Timber Choices

Timber Choices

Oak Timber Grades

One of the most frequent discussions with customers is about the most appropriate oak product to use for different applications and about how timber will age.

Whilst we are happy to openly share our knowledge of the suitability of different timbers for different projects, it has to be appreciated that timber is a natural product meaning that every piece will look different and will behave differently during the drying process. We find what works best is for customers to explain to us the details of what they are doing with the timber and their concerns if any so that they can make an informed decision about their purchase.

At Hillbarn we keep in stock a choice of Green, Air Dried and Kiln Dried Oak.

Green Oak is recently cut, has a high moisture content and we would always recommend that it is only ever used for external projects such as Gate Posts, Pergolas, Porches and Cladding. Green Oak will be most prone to twisting, splitting and bowing from the time of purchase to the time when it has dried and aclimatised. Very hot weather conditions during the initial stages of the drying process will significantly affect the degree to which a timber will split twist and bow.

5 Year Air dried oak we stock in popular sized beams and are able to order additional sizes for specific customer requirements. Air Dried Oak has been allowed to season for a 5 year period which makes the timber more stable than green oak. Each beam will have developed splits in it and may have twisted, both of which are the norm during the seasoning process and the timber will have  become grey towards black in its appearance. Air Dried Oak is often the choice for Trusses, Oak frame buildings, Fireplace Beams.

Kiln Dried Oak is dried in a kiln which accelerates the drying process. Kiln Dried Oak is very stable and is the product we would suggest is used for interal projects for shelves, worktops, flooring, skirtings and architraves.

Each of the above may then be supplied in a number of finishes.

Sawn Finish

Timber purchased as a sawn finish may vary in colour on different faces depending upon the length of time the timber has been stored and whether any faces have been cut recently to meet the customers diamensions requirement. The timber may also have blemishes on it such as water staining marks and banding lines.

Sanded Finish

At Hillbarn we offer customers the option to have oak supplied sanded. Sanding removes the rough sawn finish and also generally remove blemishes such as the grey effects of aging, water stains and band marks.

Planned Finish

Planed timber is the smoothest finish which is ideal for fascia boards, flooring, skirting, architraves and mouldings.


There are UV products available on the market which will slow but not stop the  process of timber transforming to grey in appearance. However, unless treated with a colour pigmented product, all timber, pressure treated or untreated will grey over a period of time. The time it takes for timber to grey will vary depending upon climatic conditions.

This blog is meant only as a guide and if you have additional questions prior to a purchase we are always happy to discuss these with you.


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