Returning from a very exciting new customer visit we went to check up on a project we completed for the NHS in Derby at the Kingsway Hospital 10 years ago. Finding it was the first problem as most of the NHS land and buildings had been sold off and a mass of new houses built around the site. We made them an Oak Apple Shelter, with roof and lighting and a 25m long oak framed, cedar shingled covered walkway between two buildings and four oak pergolas. Everything was still there and structurally all looked fine. [more on the construction detail in next post]
However visually we were a bit shocked and think the structures have unfortunately had their souls removed: Rather than no on-going maintenance like the FIELDS project, the maintenance team had gone crazy with preservative wood stains and the result was that the structures looked plastic. With every installed project we give the customer an On-going Maintenance [OM] Schedule [its part of CDM for commercial projects] but these seem to be ignored.
We use Biofa Teak Oil on all our outdoor structures and our OM recommends either no re-treatment –in which case the timber will dull down to a silver colour or a light sand and re-oil, or if it is dried out an exterior matt varnish. Alternatively clients can ask us to come and redo it – we are about to re finish a large green roofed Onion Shelter in Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens, installed six years ago. We don’t use a varnish on our outdoor structures initially as we use a mixture of fresh sawn and dried timber and the fresh sawn still has lots of moisture in it and would just lift the varnish and look patchy.