High End Promo Dee Shultz & Erin Copper : Page 16

Green A Wood That Lasts Company uses new technology to make wood cells resistant to water . By Jennifer Martin Images Courtesy Perennial Wood Wooden outdoor decks can be one of the most challenging assets to maintain in a home. Rain, snow, humidity and temperature changes can warp any wood over time, and heavy weather plus foot traffic quickly wears down beautiful sur-face staining. Cedar and pressure-treated pine decks are designed not to warp, but require exten-sive sealing applications every year or two. Wood-plastic composites require less main-tenance, but some homeowners believe the look is artificial. Tropical hardwoods such as ipê are popular in high-end homes, and are dense and hard enough to resist moisture buildup naturally; however, some consumers have been seeking domestic alternatives. Eastman Chemical Company, based in Binghamton, N.Y., has developed a new approach. The product, Perennial Wood, starts out as Southern pine. Rather than mixing the wood with plastic, Eastman treats it with a proprietary chemical and heating process that the company says leaves it moisture-resistant for 25 years. “Think of it as a sponge that’s been pet-rified,” says Jim Flickinger, market develop-ment manager and brand manager. “Water will still go in and out of the wood, but it will not go into the wood’s cell walls.” The company says the wood, once mod-ified, resists water-related shrinking, swelling, cracking and cupping, as well as decay. The wood is warrantied for 25 years. The decking comes pre-finished in a choice of four stains: cedar, mahogany, red-wood or Cape Cod gray. However, homeown-ers can strip off the stain and apply a different one. “There’s very little maintenance other than cleaning,” Flickinger said. “The patina does fade over time, so you’ll need to re-stain it approximately every three to five years.” The company says the wood also is envi-ronmentally friendly, and not just because of its long-term durability. Grown in carefully managed forests across the southern United States, Southern pine is designed to be a renewable resource. The material used in Perennial Wood is harvested and modified domestically, eliminating the need for offshore shipping. The proprietary treatment process leaves no toxic substances within the wood. “The process uses an organic compound called acetic anhydride,” says company spokesperson Amy Lewis. “Acetic anhydride is used to manufacture a wide range of prod-ucts, from acetaminophen to artificial sweet-eners to toothbrushes, eyeglass frames, adhesive tape, screwdriver handles and LCD TV screens. The process leaves nothing in the wood that wasn’t there originally.” The byproduct of the process is acetic acid, which occurs at levels lower than those in household vinegar. Currently, Perennial Wood is available on a retail basis only at select lumbar yards and retailers throughout the northeastern U.S. However, trade professionals can order a wide selection of lumber for custom-designed ele-ments of decking, furniture, windows and doors. The company also offers installation guides, dealer tools, training tools and design tools at its website, www.perennialwood.com. 16 T HE H IGH E ND

Green

Jennifer Martin

<br /> A Wood That Lasts<br /> <br /> Company uses new technology to make wood cells resistant to water.<br /> <br /> Wooden outdoor decks can be one of the most challenging assets to maintain in a home. Rain, snow, humidity and temperature changes can warp any wood over time, and heavy weather plus foot traffic quickly wears down beautiful surface staining.<br /> <br /> Cedar and pressure-treated pine decks are designed not to warp, but require extensive sealing applications every year or two. Wood-plastic composites require less maintenance, but some homeowners believe the look is artificial. Tropical hardwoods such as ipê are popular in high-end homes, and are dense and hard enough to resist moisture buildup naturally; however, some consumers have been seeking domestic alternatives.<br /> <br /> Eastman Chemical Company, based in Binghamton, N.Y., has developed a new approach. The product, Perennial Wood, starts out as Southern pine. Rather than mixing the wood with plastic, Eastman treats it with a proprietary chemical and heating process that the company says leaves it moisture-resistant for 25 years.<br /> <br /> “Think of it as a sponge that’s been petrified,” says Jim Flickinger, market development manager and brand manager. “Water will still go in and out of the wood, but it will not go into the wood’s cell walls.”<br /> <br /> The company says the wood, once modified, resists water-related shrinking, swelling, cracking and cupping, as well as decay. The wood is warrantied for 25 years.<br /> <br /> The decking comes pre-finished in a choice of four stains: cedar, mahogany, redwood or Cape Cod gray. However, homeowners can strip off the stain and apply a different one. “There’s very little maintenance other than cleaning,” Flickinger said. “The patina does fade over time, so you’ll need to re-stain it approximately every three to five years.”<br /> <br /> The company says the wood also is environmentally friendly, and not just because of its long-term durability. Grown in carefully managed forests across the southern United States, Southern pine is designed to be a renewable resource. The material used in Perennial Wood is harvested and modified domestically, eliminating the need for offshore shipping. The proprietary treatment process leaves no toxic substances within the wood.<br /> <br /> “The process uses an organic compound called acetic anhydride,” says company spokesperson Amy Lewis. “Acetic anhydride is used to manufacture a wide range of products, from acetaminophen to artificial sweeteners to toothbrushes, eyeglass frames, adhesive tape, screwdriver handles and LCD TV screens. The process leaves nothing in the wood that wasn’t there originally.”<br /> <br /> The byproduct of the process is acetic acid, which occurs at levels lower than those in household vinegar.<br /> <br /> Currently, Perennial Wood is available on a retail basis only at select lumbar yards and retailers throughout the northeastern U.S. However, trade professionals can order a wide selection of lumber for custom-designed elements of decking, furniture, windows and doors. The company also offers installation guides, dealer tools, training tools and design tools at its website, www.perennialwood.com.<br /> <br /> Perennial Wood is well suited for outdoor applications where the authenticity of real wood is desired. Shown here is Perennial Wood decking, and two chairs made with Perennial Wood. TruLast Technology, a proprietary process, permanently modifies the wood, providing a physical barrier throughout that is warranted to protect against rot, decay and moisture for 25 years.<br /> <br /> Made in the United States, Perennial Wood is harvested from renewable U.S. Southern pine. With real wood character, it is three times more stable and has 25 percent more surface hardness than raw wood. The manufacturer, Eastman Chemical Company, claims the process leaves no toxic substances in the wood.<br /> <br /> In third-party tests, Perennial Wood stayed truer to form than teak, making it a longlasting U.S.-sourced wood for furniture. Eastman is now accepting inquiries from furniture manufacturers interested in using Perennial Wood.<br /> <br /> Twelve furniture design students from Appalachian State University were selected as finalists in the Perennial Wood Appalachian State Design Studio competition. They shared their furniture design pieces at High Point Market Week in High Point, N.C., in April. “The Wright Bench,” shown above, was designed by Eugene Duclos of Cary, N.C.

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