A guide to factory finishing - Prowood Ltd.

Wednesday 15th July 2020. 


Prowood Ltd offer an array of coatings and factory applied treatments. Over 20+ years we have developed a wealth of knowledge and experience in the supply of factory finished timber products.

Our sales team are on hand to guide architects, specifiers, merchants, manufacturers and contractors through every aspect of the specifying process.  

What is factory finishing?

  • Factory finishing is a pre-delivery treatment applied to timber products for decorative and preservative purposes.  
  • Our coating range includes stains, oils and lacquers which can be clear, pigmented (translucent) and opaque (solid/block) colours.
  • Factory finished products are suitable for both interior and exterior applications.

Why factory finishing?

  • Applying a factory finish can extend the service life of a timber product.
  • Factory finishes are aesthetically pleasing.
  • Factory finishes slow down the weathering process. The more pigmented a coating the more the substrate is protected against discolouration and damage from UV rays.
  • The professional appearance and uniform film/micron build achieved through a vacuum coater cannot be matched when applied with a paint brush.  
  • Ease of installation - the product is ready to install straight away.
  • Reduced labour costs on site or in the next stage of manufacturing.
  • Reduced labour time on site or in the next stage of manufacturing.
  • Stainless steel fixings are recommended.  

Tips and tricks

  • Surface coatings are most effective when applied to species which are dimensionally stable and naturally durable.
  • Incorporating a secret fixing system is recommended for exterior cladding products with moisture permeable coatings applied. This prevents moisture ingress where fixings break the film surface.   
  • Touch up and seal any freshly cut end grain to prevent moisture ingress.
  • Any coating applied must be maintained in good condition in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidance.
  • Expect and allow for drying rack marks to be present on the reverse (non-seen) face.
  • Keep separation membranes between pack layers until installation.
  • Always adhere to the storage and maintenance guide supplied with every factory finished order supplied by Prowood Ltd.
  • Sharp corners/edges should have minimum 3mm radiuses to prevent peeling.

The Process

  • A machined or sawn timber cladding product is mechanically fed into a vacuum coater.
  • As the timber passes through the vacuum chamber a factory finish is applied to all 4 faces.
  • Between coats the material is loaded into drying racks and slowly/carefully cured.
  • A mixture of feed speed, temperature & vacuum pressure will determine the film build & quality of the finish.

The finished product

Some of the largest exterior cladding projects supplied by Prowood Ltd have been factory coated! Here are a few examples.


  • Alder Hey Children’s Hospital – 150m³ of #2clear Dry Western Red Cedar with a Teknos Aquatek pigmented factory finish.


  • Dulwich Pavillion: The Colour Palace – 1800lm of clear Douglas Fir with a blue Sikkens factory finish.


  • Elements School – 1500lm of Siberian Larch with a grey Sikkens factory finish.


  • RHS Bridgewater – 17,000lm of Siberian Larch with an AnkerStuy UV factory finish.


  • St Kentigern Hospice - 2700lm Thermally Modified Radiata Pine with a Sentrin Teak Chromacoat.