When it comes to the construction of any scaffolding structure, the scaffold boards play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the scaffold. Scaffold boards are there to help workers move freely between levels and carry out their work in a safe, secure environment.
So, given the important role they play in the sound structure of a safe scaffolding, what wood are scaffold boards made from? In this article, I’m going to let you know which type of wood is used principally for creating scaffold boards, why this particular wood is used, and what other materials are often substituted when creating scaffold boards for construction work. I’ll also answer some popular questions on scaffold boards and scaffold board materials – for example, how to stop wooden scaffold boards from rotting and whether scaffold board wood is softwood or hardwood.
So, what wood are scaffold boards made from?
As scaffolding boards play an important role in the safety and security of scaffolding, the boards themselves tend to be pretty uniform when it comes to their dimensions, materials, and size. To answer the question “what wood are scaffold boards made from,” the answer is premium European whitewood timber. This wood is typically imported from Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic, and is always checked that it adheres to BS 2482 British Standards before being sold to contractors or manufacturers. This wood tends to arrive already chopped according to the desired dimensions and is what we refer to as “unseasoned” wood.
Why whitewood timber?
The reason that European whitewood timber is used for scaffold boards instead of British alternatives is that the structure of the wood is superior: the wood is more durable and long-lasting while remaining sturdy and more resistant to external damage.
What other materials can be used for scaffold boards?
While wood is the most commonly used material for scaffolding boards in the UK, there are various alternatives that are more suitable for specific uses.
Steel scaffolding boards
Steel scaffolding boards are typically used when working in harsh or challenging environments: for example, environments where extreme weather is common or more likely. Steel scaffolding boards are heavier than standard scaffolding boards, but are also flame resistant and more durable: steel scaffolding boards will last longer than traditional wooden planks and are more resistant to damage.
Plastic Scaffolding Boards
Aside from steel, another alternative material for scaffolding planks is Supadeck plastic: this material is also much more resistant to external damage and is often prioritized by those who want more longevity from their scaffolding boards. Plastic scaffolding boards are ideal for long projects and projects where the scaffold planks might become easily damaged. They’re also water-resistant, which makes them weather-proof and can cut the cost of a tin hat scaffold.
What are the best scaffold board materials?
Your chosen scaffold board materials will ultimately depend on what project you need the boards for. If you’re looking for scaffold boards for DIY projects, you’ll obviously be better off using wood – although always wear a mask when doing DIY with scaffolding timber! The chemicals used to treat the wood and make it durable are toxic when exposed to humans.
If you’re looking for scaffolding planks to endure harsh weather and extreme working conditions, you might prefer to go for steel scaffolding planks – although be aware that these are more expensive and heavier. Supadeck plastic is a moderate compromise between price and durability when it comes to scaffolding planks for construction purposes.
FAQ: Scaffold Board Materials
Are scaffold boards hardwood or softwood?
Scaffold boards are softwood, although it remains one of the sturdiest woods that you can use both for construction and home DIY projects.
Do scaffold boards rot?
If they’re not looked after properly, wooden scaffold boards are susceptible to all the same problems as any wooden structure. Always try to keep your wooden scaffold boards free from dampness, dirt, and water damage to keep them in good condition.
Can I use scaffolding boards for shelves?
Being strong, thick, and typically already cut to size, wooden scaffolding boards can make for great shelves. Simply be careful to choose the right size, and make sure that the boards are sturdy enough to support the weight of the objects you plan on shelving.
How thick are scaffolding boards?
Most scaffolding boards are all 38mm thick and 225mm wide, no matter the length. Some scaffolding boards can be increased to 50mm or 63mm in thickness, although this is less common.