Air Dried Oak v Green Oak v Oak Sleepers
Air dried oak will normally have been felled more than three years ago. To uniform the cutting process, beams tend to fall in to the following sizes.
- 150mm x 150mm
- 200mm x 200mm
- 250mm x 250mm
- 300mm x 300mm
Although these are standard sizes, ‘Oak Fireplace Beams’ are able to cut these in any direction to create the right beam for you. Sometimes there is an element of waste and therefore we can advise on the best dimensions so that it more cost effective.
Air Dried Oak has been air dried by exposure to natural atmospheric conditions, whilst protected from the rain. It is more stable than Green Oak and has the added appeal of cracks and shakes that would normally appear in Green Oak after a year or so.
Green Oak is slightly cheaper and is easier to work although Air Dried Oak is more suitable towards internal projects such as fireplaces and mantels.
Oak Railway sleepers should not be used as fireplace beams as the both the grade of oak and excessive moisture levels are not in keeping with the character tics expected within a building. Oak Railway Sleepers are ideal for outside and are a more cost effective way of decorating the garden.
Characteristics & Appearance
Seasoned or air dried oak, in its natural state, will be silver/grey in colour and have an element of splits and cracks on the surface. Most oak beams have a varying amount of knots depicted where a branch once grew. The timber is hard due to the reducing amount of moisture within the oak and its dimensions will have reduced slightly from when it was originally sawn.
When your oak beam is machined, the grey colour is immediately replaced by the underlaying colour of fresh oak. This colour can be changed to match an array of different colours achieved by coloured waxes.
There are strict and sometimes regulations regarding the installation of oak beams around wood burring stoves.
All stove installers should be HETAS regulated and are trained in the installation of combustable materials like oak fireplace beams and mantels.
As a guide, please see the HETAS website or ask your distributor for guidelines.