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Bargeboard timber

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Anonymous

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Just wondered what anyone would recommend as a good wood to use as bargeboards? They will be painted, but even so are obviously exposed and in a harsh climate next to the north sea coastal environment.

Thanks.
 

OLD

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Lots of timber in bargeboards and difficult/expensive to get at so pitch pine or hard wood that puts up with salt. Me i would go for upvc or fibre cement product for minimal maintenance.
 
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Anonymous

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For supposed woodworkers your attitude depresses me.

PVC-U Roofline products are bought by homeowners who think they will be zero maintenance, and never need painting. So they replace their existing timber bargeboards, fascia boards and soffits with white plastic ones. Unfortunately, contrary to the salesman's spiel, PVC-U (unplasticised polyvinyl chloride) will not last forever. It loses its chlorine due to the effects of ultra-violet light from the sun, and becomes brittle. It can then crack when a ladder is leant against it, or even when it expands and contracts in response to temperature changes. Several firms are now selling PVC-U paint, to give the product a longer life. So what was that about zero maintenance?


Entropy is the scientific theory that explains the random molecular disorder of the universe. Living things apparently combat this by creating temporary order out of the chaos. But everything else is in an inevitable state of decay.
Inevitable decay is not something you will hear much about from building materials salesmen, who prefer the idea that their products will last forever. Adverts for PVC replacement windows and cladding, for example, often give the impression that the material is "maintenance free", and, for the scientifically uneducated, this must sound like a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, it is not true.
The idea that a building might survive without maintenance is a seductive one, especially for the millions of people who embarked upon home-ownership simply because they couldn't find anywhere decent to rent. But finding themselves with the huge financial responsibility of a mortgage, they would rather not then be told that they should be spending between two and five percent of the value of their homes every year on keeping them in basic good order. They might quite fancy the idea of splashing out on a "Changing Rooms" - style makeover of the bedroom or lounge, but spend a thousand quid on scaffolding, overhauling the roof, and painting the outside joinery? You must be joking. Nobody at the Building Society warned them about that . Hence the attraction of the "maintenance free" PVC option.
A recent reader's letter describes a typical scenario. The reader lives in a fairly modern purpose-built block of flats, and someone on the residents' committee has decided that, in order to "reduce maintenance costs", all the windows, fascias and soffit boards should be replaced with PVC, at an estimated cost of over £100,000. The current annual amount they are spending on exterior maintenance is, of course, zero, because the windows, fascias and soffits have not actually been painted since 1976.
Imagine if we adopted the same approach to our clothes. Or teeth. Don't bother to clean them or look after them. Just let them rot away and then buy some plastic ones. Society would judge anyone who behaved like this as foolish, or deranged, or both. They would be sent for psychiatric counseling and their children would be taken away from them. But when it comes to the buildings that we live in, it seems to have become socially acceptable to allow them to rot.
The PVC salesmen exploit this inertia by reassuring us that it is really alright to neglect our homes. It is not our fault that the windows have rotted and people are becoming so obese and lazy that they cannot be bothered to maintain them, they say; it is because they were made from that pesky old-fashioned stuff called wood. Time to get modern and use space-age materials that will last forever.
Only they won't. I have previously explained in this column why sealed double-glazed window units are all doomed to eventually mist up between the two panes. And the law of entropy means that the PVC frames themselves will also decay. PVC inevitably becomes discoloured, and brittle, and, because of its high thermal expansion coefficient, it will even crack. This last problem is especially common in PVC replacement fascias and soffit boards, which need very careful fixing and - dare I say it - maintenance? - If they are to remain intact for amount of years.
But however it is treated, PVC has a very definite life expectancy, whereas timber, being a living thing, can last for centuries. It just needs a bit of tender loving care to keep the entropy at bay.
 

Howjoe

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Spud":2r4f47jt said:
whereas timber, being a living thing, can last for centuries. It just needs a bit of tender loving care to keep the entropy at bay.
It's only living whilst it's growing.

A hardwood would be my choice.

The rest reads like a Jeremy Clarkson rant about PVC-U! :lol:
 

OLD

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For supposed woodworkers your attitude depresses me.
Spud
Let me bring to your attention a post:- 'why don't you post' which had a poll with most popular answer 'i know to little i would look like a fool' your above comment can only reinforce this attitude in members that gave this answer not really the purpose of a forum.
Posts answers are just opinions ,discussion points no more.
Why ask the question when you already have the answer.
 

Alf

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Well you've already given the answer I'd have said - UPVC. Nobody claims it's "zero maintenance", but it certainly saves a heap of trouble, especially in harsh conditions near the sea. Plenty of places where wood is worth the effort, but IMO barge boards ain't one of them. To each their own though.

Cheers, Alf

Living in a house with UPVC windows, barge boards and even, god help me, polyurethene "faux wooden beams" :sick: . Not my choice, but on the other hand I'm not chained to a paint brush all summer. :wink:
 
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Anonymous

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Can anybody come up with a answer to the original post please.
At the risk of sounding obvious, I'd go for a wood high in natural oils to resist water and salt as much as possible, and I'd regularly seal it with a high performance varnish. Why varnish? Because I can see when it's starting to break down and needs replacing. That was how I maintained my yacht when I could afford to keep one! So, my first choice would probably be teak if you could afford it, followed by pitch pine (as mentioned earlier). Now, if you lived in Utah there are some lovely old pilings that have been soaking in salt water for a l-o-n-g time that would be perfect for your intended use. They used to carry a railroad over the great salt lake.

PS - we had a house that had uPVC siding (in the USA) which is sold on the premis that it is zero maintenance. Yeah, right! Any ball that hits it leaves a huge crack, so don't have it around kids, you can't lean a ladder against it, etc. and unless it's fitted really well it looks totally amateurish, as if it's just been banged up with a few nails. Oh, and the nails have to be pushed in using a special tool to allow the stuff to move. All to avoid a coat of paint every 10 years. And it's blooming expensive. Fortunately the previous owners had put it on, not us... Give me cedar siding anytime.
 
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