Wooden walkways are a natural and ecological option to define and / or allow the passage of pedestrians, cyclists, etc. They do not collide in natural spaces, such as beaches or trails, nor in urban areas, such as sidewalks.
They are also a great tool to raise awareness about accessibility, as they allow comfortable traffic for people who may have reduced mobility.
Another advantage of wooden walkways is the cost, both from the point of view of materials and installation. Wood is much cheaper than steel and work is much faster and easier.
Types of walkways and/or wooden bridges
- Fixed to the floor.
- Stairs and access ramps.
- Bridges or passages high above the ground or water passages. They allow you to overcome obstacles such as ravines, rivers or steep terrain.
For the latter type, it is normal for wooden walkways to be measured as they require study. For other simpler cases, such as access to the beach, prefabricated models or even rollers can be purchased.
What kind of wood is ideal?
A requirement that the wood used to build the walkway must meet is that they reach the use class 3.2 and preferably 4. These include situations in which the wood may be in prolonged contact with water, and also in direct contact with the soil in class of use 4. For extreme cases in which a part is submerged, it would be necessary to resort to some type marked with class 5 .
The most used wood is treated pine, mainly autoclaved (vacuum-based treatment, high pressures and water-soluble copper salts). This choice is not due to the natural resistance of pine wood to the weather, in fact it is not very durable. It is mainly due to:
- It is an abundant and therefore economical species.
- Treated correctly, its durability and performance greatly improve.
It is also common to use spruce, which is a wood with similar benefits to pine. However, it is a mistake, as the fir impregnability is less. That is, the treatment does not penetrate it.
Some wood species are also used great natural durability to which surface treatments are applied, such as Ipe, and derived products such as compounds. Such cases in the public sphere are rare, as they represent a substantial increase in investment.
Another common problem is using laminated wood to which the autoclave treatment is subsequently applied. That is, after gluing. This is a mistake.
But it’s not just the type of wood to choose that matters. Depending on the intended use and loads, it is also necessary to pay attention to the section of the boards, battens, etc.
The importance of hardware
There is no point in having the best wood to build a bridge or bridge, if later we use bad fittings and the pieces come loose in a short time.
Any screw, nail or anchor is not enough. They must be made of materials suitable for the outdoors, for example, galvanized or stainless steel.
In the case of beaches or walks facing the sea, the importance of a good choice is even greater. The amount of salts present in these environments makes the areas more aggressive. Not even any type of stainless steel will do.
Should we pay attention to something else on the wooden walkways?
It is also interesting to check the level of slippery or skid resistance (Rd) of the surface.
If barefoot people are going to walk, we must take care visual quality of wood. That does not have too many knots or defects that could harm the user.