Research project paves way for a more effective wood stain

Supported by Innovation Fund Denmark, a joint research project with the University of Copenhagen and Danish Technological Institute has given Flügger tools to potentially extend the life of wood stain by up to 25 per cent. Wooden houses will thus be significantly cheaper to maintain.

Wooden houses are more sustainable and faster to build than their brick and concrete counterparts. Despite this, wooden houses in Denmark still only make up a fraction of new builds, and a major reason may be the great need for maintenance of the wood with regular application of wood stain.

To make the maintenance of wooden houses easier, Flügger, the University of Copenhagen and Danish Technological Institute have conducted three years of research focusing on improving wood stain so that the periods between each application can be extended. The team of specialists now has a better understanding of what it takes to protect the wood.

“We have identified a number of tools that are effective, but now we need to find out how we can use them to develop a new wood stain. We are sure that we will end up with a wood stain that conservatively lasts 25 per cent longer than the current paints, explains Søren Poulsen, Senior Advisor in Flügger’s development department.

New life for wooden houses

One of the technologies which the experts have high expectations of involves adding microscopic capsules containing liquid components. After a few years, when the paint loses its elasticity and begins to crack, these capsules break and the components seep into cracks and crevices, drying like a regular paint.

“By creating a form of self-healing wood stain, we can significantly extend the life of the wood. This is exciting because it gives the construction industry completely new opportunities to build in sustainable wood on a par with bricks and concrete. Even with optimal maintenance, a wooden façade must be replaced after a period of time, but with this new wood stain technology, the wooden façade or wooden structure can last significantly longer,” says Jonas Stenbæk, Head of Section in Wood and Biomaterials at Danish Technological Institute.

A delicate balance

Flügger is in the process of testing the various wood stain tools in Scandinavia and Malaysia, respectively. With its cold wet climate, Scandinavia provides a challenging climate for wood, while at the opposite end of the scale Malaysia’s heat and moisture turbocharge the development of bacteria and fungal spores.

“The trick is to make a paint membrane that shuts out almost all water, but which still allows the wood to breathe, because if the paint becomes too dense, it will simply flake off. So we have looked at different binders and there are a staggering amount that can help create a more effective wood stain,” says Søren Poulsen.

In the summer of 2020, Flügger launched a new strategy, Going Green, focusing on sustainable innovation, including the collaboration to create a more effective wood stain. Flügger has also established specific ambitions for 2030 in a number of focus areas where the Group believes that it has the opportunity to shape the paint and accessories market in a more sustainable direction.