For all its highly regarded qualities, large-sectioned timber used in interior applications has its inherent limitations, especially when compared to veneer-wrapped aluminium.
Thinly sliced from choice logs, timber veneers exhibit the same warmth and depth as actual timber. And because one cubic metre of a tree trunk can yield approximately 1000 square metres of veneer, it is the best way to maximise the use of the finest timber. Wrapped around Woodform Architectural's Concept Click batten system, timber veneered aluminium really shines.
Movement and Straightness
On the one hand, real timber expands and contracts depending on relative humidity, making it fundamentally unstable. Aluminium, on the other hand, does not move and therefore remains aligned. A space, for example, lined with either vertical or horizontal battens will always look look uniformly straight if properly installed.
Aluminium is hollow, so it’s light. Timber species vary in density (the dry weight per unit volume of wood) and can be up to 10 times heavier than a timber-veneer-wrapped piece of hollow aluminium of equivalent size. This lighter weight is more readily held up by the supporting structures within a building. (Note: Aluminium, however, is not meant to be used as a structural beam.)
Due to the availability of log sizes and the presence of natural defects, there are limitations on the maximum lengths of sawn timber that can be used as structural components. This is especially true for popular timber such as American White Oak and Black Walnut. Timber-veneer-wrapped aluminium, however, can be manufactured as long as 7 metres, and can be seamlessly joined to look like a single panel.
The visual aspects of solid timber is difficult to control, especially for large-section requirements. Appearance standards such as knot size and frequency, colour, and grain uniformity are not easy to meet. Because timber veneer is a very thin slice out of a chunk of wood, the yield out of that piece of timber is much greater. (If you find a perfect piece of timber, you can extract so many more timber beam “lookalikes.”)
As our cities become denser, fire-resistance has become an even more crucial design consideration for the modern building. Big, structural glulam-type beams consistently outperform other building materials in many fire-resistance categories, while untreated timber generally falls under Material Group 3. It is possible for timber-veneer-wrapped aluminium to get a Material Group 1 fire rating (with “1” being the most fire resistant and “4” being the least). To learn more about how to use our wrapped aluminium range, view our Wrapped Aluminium Guide here.