Decay Resistance of Surface Carbonized Wood

Maija Kymäläinen*, Tiina Belt, Hanna Seppäläinen, Lauri Rautkari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Surface carbonization, or charring, of wood is a one-sided modification method primarily intended for protection of exterior cladding boards. The heavily degraded surface acts as a barrier layer shielding the interior from environmental stresses, and as such acts as an organic coating. To test the durability of surfaces created in this manner, unmodified, contact charred, and flame charred spruce and birch samples were exposed to the brown rot fungus Coniophora puteana and white rot fungus Trametes versicolor for a period of nine weeks. All sides of the samples except the modified surfaces were sealed to investigate the protective effect of the surface. Mass losses were greatest for unmodified references (up to 60% and 56% for birch and spruce, respectively) and smallest for contact charred samples (up to 23% and 32%). The wood below the modified surfaces showed chemical changes typical of brown rot and simultaneous white rot. The measured glucosamine content revealed fungal biomass in both the modified surface as well as the layers beneath. According to the recorded values, the fungal biomass increased below the surface and was higher for flame charred samples in comparison to contact charred ones. This is likely due to the more intact, plasticized surface and the thicker thermally modified transition zone that restricts fungal growth more effectively in contact charred samples in comparison to the porous, cracked flame charred samples. Scanning electron microscope images verified the results by revealing fungal hyphae in all inspected wood types and species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8410
Number of pages13
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • basidiomycetes
  • brown rot
  • char
  • surface modification
  • white rot
  • wood


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