Durable: Tony Madeiros, BS&R owner, left, and son Anthony, general manager, with a window constructed from Accoya wood.
Durable: Tony Madeiros, BS&R owner, left, and son Anthony, general manager, with a window constructed from Accoya wood.
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In a coastal climate the beauty of natural wood can fade with the elements of sun, wind and salt water, but at carpenters BS&R Group you can now find a sustainable solution.

The family woodworking business has started making shutters, (weather-sealed) windows and doors from Accoya, a high performance, low maintenance acetylated wood.

By purchasing these quality products, not only can you help the environment by using a sustainable wood, but your home will look beautiful for longer.

Accoya is radiata pine, a fast-growing tree. It is only sourced from sustainable forests, so when one part of the forest is cut down, another part is replanted at the same time, to ensure reforestation.

The wood is sourced from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and other regionally-certified woods.

Accoya modified wood is produced by Accsys Technologies PLC, that has a wood production plant in Europe, and offices in the Netherlands, the US and UK.

The company describes Accoya as “the world’s leading high technology long-life wood”, renowned for durability, stability, reliability and its aesthetics.

Long-lasting

BS&R Group brings in the wood as raw lumber,

Anthony Madeiros, general manager, said: “Accoya wood has been available for over a decade, but although it’s quite new, the process of treating radiata pine with vinegar has been around for a long time, but was never mass-produced.

“The technology is basic stuff; it’s essentially using vinegar (acetic acid) on the wood.

“They make the vinegar into a vapour, put the wood into a chamber and then pressure-treat the wood with the vapour.”

He said (free) hydroxyl groupings (oxygen and hydrogen atoms) in wood make certain parts more susceptible to water conduction, rot, termites and bugs than others — commonly referred to as sapwood.

Free hydroxyl groups absorb and release water according to changes in climatic conditions, swelling and shrinking (‘moving’) the wood.

“Acetic acid naturally occurs in wood but this process puts more of it in there and creates a chemical reaction, changing the hydroxyl groups into acetyl groups,” said Mr Madeiros.

“This makes the wood impervious to rot and other types of decay.”

When transformed to an acetyl group, the ability of the wood to absorb water is greatly reduced, making the wood more stable and durable.

The acetylation process is non-toxic and simply modifies the chemical structure of the wood, from the surface to the core.

It therefore introduces no chemicals not already found in the wood.”

Accoya has both LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and FSC certifications.

The company says: “By using sustainably-grown wood and improving its properties without adding toxins, Accoya helps to protect threatened species, rainforests and the environment.”

It adds: “Accoya is helping to protect the world’s precious hardwood resources and is guaranteed for 50 years in exterior use and 25 years when used in the ground.

Salt-resistant

“This long life also provides an added benefit — helping to reduce carbon emissions.”

Mr Madeiros said: “Accoya has been tested to last at least 50 years above ground, without paint, and 25 years underground.

“In Bermuda, wood rots quickly due to our climate, so Accoya can stand up to the elements better than cedar will on doors and shutters.

“It’s salt-resistant. Accoya is even used for underground piles in the ground in the Netherlands and other places, so it can stand up to our tough climate.

“If you do paint it, the paint will last three or four times longer because the wood doesn’t ‘move’ with the climates.

“This means it doesn’t stretch the paint, ensuring that it lasts much longer.

“Accoya is something all wood workers have been waiting for.

“It allows us to do the work we love without having to answer the question of rot and sustainability.

“We can provide a great product for our customers which will last a lot longer, is maintenance-free and won’t corrode.”

He said: “We have stopped offering other types of shutters because it is so good. We used to offer mahogany, teak, western red cedar and Spanish cedar, but Accoya meets a good price point more competitive and the product is great.

“It is dimensionally stable (it doesn’t ‘move’) and is virtually rot-proof, outlasting teak and other exotic (tropical) hardwoods.

“These exotic hardwoods are very unsustainable. So, there’s no point in using wood from unsustainable forests when you have this product.

“This is a very green, long-lasting product, at a good price.

“There is no need to do anything for maintenance; you don’t even have to paint the shutters, just leave them to weather, and they will turn a silvery-white.

“It’s less expensive than Virginia cedar and mahogany.

“It costs around $9.50 to $10.50 for a board-foot, compared with $12.50 for mahogany or Virginia cedar.

“And you don’t have to cut out any bad grain, knots or sap wood, so it’s 100 per cent usable — you are using less of the lumber.”

BS&R Group has also started producing gates, pergolas, railing and decking from the wood.

“We are doing anything with it, even garden furniture,” said Mr Madeiros.

“We have been doing products with it for about five months and people are taking to it well. It’s tried and tested.”

Potential customers can find out more at the Accoya’s website at www.accoya.com.

The company says: “Already the material of choice for a wide range of demanding outdoor applications, Accoya wood can be used for virtually anything, from windows to doors, decking to cladding, bridges to boats and even for applications that are presently only feasible with non-sustainable and man-made materials.” n

BS&R Group is situated at 99 Middle Road, Devonshire. Call 236-2886 or go to www.bermudastripping.com. See also www.accoya.com/sustainability.