The benefits of full factory finishing of architectural timber, combined with the use of translucent coatings to bring out the lustre of natural wood, are ideally highlighted in the construction of a new-build fire and rescue station in Lymm, Cheshire.

While factory finishing is becoming more prevalent, it is still far from the norm, despite the many distinct advantages shown in this project, as Graham Avery, Technical Coatings Manager with specialist paint supplier Mighton, explained:

“It not only means the process can be carried out in a completely controlled environment but also of course the entire piece is coated, not just the outside surfaces. In other words, the work can be done 365 days a year, whatever the weather – and the result is significantly more weather-resistant.

“More specifiers and coaters are beginning to look to full factory finishing and, to anyone who is not, we recommend they give it some consideration in an application such as this.”

Similarly, translucent wood coatings are a less common choice than opaque finishes though, as the Lymm contract shows, they can show off the timber grain to its best effect while retaining all the weather-proofing and preservative qualities of a technically advanced exterior coating.

In this case, Mighton Ankerstuy Woodstain TP transparent top coat, one of the ‚Specialist range‘ of coatings,  was specially mixed to the colour TR4131 to complement the natural colour of the Siberian Larch specified for the exterior cladding, while the translucency of the coating brought out the timber’s grain to best effect.

The timber was vacuum-coated by Lancashire-based James Hatch & Son for International Timber of Manchester, with main contractor ISG for the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The low-build, high-solids Mighton Woodstain TP is a one-pot solution so the single product is not only applied as primer, base coat and finish – so requires no washing out of machinery between coats – but is also used for repair and maintenance, ensuring absolute consistency of colour and gloss level. The impregnation achieved by vacuum-coating also gives improved adhesion so the surface will not flake, peel or crack. The product has the added environmental benefit of being water-based.

Graham Avery concluded: “Such a radical choice of natural wood cladding in this context rightly deserves to be shown off to its full potential and the specification of the Woodstain TP, combined with the benefits of full factory finishing give it a performance and ease of use to match.”

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