Seek out timber alternatives to battle supply chain blues

Seek timber alternatives

Many in the industry are looking for alternative timber solutions to keep construction projects moving. John Dowd, Category Director – Specialist Products at International Timber, identifies several alternative species that could help.

Market volatility post-Covid and as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has made it difficult for merchants and contractors to source certain types of timber species. Meanwhile, supply costs for species such as European Oak have risen month on month, as have logistical costs.

In response to global shortages in some of the most popular timber species, many in the industry are considering treated and modified timber alternatives that are more readily available.


One popular timber solution is Accoya. With its 50-year rot-free warranty and huge sustainability benefits, Accoya has become the timber of choice for many decision-makers.

Accoya is sourced from FSC and other regionally certified woods, meaning that is naturally renewable. This is thanks to the available and renewable timbers used in its creation. It is also manufactured using a non-toxic process, so nothing unnatural is introduced to the timber.

Redwood Thermowood

Siberian Larch has long been a popular choice for cladding, thanks to its high durability and versatility. However, we are unable to source this due to ongoing sanctions against Russia following the outbreak of war in Ukraine. This is likely to be a long-term issue since much of the UK stock is either low or sold out.

Redwood Thermowood has been a popular alternative to Siberian Larch since it is a readily available timber species that has been modified to give it even more useful qualities. Using thermal modification, which is chemical-free and uses only heat and steam, the timber gains an increased service life and stability in comparison to untreated redwood.

Redwood Thermowood offers no resin bleeding, little moisture absorption and low maintenance. There are also very short lead times currently, making it an ideal option to keep construction projects up and running.


© International Timber.

© International Timber.

Radiata Pine Thermowood

Radiata Pine Thermowood is a versatile timber being used increasingly as an alternative to Western Red Cedar. A combination of seasonal bad weather and forest fires in Canada, where Western Red Cedar is usually harvested, have meant that supplies of this species have become limited.

Unfortunately, this has also resulted in increased costs across the industry. While high-quality Cedar should come through in the coming months, for now, supplies are limited.

Radiata Pine is native to central and southern coastal California, but is regularly planted across the southern hemisphere. This means that Radiata Pine is readily available and can be delivered without huge delays.

Radiata Pine Thermowood from International Timber, for example, is sourced from sustainable plantations in New Zealand before entering thermal process. We have positive evidence that Radiata Pine gives an almost clear face, void of defects, while being able to receive paints or stains.

This timber species comes with PEFC certification and a fully independent audited energy and carbon trail, which gives the product carbon neutral certification.

Looking ahead

The timber supply chain continues to be challenging, with the next few months being key for figuring out what will happen going forward as we navigate the difficult economic climate, potentially falling demand and numerous supply chain issues. However, despite these difficulties, International Timber will continue to look for and source the best timber solutions for our customers, with treated and modified timbers providing great qualities that could help to keep construction moving, despite shortages elsewhere.

More information is available at

  • This article was originally published in Issue #01 of Supplying Timber magazine.