Timber queries & questions you want to ask?

We’ve put together a selection of frequently asked questions and related timber advice to help answer your queries. From finding out how our timber is sustainably sourced and pressure treated to fitting timber posts

and variations in timber colour, we hope you find your answer below. Can’t find what you’re looking for or need some further timber related advice? Call us today on 01373 481 410, we’re always happy to help.

Some FAQs

What are the differences between your firewood?

Our standard Sawmill Softwood bag is fresh cut straight from the mill. We have Joinery Softwood bags that are kiln dried and suitable for log burners. Our hardwood bags are a mixture of Beech, Birch and Ash which are partly seasoned hardwood. Hardwood burns slower and hotter than softwood making it a much better wood to burn, we recommend this for open fires.

What quantities do you sell the Firewood at?

Our dumpy bags are 1.2m3 on all types of firewood we have smaller netted bags of hardwood and softwood kindling.

Wood Flooring

 We sell Timbertop and Brooks Floor flooring

  1.  What is ‘Engineered’ wood flooring?
  • Engineered flooring is made of a core of hardwood/plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer affixed to the top surface

      2.What is ‘Solid wood’ flooring?

  • Made from solid wood, each board is made from a single piece of hardwood, usually about ¾’s of an inch thick.
  • Solid vs Engineered

3.What’s the difference between engineered and solid wood flooring?

  • Engineered flooring is a versatile and resilient option that is more resistant to moisture and heat, so it can therefore be used in any room of a house
  • Solid wood flooring expands and contracts in reaction to moisture, therefore it is only recommended that it is only used in rooms that are at ground level or above. Because it’s so think it can be sanded down and refinished for however long it is in the house

4.Calculating how many packs are required

  •  Firstly you need the total area of flooring in square meters using the below formula:

           Room Width (m) X Room Length (m) = Room Area (m2)

  •  Then find out how many m2 are in one pack
  • Divide the Room Area by the m2 per pack
  • This will give you the number of packs required to cover the room

Are the timbers pressure treated or tanalised?

Pressure treated and tanalised are actually the same thing. These treatments protect against fungal and insect attack and almost all of our exterior timbers are treated this way.

What is the difference between dipped and pressure treated?

Dipped is a water based treatment that is literally dipped, whereas pressure treated is put into a tank and pressurised making the treatment penetrate the timbers having overall better protection against fungus and insects, thus a longer lifespan. All of our ground contact timber is UC4 treated; once our timber is cut we leave it to air dry for 6-12 weeks depending on the time of year, weather and the section size of the timber. This causes the timber to act like a sponge when being treated – giving it a 15 year guarantee.

Are all timber preservatives classified with regard to their potential environmental and health risks?

In Europe all timber preservatives must comply with legally stipulated requirements in posing no health risks and being environmentally compatible. They must all be evaluated individually and subjected to a very extensive, critical health and environmental appraisal before being granted approval for their intended use.

Can you tell me about the wood that Charltons use?

Softwood is a natural material with outstanding qualities including; strength with elasticity, weight bearing ability, thermal insulation, weather resistance and much more. We use high quality softwood timbers from sustainable sources here in the South West and have achieved certification under the environmental chain of custody schemes of both the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). However, wood is not a manufactured product and will include natural characteristics which are not flaws but part of its beauty.

Why is there variation in colour?

Every tree is different in form, colour and grain. The Osmose/Arch treatment process penetrates differently, even within the confines of a cut length . Colour differences will usually become less pronounced over time, but a consistent flat colour without variation will never be achieved

How do I work out the materials I need to build a fence?

We recommend having a post every 1.8 meters on a featheredge fence; 2 rails for a fence up to 1.2m high; over 1.2m up to 1.8m we recommend 3 rails. To protect the featheredge from ground moisture, you can fix a 150mm wide gravel board for the featheredge boards to sit on top of. The featheredge we sell is 125mm wide and we suggest a 25mm overlap which means for every meter of fence installed you will need 10 boards.

How do I fix the post into the ground?

The quickest and easiest way to do this is to use post mix, fence posts are usually in the ground approx. 500mm and gate posts are approx. 750mm. For fence posts we recommend 1-2 bags per post and gate posts we suggest 3 bags per hole. We also advise you have a spirit level to make sure the post is installed straight.

What fixings will I need to make a fence?

