Racking Modifications to Protect Timber from the Great British Weather

Racking Modifications to Protect Timber from the Great British Weather

Racking Modifications to Protect Timber from the Great British Weather featured in Timber Trade Journal Jul 23

Anyone who works in the timber industry understands one universal truth – timber and rain do not mix well together.

Even treated timber, if stored outside for any length of time, will go through successive cycles of getting wet and drying out again, and will eventually succumb to shrinkage, bowing and warping, making it all but useless.

This can cost merchants thousands of pounds each year, not to mention relegating once-good materials to the bargain bucket or worse still, the skip.

It also adds to material cost inflation as less timber is available to the market and merchants need to recoup their losses somewhere along the line.

But as the UK is seeing more severe weather events due to the changing climate, forward thinking merchants are searching for outdoor storage solutions that offer better protection to timber.

This is driving a trend for modifying and extending cantilever racking to enclose timber more effectively, meaning it is less impacted by bad weather and far less prone to shrinkage.

Mike Gorman, Sales Director of Yorkshire-based racking supplier Filstorage, said the company had seen an upturn in orders for canopies – particularly double canopies – and cladding for the back and sides of racking as a method of keeping the weather at bay.

Cantilever racking with canopy

As well as changing weather patterns, the trend is also being fuelled by merchants supplying better quality timber in a bid to capture more of the retail market as well as the trade.

Mike said: “There’s no doubt that the weather patterns of the UK are changing, with longer, hotter summers, warmer, wetter, winters, and more severe weather events such as storms and extended downpours.

“This plays havoc with timber, and merchants are increasingly looking for storage solutions that will better protect their timber stores, particularly those investing in higher quality wood.

“Many of the big DIY chains tackled this a long time ago by creating the capacity to store timber inside. But this is out of the question for most merchants, especially independents, which are looking for a more cost effective solution. In most cases, this means modifying their existing racking to provide the protection they need.”

Chief among these modifications that have seen an upsurge in popularity is the double canopy, which provides a significant overhang on both sides of the racking, sheltering the timber from rain.

cantilever rack with canopy

The two canopy panels slant inwards towards the centre, creating a Y-shaped structure at the top of the racking which channels rain water off into a drainage system.

Canopies like this are extremely effective at stopping rain reaching timber rails, but on taller racking rain can still blow in from the sides.

For this, some merchants are turning to back and side cladding, almost enclosing the timber and offering the ultimate protection against inclement weather.

rack clad cantilever racking

“Bolting on weather protection to existing racking is a cost-effective solution because compared to restructuring a timber yard or extending warehousing, it requires relatively little investment for almost the same level of protection,” Mike said.

“However, it is essential merchants understand the regulations around this. For example, it is not possible to completely enclose racking without applying for planning permission to do so, so merchant must work within the law. Considerations must all be taken into account to ensure snow and wind loads are also catered for – the size of the racking and cladding will have an effect on this.

cantilever rack clad building

“This would probably cause access problems, however, so is not recommended. But it does demonstrate how regulations can impact on heavyside storage.”

Mike added that before deciding on a weather protection solution, it is vital merchants find out if their racking can be modified, as it is not always possible.

He said: “Some cantilever racking can be modified with canopies and cladding easily, whereas other brands of racking need to be adapted by a professional racking company before being modified.

“Unfortunately, there are some types of racking which can neither be modified or adapted to fit weather protection modifications, and in these instances, it can be difficult to protect your timber against bad weather.

cantilever racking with canopy protection

“Thankfully, the majority of racking we find in merchants, and all the racking we supply, can be modified in some way to increase the protection it offers. It is rare we find a system which cannot be improved upon at all.”

To find out more about solutions to protect your timber from the worst the British weather can throw at it, contact Filstorage on (01430) 410450 or email sales@filstorage.com.

Find out more about our cantilever racking options here: https://filstorage.com/pages/cantilever-racking