Wooden Picnic Tables – 5 Types of Materials Used To Build them
Although you can use various types of materials to build wooden picnic tables, you should choose materials based on their properties, which will ultimately determine the properties of your tables. For example, some materials have natural preservatives and beauty while others provide a wide range of finishing options. Here is a look at some of the most common materials used to build wooden picnic tables, as well as their properties.
Because of its many desirable properties, cedar is probably the most popular material for building wooden picnic tables. Firstly, it is a dimensionally stable and lightweight wood. In other words, unlike most other types of wood, cedar resists the natural tendency to warp, twist and crack. Secondly, its fibers contain oils that act as natural preservatives and help it to resist rot and decay, thereby making it an ideal material even for moist and humid environments. Thirdly, it gives out a distinct cedar aroma that not only smells good but also repels insects such as moths. If you want to give your cedar picnic table a little more color, use an exterior stain instead of painting it. This will ensure that you retain the natural protection of cedar while maintaining its beauty.
Infused with various chemical such as Ammonium Copper Quat (ACQ) and Chromate Copper Arsenate (CCA), treated wood is resistant to rotting and insects. However, although there is no conclusive proof that the aforementioned chemicals pose any reasonable risk to the environment or the public, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends reducing the level of potential exposure to the chemicals by applying a penetrating-type coating to tables made from treated wood at least once in a year. Generally, water or oil-based sealants that can penetrate deep inside the wood are preferable to products such as paints and film-formers.
Redwood exhibits similar qualities to cedar including a grown-in resistance to insects, moths and other wood pests, as well as impressive dimensional stability. According to a report by the Forest Products Laboratory of the United States Department of Agriculture, redwood has less tangential and volumetric shrinkage than other common types of softwood. In other words, this material is less susceptible to warping, cupping, twisting, and checking. If you want to add more color to your picnic tables, use high quality exterior stains that do not hide the beauty of this wood.
Unlike cedar and redwood, pinewood does not typically have a high natural resistance to pests and decay. However, this does not mean that it is not a suitable material for making outdoor furniture. To start with, pine tends to absorb preservatives applied to it rather well. This means that you can use high-quality exterior stains, paints, and waterproofing agents to provide the necessary protection against weather elements. Secondly, pinewood is generally less expensive in comparison to many other types of wood. Finally, pine has a bit of a soft feel to it, making it an ideal material for kid’s wooden picnic tables.
Wood Plastic Composites (WPC)
These are essentially a mixture of wood fiber and a synthetic resin. According to the Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials, WPCs are highly resistant to rot, decay and pest attack. They also have a high dimensional stability, which makes them less susceptible to warp and splinter. Composites do not need any kind of finishing, and only demand minimal maintenance. As a result, WPCs are becoming quite popular materials for wooden picnic tables.
All said, the materials used to build wooden picnic tables ultimately determine their properties. For instance, cedar and redwood produce versatile and beautiful tables. On the other hand, tables made from pinewood require finishing off with preservatives. Finally, if you build your tables from treated wood, you should measures to reduce the risk of exposure to chemicals used to treat the wood.