We recommend 50mm galvanised round wire nails for the featheredge, picket and Windstay pales and 5×80 Ultimate wood screws for fixing the rails into the posts.

How do I open a Trade Account?

For a pay as you go account you will need to fill out our ‘Trade Application Form’, to apply for a Credit account you will also need to fill out a ‘Credit Application Form’.

How do I maintain my fence?

Make sure trees i.e. Conifers are well clear of the fence on either side as these sorts of plants/trees can put unwanted pressure against your fencing causing it to weaken. You can also put a preservative on regularly to prolong the life of the fence.

What are the advantages of having a gravel board?

Gravel boards prevent unwanted water being soaked up from the ground causing premature rot to the featheredge/panels.

What are the advantages of using capping and post caps?

The end grain on timber acts like a sponge soaking up any water it comes across – as it is exposed on the tops of your posts and pales, having capping not only gives your fence a nice finish but protects the timbers from soaking up unwanted water from the rain.

How do I fix the capping on?

A non-grooved Capping rail can be fixed onto the top rail providing a counter rail has been installed at the top of your fence, if not you can purchase one (50mm x 32mm section) to fix to the top of your fence, you can then nail the capping onto this. We also have a capping with a groove which can go straight on top of your featheredge boards, in this case the top fence rail will have to be 50mm below the height of the fence.

What’s the difference between featheredge panel and lap panel?

Our heavy duty featheredge panels are made with much thicker timbers to withstand the heaviest of storms – making them truly built to last. Whereas the timbers used in the making of the lap panels are thinner, they are widely thought of a quick fix but with the appropriate care they can last a few years. Ultimately it is more cost effective to have the featheredge panels have a lot longer life expectancy.

  1. How many boards will I need?
  • 10 Featheredge boards per meter
  1. What length F/E boards do you do?
  • 900mm (3ft), 1050mm (3ft5”), 1200mm (4ft), 1350mm (4ft5”), 1500mm (5ft), 1650mm (5ft5), 1800m (6ft), 2400mm (8ft), 3600mm (12ft)
  1. How wide are the F/E boards?
  • Standard width is 125mm, only the 3600mm board comes in 150mm width
  1. How much of a gap should there be between posts?
  • We advise between 1.8m – 2.4m
  1. How many rails do I need?
  • For the 900mm, 1050mm and 1200mm you will need 2 rails
  • For the 1350mm, 1500mm, 1650mm, 1800mm, 2400mm and 3600mm you will need 3
  1. How much post mix do I need?
  • 2 bags of post mix per post
  1. What length gravel boards do you do?
  • 1.83m (6ft), 2.4m (8ft), 3m (10ft), 3.6m (12ft), 4.8m (16ft)
  1. What length rails do you do?
  • 2.4m (8ft), 3m (10ft), 3.6m* (12ft)

*the 3.6m rails come in 87mmx38mm AND 75mmx47mm

  1. What length capping do you do?
  • 2.4m (8ft), 3.6m* (10ft)

*the 3.6m capping also comes in Grooved

What are the advantages of having an Iroko gate compared to a TSW gate?

Iroko is an African hardwood renowned for its durability and stability and the softwood we use is a slow grown Scandinavian kiln dried softwood.

The key advantages of choosing Iroko over TSW are; having a more attractive finish to the gate, less maintenance (as Iroko is naturally more hard wearing than softwood) and with the appropriate care an Iroko hardwood gate will last a lifetime. It is the more expensive option but a far more superior timber in both durability and over all finish when looked after.

Mr Ronald Coombs from Somerset bought his hardwood gate from Charltons back in 1965 and it still looks like new, He said “Our Charltons gate has lasted over 50 years now and will probably last another 50”!

Are all of your gates held in stock?

The majority of our TSW 5 Bar and pedestrian gates are kept in stock- contact us for availability and stock levels. All gates made of Iroko and bespoke sizes are made to order and have a 3-4.

How do I work out what size gate I need?

Measure your total gap and remember to allow for posts and fittings. Alternatively, give us a call and we can quote for you.

How do I work out what hand I need?

You can work this out by visualizing you are stood on the outside of the property/field looking inwards- which side will the gate be hung from? Which side the hinges are is what determines the hand that you need.

Do you do Trade Accounts?

Yes we do, please contact us directly to discuss further.

What does it mean if you have the Royal Warrant?

