Timber veneer-wrapped aluminium battens available from Woodform Architectural deliver several advantages over conventional large-sectioned timber. When compared to veneer-wrapped aluminium, timber battens have their limitations. Thinly-sliced timber veneers on aluminium battens replicate the warmth and depth of actual timber battens.
Movement and straightness
Real timber is affected by environmental conditions, expanding and contracting based on relative humidity, and thereby, becoming fundamentally unstable. Aluminium, unaffected by any weather changes, does not move and therefore remains aligned. Aluminium battens installed in any space will always look uniformly straight, maintaining the original aesthetic.
Aluminium is hollow, and therefore, lightweight. On the other hand, timber species vary in density and can be up to 10 times heavier than timber veneer-wrapped hollow aluminium of equivalent size. The lighter weight of aluminium battens allows them to be more readily held up by supporting structures within a building. (Note: Aluminium is not meant to be used as a structural beam.)
Timber comes in various log sizes, which combined with availability and the presence of natural defects, can limit the maximum lengths of sawn timber that can be used as structural components. This is especially true for popular timber such as American White Oak and Black Walnut. Timber veneer-wrapped aluminium can be manufactured in consistent 7-metre lengths, and seamlessly joined to look like a single panel.
Solid timber can show inconsistencies when visual aspects are considered, especially for large-section requirements. Setting visual benchmarks for knot size and frequency, colour, and grain uniformity is not practical when using timber. Timber veneer uses a very thin slice out of a chunk of wood, maximising the yield out of that piece of timber.
Fire resistance has become a critical design consideration for modern buildings in urban environments. Big, structural glulam-type beams consistently outperform other building materials in many fire-resistant categories, while untreated timber generally falls under Material Group 3. It’s possible for timber veneer-wrapped aluminium to get a Material Group 1 fire rating (with 1 being the most fire resistant and 4 being the least).