Heat treatment reduces hygroscopicity and accompanying dimensional changes in wood. Prior to coating, pine and spruce boards were heat treated at 225°C for six hours under steam, in order to achieve dimensional stability and durability of wood substrate. The panels were coated surface finishes which are commonly used on exterior cladding, joinery and fences in Finland. Performance of the coated heat‐treated and untreated panels was monitored during five years’ outdoor exposure. Without coating the heat‐treated wood is not weather resistant. The original dark brown colour of the uncoated heat‐treated wood panels was not stable when exposed to weather, turning grey. Cracking of the heat‐treated wood without coating was at the same level as that of the untreated wood despite the lower moisture content of the heat‐treated wood. The unpigmented or low build stains and oils did not prevent cracking of the heat‐treated wood. Weather resistance of the heat‐treated wood was improved by the water‐ or solvent‐borne paints. Wood heat treated by means of this process is comparable to untreated wood as a substrate for coatings and no alterations in coating recommendations are needed when considering coating of heat‐treated wood.
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