Charltons have held the Queen’s Royal Warrant since 2000 and have been supplying the Royal estates for 20 years.

“Companies holding the Royal Warrant represent the very highest standards in excellence, quality, service and innovation within their respective industries”. Royal Warrant Holders Association

In 2000 A. J. Charlton & Sons Ltd was granted the Queens Royal Warrant having previously supplied gates and timber to the Royal households for a number of years. We are extremely proud to be Royal Warrant holders, recognising the Royal Warrant as a treasured and respected mark of excellence and quality. This recognition dates back to the 15th century when the Lord Chamberlain formally appointed Royal tradesmen with a Royal Warrant, it was then in the 18th century that Royal tradesmen began displaying the Royal Arms on their premises and stationery. Today we  proudly display the Queens Royal coat of arms not  only on our premises, stationery and gate labels but  also on our own fleet of vehicles. A.J. Charlton &  Sons Ltd have been supplying the Royal estates for nearly twenty years and have been fortunate enough  to have also attended various events from a trade  fair at Buckingham Palace, to exhibiting with fellow warrant holders at the Royal Bath and West show.

What are the differences between your sleepers?

All our square sleepers are ‘Long last’ giving them a 15 year guarantee, but we also do a rustic sleeper that has the bark edge still showing. These are very popular for raised beds and are standard pressure treated.

How much decking will I need?

  •  Firstly you need to calculate the total area in m2
  • To do this, simply measure the length and width and follow this formula: Length x Width = Area in m2
  • Next you need to calculate the m2 of the desired deckboard (again this is Length x Width)
  • Then follow this formula:

Total Area (m2) ÷ Area of Deckboard (m2) = Quantity needed


Example: The area I want to deck is 3.6m L x 3.6m W.

The deckboard I am using is 3.6m x 138mm (the width will change to 143mm in the calculations as we must add 5mm for expansion gap)

The area to be decked in m2 is 3.6 x 3.6 = 12.96m2

The area of the deckboard is 3.6 x 0.143 = 0.52m2

12.96 ÷ 0.52 = 24.92

The number of deckboards I need is 25.

What are the differences between your mulches?

We Stock Melcourts Ornamental, Spruce Ornamental and Play bark, as well as their Topsoil and Top grow. For more information, visit:http://www.melcourt.co.uk/lm-intro.html. We also have our own cheaper alternative fresh woodchips.

What size bags are the Mulches available in?

We sell them in both 1m3 dumpy bags and 75litre bags.

What is the difference between the Playbark and Ornamental Bark?

The play bark is a lot chunkier in appearance and is European standard and suitable for public places. The ornamental bark is ideal for flower beds as it will break down into a mulch.

By what quantities do you sell the Woodchips at?

We sell them in tonne loose loads that can be tipped off with our Pick Up truck, 1m3 dumpy builders bags or we have smaller bags that are about 35litres.

Why do I need to use treatment?

To prevent staining, blue fungi, rot and to give full protection to your gate.

Note that all faces, edges and any cut outs/drill holes for fittings must be fully treated paying particular attention to the underside and all end grain.

We cannot guarantee against natural movement, splits, shakes or rot in timber products but the correct use of treatments will help to eliminate this. Further treatments will be required depending on the product used and location of your gates.

Timber is always moving due to the ever changing weather conditions, if left untreated the wood can bend or warp out of shape, keeping this movement to a minimum is therefore very important – We can do this by keeping as much water out as possible by applying treatment, but equally not letting the gates dry out in hot weather.

Osmo or Sikkens?

The main difference between these treatments is that Osmo is oiled based where as Sikkens is not. The key benefits to using an oil based treatment are as follows:

  • It’s quick and easy to apply
  • Repels water trying to enter the structure surface
  • It becomes part of the structure so moves with the timber
  • Gives you a much better finish

Although using Sikkens may give just as much protection short-term, where it sits on top of the timber rather than be absorbed by it, it is much more susceptible to flaking – meaning the timber will need to be treated more regularly as it is prone to discolouration.

Some customers have commented that Osmo seems a bit expensive compared to Sikkens but they must be made aware that using Sikkens means they’d need to buy a base coat and a top coat – whereas Osmo is all-in-one. So if you add up the cost of the Sikkens base coat and top coat as well as the fact it will need to be used more often – Osmo actually works out to be the most cost effective treatment.