If you are thinking about a home extension project, you will want to invest in a quality design that looks beautiful and will stand the test of time. With the right materials, a bespoke timber garden room or orangery benefits from exceptional longevity.
When it comes to your home, it is always worth choosing quality – whether you are looking at carpets, buying a kitchen or investing in a glazed extension. You will still appreciate the quality years down the line. Your property is more than just bricks and mortar – it is your castle, and it is worth the financial investment so you and your family can have the home you deserve. By choosing a well-designed, premium orangery or garden room, you are choosing a sustainable product that will last longer and perform better. Westbury have been constructing glazed timber garden rooms for over 30 years, combining our heritage with an ability to produce extensions of extraordinary elegance. From the design process to the final installation at your property, we never cut corners because outstanding quality is something that takes time to achieve.
U-PVC is a very common material to use in conservatories, but being a plastic-based product, it does not degrade. When the time comes for it to be dismantled, it will sit in a landfill and damage the environment. It also reacts to UV radiation from the sunlight and becomes shabby-looking and discoloured over time. From an aesthetic perspective, it lacks the charm and character of timber joinery, too. It just looks clunky and unattractive.
We make all our garden rooms and orangeries from an engineered timber that includes an external layer of Accoya wood. Once our clients understand why we use this remarkable material, they know that our designs are built to last.
Accoya: the tried and tested timber material
Accoya begins as PEFC and FSC certified Radiata Pine, which is usually grown in a sustainably managed plantation in New Zealand. Radiata grows incredibly quickly compared to other trees, making it an abundantly available and highly sustainable resource. For example, an Oak tree can take up to 100 years to reach maturity, whereas a Radiata Pine only takes 10. If you ever look at the rings of Radiata Pine timber, you will notice how thick and widely spaced they are, showing their fast growth rate. The environmental benefits to using Accoya outweigh slow-growing hardwoods, woods treated with toxic chemicals, and non-renewable materials such as uPVC.
The Radiata Pine goes through a chemical modification process called acetylation, which changes the structure of the material and results in Accoya, a highly durable, lightweight and stable timber material. Wood consists of chemical groups called “free hydroxyls”. Free hydroxyl groups absorb and release water according to changes in the weather conditions the wood is exposed to. This causes wood to swell and shrink, particularly in the summer and winter. Acetylation alters the free hydroxyls within the wood into acetyl groups. The wood reacts with acetic anhydride, which comes from acetic acid (which is non-toxic vinegar in dilute form). When the free hydroxyl group is altered to an acetyl group, the wood’s ability to absorb water is greatly reduced, making it more dimensionally stable and extremely durable.
The durable benefits of Accoya
Accoya absorbs hardly any water, meaning that it is protected from rot and decay. Accoya has gone through an extensive testing process by scientists across the world, many in real-world conditions over many years. One particular test carried out in New Zealand saw Accoya wood tested against other naturally durable and preservative treated timbers. The tests have now been running for over ten years, with timber materials exposed to accelerated decay chambers and in exterior ground contact tests. Accoya has so far outperformed teak, merbau, cypress, cedar and preservative treated timbers. Tests to determine termite durability have also taken place in Japan and Australia, and Accoya exceeded the durable hardwood timber samples.
These tests prove Accoya’s properties outperform tropical hardwoods, making it an ideal for outdoor decking, exterior cladding, bridges, boats, windows, doors, and garden rooms. Once installed, the benefits of a garden room made from Accoya becomes evident. While Accoya might be a more expensive material to begin with, it has a lower lifetime cost than PVC, aluminium, pine and hardwood, with lower maintenance costs and extended durability. In fact, your garden room will not need replacing for 50 years or more. Due to its dimensionally stable qualities, the structure will not move or bend. Joints will remain tight, doors and windows will open effortlessly, and paint will not deteriorate.
Combine with Teknos paint for a long-lasting extension
When it comes to paint, Accoya is an ideal material. Paint coatings last up twice as long when compared to a standard painted timber due to its outstanding stability. At Westbury, we understand that a beautiful garden room needs to blend in with the main property and complement the style of the architecture, and paint allows us to select a palette that fits in with the client’s vision. Independent testing in the Netherlands conducted a comprehensive paint test on Accoya, which saw a better coating performance and superior coating performance and coating adhesion in both wet and dry conditions. Some experiments have used black paint, which previously was a poor choice for timber products as heat absorbed from sunlight always caused cracking and peeling. The results show that Accoya is highly suitable for darker colours and shades, meaning that our clients can embrace a bolder, more dramatic look for their garden room without the worry of a demanding maintenance routine.
We use a microporous water-based paint called Teknos, which is highly durable and acts as an additional protective barrier over the Accoya. In our factory, we spray-apply three coats, which is equivalent to 12 hand-painted brush strokes (120 microns). As the paint dries, the water evaporates to leave a protective barrier that resists weathering by rain, UV-light, and temperature extremes. We design and build to an exceptional standard, meaning that moisture ingress is minimised, and installed by highly experienced fitters. Providing that you give your garden room or orangery a simple wash down twice a year, you will not need to repaint it for 12 years or more. What’s more, Accoya is easier to coat, requiring less preparation and sanding – so your painters will be pleased.
Westbury has earned a reputation for building well-designed, exceptional and beautiful garden rooms and orangeries. Our designers have the ability to transform your home into something extraordinary, and we have worked for clients all over the world. Contact us today to discuss your ideas in more detail, or you can also arrange a time to visit one of our showrooms in Essex or London.