English Elm

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Forum topic by BobMai posted 12-31-2011 01:28 AM 1075 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12-31-2011 01:28 AM

Does anybody have experience with English Elm? I am particularly interested in its use outdoors. I have about 800 board feet that I am planning to use as siding for a Tiny House that my son is building. What moisture content can I safely put it up outside? It is stacked and airdrying indoors. The initial moisture content was over 30 % and it is now at about 18%. Also, how should it be finished for outdoor use? I do not want to paint it. Thanks for info you might be able to shead

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153 posts in 2701 days

#1 posted 01-02-2012 09:33 AM

I have a bunch of Elm drying just like yours but it will be for furniture. I strongly suspect that it would not be a good exterior wood but if you are still going to go with it then leave it outside to dry, it only needs to be at the mc of the outside air since that is where it will be used. If you arent going to paint it then consider a spar or marine varnish but you have to research your product as not all spar varnishes are good for exterior use. Good luck

-- Carpe Diem

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2980 days

#2 posted 01-04-2012 06:27 PM

18% is pretty good, really; it will dry more, but to what level is dependant on your local weather. 12-14% is typical as an average. You will certainly want to avoid moisture entry from rain and fog, so a good outdoor oil would be a decent choice. Log homes use it, and seem to last well. Good eaves from the roof line will help emmensly.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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#3 posted 01-20-2012 04:27 AM

Thanks to everyone for your feedback. I wouldn’t normally consider this wood for siding, it is beautiful, but this situation is unique. My son, a college student, is building a Tiny House with his own money( and obviously trying to do it as inexpensively as possible. The english elm was a tree that was lost in a storm where I work and I found a local sawyer to cut it for me. It was air dried to 12% and is currently at the mill being planed and made into ship lap. I had enough that I should still have a number of board feet in both 1 inch and 2 inch thicknesses left for projects. I checked with the head of the local arboretum here and he had a colleague in Ireland who is one of the world’s foremost experts on English Elm who said that it should be fine for outdoor use as it used to be the wood of choice for shipbuilding in days gone by.

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