Effect of Exterior Wood Coatings on the Durability of Cross-laminated Timber against Mold and Decay Fungi

Gabrielly S. Bobadilha, C. Elizabeth Stokes, Grant Kirker, Sheikh Ali Ahmed, Katie M. Ohno, Dercilio Junior Verly Lopes


Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is increasingly used in building construction worldwide. Durability of CLT against fungal attack has yet to be fully explored. Water intrusion in mass timber can yield dimensional changes and microbial growth. This study evaluated the performance of CLT coated with various water- and solvent-based stains commercially available in the United States. Twelve coatings were tested for moisture excluding effectiveness, water repellency effectiveness, volumetric swelling, and anti-swelling efficiency. Only five coatings repelled water, limiting dimensional changes. A modified version of AWPA E10-16 (2016) was performed to evaluate decay of the coated CLT samples. Weight losses were recorded after 18 weeks’ exposure to the brown-rot decay fungus Gloeophyllum trabeum. In accelerated mold testing, coated CLT samples were grown in chambers containing spores of Aspergillus sp., Rhizopus sp., and Penicillium sp. for 29 d and assessed visually for mold growth. In both tests, coating C (transparent, water-based, alkyd/acrylic resin) performed the best among the tested coatings. Mold growth was completely prevented, and weight loss caused by G. trabeum was approximately 1.33%. Although coating C prevented decay for 18 weeks, coatings are not intended to protect against decay fungi. However, they may offer short-term protection during transport, storage, and construction.


Surface treatment; Coatings; Mass-timber; Cross laminated timber deterioration; Mold

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