Effective preservative treatments for Canadian glulam products are needed to maintain markets for mass timber on building facades, access markets with significant termite hazards, and expand markets for wood bridges. For all three applications, borate-treatment of lamina before gluing would be preferred as it would lead to maximum preservative penetration. However, the need to plane after treatment and prior to gluing removes the best-treated part of the wood, and creates a disposal issue for treated planer shavings. The present research evaluates the block shear resistance of glulam prepared from untreated and borate-treated lamina with a polyurethane adhesive. Borate treatment was associated with a small but statistically significant loss in median shear strength when evaluated dry; however, there was no difference between the performance of untreated and borate-treated samples when exposed to the vacuum-pressure soak/dry or the boil-dry-freeze/dry procedures. Further work is needed to modify the composition or application of the resin to improve shear strength for glulam applications and ensure consistent performance. However, overall, these data indicate that samples prepared from borate-treated lamina perform similarly in terms of block shear resistance to those prepared from untreated lamina.
Borate can be a potential candidate to protect building envelope components from biodegradation as it has low toxicity and can penetrate wood without pressure treatment, even in the refractory species commonly used in construction industries as structural components. In this research, wood moisture content, grain direction, formulation and species that affect the diffusion of borate in refractory species were investigated. Two highly concentrated formulations were applied and a novel approach (borate bandage) was used to keep the preservative on the surface and enhance the diffusion by reducing surface drying. From ANOVA test for different diffusion periods and depths of penetration, it was found that grain directions and moisture content are significant factors. A mould test was performed, the diffusion co-efficients were calculated and some recommendations were made about the quantity required to protect a specific volume of wood considering the distance moved by diffusion and volume treated in different directions.
Glulam and laminated veneer lumber protected by a combination of treatment with borate by two processes, and a film-forming coating, were exposed outdoors in an above-ground field test using a modified post and rail test design. After eight years’ exposure, early to moderate decay was found in untreated test units, while those which were borate-treated by either method were generally sound up to six years and showed greatly reduced decay at eight years.