perfect complement. Without protective measures, both the shingles and the Thermory cladding will turn a stunning platinum silver without sacrificing durability or their weather- and rot-resistance. Like all Thermory products, these materials will last for decades and are responsibly sourced in North American or Scandinavian forests.

Mio Apple schoolhouse

Location: Trollhättan, Sweden

Architects: Contekton Arkitekter

Client: City of Trollhättan

Developer: Kraftstaden Properties

Built by: Moelven Wood Project

Helsinki’s new glass-and-wood West Terminal 2

Date: January 23, 2018 | Category: Tried and Trusted, Uncategorized

Since February 2017, the express ferry connection between Helsinki and Tallinn has been grander than ever before. Why? One, because the Tallink shipping company has put a new and larger ferry on the route. Two, the road to the new ship leads through a brand new terminal building! PES Architects was hired to create a comfortable space that allowed travelers to move quickly through the terminal.

The terminal’s plan focused primarily on the design of movement routes, the result of which meant that passengers would no longer need to walk down long corridors to embark or disembark. The terminal’s waiting lounge is right on the quays, with wings that reach to the side of the vessels, bringing corridor length down to a minimum.

Equally important, though, is the environment in which people move from one area to another. The terminal halls are bright, comfortable, and safe. When choosing materials, the architects made no concessions, and decided to ensure the charm of the building throughout its lifespan. Thermory is proud that the characteristic wooden ceiling elements were created using our own thermally-modified pine.

The waiting area is a spacious yet welcoming space with effective ceiling boards that add essential warmth and wood’s natural authenticity to the large space. The glass wall, which stretches from one side of the room to the other, provides different views of the sea each day. Where the extensive use of timber inspires warm emotions in the interior, the façade evokes modernity with its blend of glass, concrete, and the aluminum used in shipbuilding. All of this together creates a modern atmosphere for passengers travelling both by car and on foot—for the modern person who appreciates comfort and beauty all around them.

Completed: 2017

Architect: PES Architects

Client: Port of Helsinki

Project area: 12 800 m²

Approximately 6–7 million passengers travel on the Tallinn–Helsinki route each year.

According to the Port of Helsinki, the West Terminal 2 project is one of their largest investments of the decade. Both the Port and the architects were pleased to see that the project was completed under budget and before the deadline—the grand opening was on February 27, 2017.

Learn more about this project and how Thermory contributed to its success on our Tried and Trusted page!

Have you heard about biophilic design?

Date: December 15, 2017 | Category: Design Trends

Trends are often discussed after the fact, just to point out that a particular thing or style is now so widespread that everyone knows and uses it. Occasionally, though, we can bear witness to a moment where you can see the rising of a new star begin.

Biophilic design has somehow managed to introduce itself to the world without much fanfare but is definitely being noticed. Natural curves and repetitions, natural geometry, and materials that call out to be touched make up this unique style. Biophilic design looks for ways to make people feel like they are part of the whole, the natural world, an integral and essential part of which is the contemporary modern environment.

A major component of this style is the introduction of plants, the environment, and everything natural. It is not enough to simply place plants in a room; what matters is symbiosis, the fact that all living things are connected to and dependent on each other. The same should be the case for the living environment – a space that can recharge you. Perhaps even more importantly, biophilic design takes into account a person’s social nature, offering enough meeting space for both longer conversations as well as quick chats.

How can this be achieved?

The short answer: with nature.

The slightly longer short answer: Use natural elements, such as light, air, water, plants, animals, natural landscapes and ecosystems, and the weather, to create the living environment. Natural elements can also be used indirectly, such as natural images, materials, colors, movement & paths, imitation of natural light, ensuring proper ventilation, creating real shapes and forms and the inclusion of natural patterns.

One example of this unique architectural style is Myst. Myst, in the hilly Himachal Pradesh landscape near the Indian town of Kasauli, is the first project to be created in accordance with the principles of biophilic design. It is especially pleasing to note that the architect of this exclusive project, Llewelyn Davies Yeang, harmonized all the design and materials according to principles of biophilic design including Thermory materials

Mountainous views, indigenous plants, and clean air give luxury a completely new meaning. Chemical- and plastic-free Thermory Pine is used here for exterior surfaces on both cladding and decking, to ensure that nature is not just in the distance, but part of the residents everyday lifestyle.

