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Woodsolutions Answer +

When giving technical advice it's preferable if the questions and answers are in writing to avoid misunderstandings. If you have a question on anything to do with timber properties or usage you are most welcome to submit your query by email if the answer can't be found in the resources available on our website.

Technical questions

We have oak butcher block installed in our shower/bath. Our contractor said it was done as long as we used a poly coat on it. 3 coats were applied and 30 day waiting period before using shower after install. Warping occurred within weeks. Should we have used another type of wood? Will this continue? How do we prevent or do you not recommend wood inside a shower/bath where humidity is present? We don’t believe it was the water but the humidity that caused the warping. Please help! I have images I can send.

Woodsolutions Answer +

Not sure why you have a butcher block in your shower/bath but absorption of water will certainly cause the wood to swell, then shrink as it dries, and cycles of swelling and shrinking are likely to cause warping. If three coats of polyurethane were applied, that would be expected to seal the wood. However the polyurethane would have to be applied to all surfaces, ie. as a complete envelope. Any cracks in the finish, or bare surfaces that let the water in, will defeat the aim of sealing the wood. The coating could then exacerbate the problem by preventing whatever water is absorbed from drying out again. In summary, it is very ambitious to use wood products in a shower/bath since wood is sensitive to changes in moisture content and it's difficult to provide a perfect seal. 


We have a project where we have installed a pink / red species veneer B/C ply with a clear sealer. It has over 6 weeks plus changed colour significantly and in some areas delaminating. I have done some research and thinking it may be too high PH levels of the formaldehyde glue causing a reaction with the sealer possibly.
We are wondering where do we take this to be tested to ascertain what has happened, we have tried CSIRO but they dont have the ability to do this. We will need this for insurance purposes.

Woodsolutions Answer +

We suggest you contact Dr Barbara Ozarska, technical expert for the Timber Veneer Association of Australia (TVAA). Her contact details are: Prof. Barbara Ozarska, School of Ecosystem & Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne, phone (03) 9035 6878, email

Veneer testing
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