Shading and Solar Control with Timber

Using Timber Structures for Shading

Timber Shade Structures for Architectural Designs

Timber is one of the oldest building materials still in active use today. Thanks to the variety of species suitable for building works it is a material that is suited to a wide range of architectural designs and styles, offering a timeless aesthetic for even the most challenging of build.  

When it comes to solar shading, timber shade structures are a popular option for providing protection from solar radiation, light and glare. With the enforcement of Approved Document O, fixed external shading structures are just one way that specifiers and designers can ensure that their building is designed to prevent overheating.  

Timber structures are an excellent way to provide this external shading function.  

Below we go through some of the most popular options for using timber as a shading structure.  

Timber Shade Structures: Cantilevered Louvres  

A timber structure can be used that protrudes from the face of building over a large glass elevation such as a glass wall or a rear patio door. These timber Louvre structures cantilever off the face of the building and provide overhead shade for the glass elevation. 

The structures themselves are made of timber with flat timber slats built-in structure to predesigned and optimum shading angles. Steel is sometimes integrated for large or complex designs to offer more rigidity t the structure.  

A variety of timber species and finishes can be used to ensure that these cantilevered structures provide high levels of solar shade whilst in a fully integrated part of the architectural design. 

Timber Shade Structures: Brise Soleil  

Brie Soleil is a word used to describe horizontal or vertical structures that sit over the face of glass facades to provide shading. We offer a full range of both horizontal and vertical Louvre systems to provide exterior shading for any style shape or size of glass elevation.  

Brise Soleil is fixed onto an external structure that sits on the external elevation of the building. With any size or shape of louvre structures available, the shading structure is designed to provide shading and privacy to any type of glass installation.  

Brise Soleil can be fixed but they can also be moveable. By opting to have the louvres moving, the user can control the amount of shading that enters the building at any time.  

Our horizontal Louvre systems are available in red western cedar or aluminum. If you're looking for a fixed Brise Soleil and these can be made bespoke in any timber species to suit the architectural design.

Timber Shade Structures: Pergolas  

Pergolas are generally large, semi-covered structures built on four tall support posts. They’re usually constructed as a seating area with tables and/or fireplaces, and can vary greatly in size and style. 

Generally, they tend to have a flat roof though they can also be made at a slight angle. An additional covering or screen can be added to the open roof if you prefer less direct sunlight. Taking this further, plant material is a natural method for providing more shade. 

Timber Shade Structures: Battens  

Horizontal or vertical timber battens can be installed on the external face of a building to provide high levels of shading by intermittently breaking the glass face with structure.  

A popular option for timber battens is to use a timber that matches the cladding of the building which allows the areas of glass to merge into timber exterior design. Timber battens can be spaced according to the building design for the most optimum level of shading and comfort. A wide range of timber is available as well as in shape and sizes to ensure that the shading structure much is designed the building.  

Timber effect battens are also possible that require less maintenance and are more durable than a natural timber structure.

Timber Shade Structures: Trellises 

A trellis is usually fairly small, and it’s generally made up of interwoven pieces of wood used to support climbing plants or act as screening. While this choice does not provide direct overhead sun protection, it can act as an excellent sun screen or protective barrier on the sides of gardens or patios. 

Even more, they look excellent installed along the edges of landscapes (near fences and walls) and make perfect structures for climbing plants like Japanese wisteria, ivy, or grapes.

Timber Shade Structures: Arbors 

An arbor is a structure that usually forms a shaded walkway, passageway, standing, or seating area. They make great landscape accents when installed over pathways and benches. 

Like trellises, they can be used as structural supports for climbing plants. Arbors are also often used in wedding ceremonies, where they can be built creatively using a variety of sizes, colours, and wood types. These tend to be faster, smaller scale installations which are optimal for someone with a smaller budget.

Timber Shade Structures: Gazebos 

A gazebo is a structure with a closed roof and a seating area that’s generally built in an octagonal shape. Though it’s largely common in parks and botanical gardens, people often build them on their properties for a precipitation-proof gathering or seating area.

Choosing the right timber for your shading structure 

When it comes to outdoor construction, make sure you always research types of wood before you build anything! Anything you build outdoors is subject to natural deterioration that would not occur indoors – rot, insect damage, and high wind speed being the main culprits of structural damage. Always make sure that the wood you’re using is either treated, fully stained and lacquered, or naturally waterproof. 

Western red cedar and yellow cedar are excellent for outdoor construction. They’re very high quality and have natural water resistance; therefore, they don’t need to be pressure treated or stained. Unfortunately, cedar is both expensive and soft, meaning if you aren’t careful, it can get nicked, dinged, or scuffed easily. 

Pressure treated lumber is lumber that has been immersed in a liquid preservative — usually alkaline-copper quat (ACQ, which is toxic only to harmful bugs and fungi). The wood is then placed in a pressure chamber. This treatment allows it to be permanently water and rot-resistant, but the wood doesn’t look as nice as a natural cedar or stained lumber. 

Stained lumber is wood – generally fir, spruce, or pine, around Vancouver – that has been fully treated with varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, or tung oil. When applied properly, it looks great, but if you add too few coats of varnish or don’t fully sand your lumber, it’s unlikely to look as good or last as long as it should. 

Do not use untreated pine! Pine is a common, nice-looking wood that is often used in indoor construction and residential framing due to its prevalence and versatility. Because it’s extremely common in stores like Home Depot, many people assume that its utility extends to the outdoors. However, left untreated, pine soaks up water like a sponge, causing it to swell up, warp, rot, and/or break. 

Timber solar shading louvres come in a range of wood types from Western Red Cedar, Siberian Larch, Accoya and Thermowood to European Oak and Meranti. The desired physical appearance of your building is obviously up to you, with the wide range of timber louvres species available, you’ll never be stumped and without a choice.

Timber Shading Structures and Approved Document O  

Building regulations approved document O requires a new build to be designed in a way that mitigates overheating. Various methods listed above provide shading and protection to a building to reduce the amount of solar radiation that can enter and cause overheating.  

One such way used within the second set of methodology is to include fixed shading structures as part holding an architectural sign. External timber shading structures can be effective way to create stereo shading that forms an integral part of the architectural design rather than an afterthought.  

It considered early enough in the project these exterior timber shading structures can be designed directly into the building ensuring that the shading forms part of the design rather than a bolted on extra.

If you're looking to use dimmer shader on your project contact the team at Avino who would able to discuss the project acquirements and suggest possible solutions.