During the construction of the development, a park with trees known to attract rare animals was also laid out. Even then, the lighting in the park and on the pathways was designed so as to minimize the impact on the animals’ lives. There are also, mountain climbing areas, a clubhouse, a full-size swimming pool and an outdoor pool with views of the surrounding landscape, a gym, a squash court, and a restaurant.

In their living environments, people need privacy, social areas, and the closeness of nature and pure harmony. Myst, in partnership with Thermory, offers all of this.

Thermory in the hands of designers: Frants Seer, KHIS Bathtubs

Date: December 13, 2017 | Category: Thermory Inspiration

Everything around us is in constant movement. We cannot stop time and we don’t really need to, but sometimes it stops on its own; in moments when we see something incredible – a wooden bathtub. The creator of the thermally modified wood bathtub, made of Thermory ash, is designer Frants Seer. His idea, which he first came up with for personal use, has now become global and reached hundreds of homes in Europe and America.

“When building our new home we decided to use wood in the bathroom to add warmth and coziness,” explains KHIS co-founder Elin Viiask, talking about their very first wooden bathtub. They liked the idea of a wooden bathtub without a lacquer finish in order to maintain a natural feel. In addition to developing the technology, they also needed the wood to be high quality. Wood is a living material that changes in different environments – it shrinks when dry and expands when wet.

Their search led them to Thermory’s thermally modified wood, which not only provided durability, but also gave the bathtub a luxurious dark brown color. Thermal modification gives wood dimensional stability, which is why it is an excellent choice in exterior design, decking, saunas and heated floors. Thermally modified wood does not absorb water, which means it is mold and mildew resistant. It is natural wood with improved features, including a beautiful rich even tone.

Although the wood they chose is perfect for the KHIS bath, Frants Seer and Elin Viiask often have to debunk myths about wooden bathtubs. Sometimes the myths arise from the belief that lacquer is what makes wood waterproof. Or sometimes people have just bad experience with mass produced bathtubs that are held together by metal hoops, which fall apart quickly and do not hold water after short-term use.

KHIS bathtubs use their own special technology. There are details made of thermally modified wood inside the staves that have been tightened with a cable and the special rubber seals are made according to KHIS profiles in cooperation with Swedish rubber producer Gislaved.

“The first prototype we made with thermally modified wood is still being used by our friends five years later,” says Elin. The second prototype, which launched a home improvement idea into a family enterprise, is still being used in their home today.

“We don’t have a separate shower so the bath gets used as a shower base every day,” adds Elin and admits that the luxurious bathtub has become part of their everyday life. Although sometimes it is nice to light some candles and take time to enjoy the moment. This helps to see the bathtub in a new light. “Perhaps it is even more special to us because we are the ones who created it.”

There is nothing ordinary about a wooden bathtub – its charm comes from its singularity – each bathtub is different from the next.

KHIS bathtubs are a combination of nature and contemporary design. Bathtubs are becoming an important interior design element not only in bathrooms but also in bedrooms and in five years KHIS has produced three different models and made a name for itself.

Designer Frants Seer has numerous ideas for the future. They have already experimented using light teak, which creates a completely different atmosphere than the elegant dark ash. The company is also thinking of designing pedestal sinks with a wooden base to match the bathtub and create a fantastic contrast with the white basin. They are also constantly improving their current bathtub models. “If you are happy with everything then there is no room for improvement,” says the designer.


KHIS bathtubs are assembled by hand; each detail is unique and each bathtub is an exclusive design piece and an engineering achievement. The bottom of the bathtub will be custom made of wood or stone, depending on the client’s preference. The bathtub’s rich chocolate color comes from Thermory ash, which has been processed at 400+°F to ensure water-resistance and durability. Post-processing is done with hot wax. Just like any other bathtub, the wooden tub requires some pampering from time to time. The best thing for this luxurious design piece is to oil and wax it once a month to give it a fresh look.

“The Great Stain Shoot-Out” by PDB

Date: October 17, 2017 | Category: Product Partnerships

Our preferred oil for our ash and pine is Cutek Extreme. Check out the Professional Deck Builder article below that nicely describes an almost 3 year experiment on several different oils to see why we chose this oil!

Two-dozen finishes were applied to six different types of wood decking—here’s what we learned after more than two years.

