Your choice of oak beams should be based on several factors that you should be aware of before you make any purchase. For instance, you should be able to differentiate air dried oak from green oak. Also, you should know how various section sizes of the timber affects how an oak beam looks. Lastly, you should be familiar with the grading of the beam.
Air Dried or Green Oak?
The areas of application for green oak can also be done using air dried oak, but the opposite of this is not applicable; you cannot use green oak for applications that require air dried oak. As such, you need to distinguish between the two. Air dried oak has cracks, and any that has no visible cracks is still green. Avoid using green oak for internal construction particularly in rooms that have a lot of heat such as the kitchen; the heat will cause the oak beam to shrink, bend, twist and split as it dries. A perfectly air dried oak beam takes at least three years making it sturdy enough for internal construction applications.
Air dried oak is tough, and each beam may have a distinct look though the beams tend to have an unsightly appearance particularly is they are large beams. A 6×6 beam is bound to have more cracks than one that is 6×4 or smaller. The degree of cracking will also differ based on the prevailing temperatures. A strong oak beam is always cut from the heart of the log, and thus the beam is prone to cracks as it dries. Beams that are in the 6-inch range should be cut from the core of the log because these are often used for heavy construction. The smaller beam can be cut from what remains, and these are ideal for light construction applications.
Oak Beam Grade
The best grade to go for when choosing an oak beam is the QP1, which is the highest quality grade of oak. Such oak is characterized by straight grains, and small knots and the lumber have fewer cracks went air dried than other grade oaks. If you are not so much into the aesthetics of the beams, then you can settle for the QP2 grade oak which nearly similar to the QP1 grade when it comes to sturdiness, but they have more cracks and larger knots.
It is important to air dry the lumber to acclimatize it to the climate to avoid any excessive cracking as the oak beam adjusts to the temperatures in your house. Nevertheless, it is important to install oak beams in a room that are not humid and store them in your house for at least a two weeks before you install them.
Visit Border Hardwood Ltd for more information.