Pairing gorgeous mid-brown tones with phenomenal physical properties, Thermo-Ayous is an innovative, versatile, sustainable, attractive and high-performance product for any outdoor timber project. It’s particularly popular as a cheaper alternative to Western Red Cedar.
Let’s take a deeper dive into this on-trend timber.
What is Thermo-Ayous and how is it made?
Ayous is a tropical hardwood tree native to the forests of Central and West Africa. With the botanical name Triplochiton scleroxylon, Ayous is also known as African whitewood, Obeche, Samba, Abachi and Wawa. These trees typically grow to around 50m in height.
Ayous’ modification process consists of drying, heating and cooling the timber in a controlled atmosphere. This produces chemical changes to the cell structure of the Ayous that not only alters its appearance, but increases its durability — again, performing similarly to cedar when used outdoors.
By limiting shrinking and swelling, heat treatment provides the wood with additional dimensional stability, guarding the wood against warping as a result of changes in moisture. The process also provides the timber with enhanced resistance to a range of microorganisms and insects — suited for outdoor application and exposure to the elements.
Thermo-Ayous achieves a 1–2 Class durability rating according to EU standards, with a possible service life of over 50 years.
What does Thermo-Ayous look like?
Before treatment, Ayous timber has a creamy white, light yellow appearance. After undergoing its process of sustainable thermal modification and drying, Ayous’ appearance darkens to a luxurious, versatile medium brown — suited to almost any design and similar in tone to Western Red Cedar.
The boards are clear grade, uniform and essentially knot free, again attracting many comparisons to cedar in terms of its feel and ‘fabric’. Easy to maintain and with a smooth feel, Thermo-Ayous takes finishes and stains exceptionally well and machines easily.
What can Thermo-Ayous timber be used for?
Thermal treatment provides the wood with excellent moisture and decay resistance and dimensional stability, making Thermo-Ayous ideal for external cladding applications. Available in vertical or horizontal, the species is also increasingly popular for slatted fencing projects. Thermo-Ayous’ medium-brown tones can be equally at home inside as an internal wall cladding species.
At 330kg/m³ at 8% moisture content, this product is relatively lightweight, which can make it more prone to abrasion, scratches and dents than other hardwoods. But don’t confuse a lack of density with a lack of durability; as mentioned, Ayous is a fabulous outdoor timber. Note that Ayous can react with iron, so be sure to use stainless steel fixings.
How much does Thermo-Ayous cost?
Whilst Thermo-Ayous sits towards the mid-higher end of the cost spectrum, it typically still comes in at a cheaper cost than some popular species like Western Red Cedar.
Take a stylish tongue and V-groove cladding profile, for example — Thermo-Ayous sits around the £73 per m² price point. To compare, you’ll be paying roughly £81 for the equivalent in Western Red Cedar. That’s a handy saving for a species with a similar colour tone, appearance, properties and ‘look and feel’.
If you were working on a typical garden room — 3.8 length x 2.4m width, 2.2m height, for example — to clad all walls and allow for an 8’ bifold door, you’ll need in the region of 22m² of cladding. Remember to allow approximately 10% for waste on top, giving a total required of 24m². In Thermo-Ayous, this would cost around £1752. In Western Red Cedar, it would be priced at around £1944.
Other popular species like Siberian Larch (Grade A) cost around £50 per m², £60 for Alaskan Yellow Cedar and £47 for Douglas Fir. Compared to other thermally-treated timber cladding products on offer in our range, Thermo-Ayous is slightly dearer. A typical V-groove cladding profile in Thermo-Tulipwood CAMBIA® is around £60 per m², with ThermoWood® around £38.
If you’re planning a slatted fencing project, expect to pay less for Thermo-Ayous than you would with Western Red Cedar (£2.75 versus £3.50 per linear metre for 18x45mm slats), but marginally more than if you chose Siberian Larch or Alaskan Yellow Cedar (both £2.40).
Note that prices are correct as of August 2022 and can be subject to change!
Is Thermo-Ayous sustainable?
When sourced from well-managed woodland, Ayous is a very sustainable species; the trees grow relatively quickly and the species is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
That’s in addition to the environmentally-friendly treatment process that gives each board dramatically extended service life (and therefore a reduced likelihood of needing replacement). Thermo-Ayous is also a non-toxic product.
The challenge is being sure that your Ayous comes from a sustainably-managed forest. Historically, these trees have been subject to illegal logging, notably in Cameroon. Forest exploitation has multifaceted, dramatic impacts on the environment and biodiversity.
That’s why we have a clear, unequivocal environmental commitment — so you can be confident your timber is coming from an ethical, eco-friendly woodland. We’re delighted to be certified suppliers of PEFC and FSC-certified timber.
Begin your Thermo-Ayous timber project today
As a third-generation family timber importer and machinist, we take great pride in our customer service and the superior quality of all timber products supplied.
When you enquire with us, you’ll be assigned a project handler who’ll be with you at every stage — from scoping out costs, nailing those finer details, solving any stresses and the eventual delivery of your product.
Whether you’re sold on Thermo-Ayous or you’re thinking of a different species for your cladding, fencing or decking project, our team can’t wait to hear from you.