By Kim and Linda Katwijk and Sheena Klien, Professional Deck Builder

In October 2014, we began a test of two-dozen different deck finishes. Our goal? To find out if any of them were tough enough to stand up to the daily abuse that gets heaped on wood decking. We explained our methodology and reported on our nine-month observations in “The Great Stain Shoot-Out,” which was published in the October 2015 issue of PDB. We are now two and a half years into the trial—plenty of time for the elements to do their worst—and are ready to draw a few final conclusions… Read More

After 28 months, all of the finishes had faded to some degree, but Cutek Extreme—number 4 in the photo above and the top performer in the testing— still retained most of its color, even on the ipe sample.

Muzeo signage features Thermory® PaCS cladding

Date: September 28, 2017 | Category: Thermory Inspiration

Earlier this year, the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center in Anaheim, California became the proud owner of a gorgeous new feature. The artfully designed Muzeo letters not only act as signage for the museum, but have also quickly become a landmark in Orange County. By searching the hashtag, #Muzeo, on social media you’ll find that the project is often photographed and featured – there has even been at least one marriage proposal in front of the feature!

In June 2017 the project received the Anaheim Beautiful: Institutional Award. Chance O’Neil, owner of Chanclerz Custom Creations, Inc. in Huntington Beach California was the principal designer for the project. He notes, “It’s an honor to make a landmark like this for a city I grew up in! Winning artist of the year was just the icing on the cake.”

The letters were all constructed from different materials; therefore, each letter had its own challenges:
M Quilted Copper
U Quilted Stainless Steel
Z First Ever 3-D Living Letter
E Rock Filled Cage
O Thermory Ash

According to Chance, “The O was one of the hardest and most challenging of the letters because its size and shape; it’s not perfectly round it’s oblong and has different radius inside and out.” The 15′ tall 8′ wide and 3′ deep O was constructed using Thermory’s PaCS system which allowed Chanclerz Custom Creations to make bends and shape the wood in ways they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. “The clip system also made it faster and easier to work with…” according to O’Neil, “…plus it has a void because the wood floats on the clips giving it a different look, sound and feel that I wanted to go with. The gap also helps with airflow and ensures that the wood isn’t in direct contact with the under structure.

When asked why Thermory was chosen for this particular project, Chance noted, “I have used Thermory for other projects, mostly flat surfaces or on the floor (nothing vertical) but then I saw your PaCS system and wanted to try it out. I love the color of the product and how it looks after time with its natural patina.” He also noted that he, “loved working with Thermory and plans on using it again…”

The ash used for the project went through our unique thermal modification process. Our thermal process utilizes heat and steam; no chemicals. The wood is heated to approximately 400°F, while the process is controlled with steam. Three important changes occur:

  1. Color changes to resemble a dark, exotic wood with a silky smooth brown color throughout the entire thickness of each piece.
  2. Cellular structure of the wood is altered to reduce moisture related movement.
  3. Rot resistance is greatly enhanced to equal that of the world’s most durable tropical woods. By reducing the sugar content of the wood, we eliminate the food source for the mold and fungus that normally leads to biological decay and causes wood to deteriorate over time.

This process makes our product perfect for outdoor applications such as this.

For more information on Thermory, visit

Photos supplied by Chance O’Neil, Owner of Chanclerz Custom Creations

Why the Emerald Ash Borer is not a threat to Thermory

Date: September 26, 2017 | Category: Lumber Sourcing

There is an invasive pest called the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle (EAB) that is killing ash trees across the country. It is a very serious threat and, over time, could kill most ash trees in North America if a cure/remedy is not discovered.

The EAB has been spotted in 13 states so far and is normally spread by the transport of undried firewood from county to county. There are some natural parasites that attack the EAB larva and are being cultivated in hopes that this can reduce the spread of the EAB, and the USDA is working to develop EAB-resistant strains of ash. It is unknown whether either of these remedies will be developed in time to stem the spread of the EAB.

The near term effect is actually a surplus of ash lumber. Many land-owners are harvesting their ash trees more aggressively then they otherwise would, in anticipation that the trees may become infected by the EAB and die before harvesting. Over time this effect will switch and ash lumber will become more scarce. No one knows, however, the time frame over which the availability of ash lumber will start to decline. It could be five years, or it could be twenty-five years (or longer).

In anticipation of a possible future disruption in supply of ash, Thermory is being proactive and is developing sources of ash raw material in Europe. European ash is available throughout Western and Eastern Europe and is identical to North American ash, but the European forests are untouched by the EAB. Thermory is already using some European ash in certain specifications for the European market, and we are ready to expand the use of European ash, if needed.