Here at Lovitt’s Coatings, we do not make it a secret how much we love wood homes and log cabins and making them look spectacular. Is there anything better than the warmth and glow of a beautifully constructed wood wall? It has a charm and timeless style that just cannot be beat. However, sometimes, for one reason or another, projects cannot use real wood. Whether it is due to lack of materials or budgetary constraints, sometimes it is just not possible to use real timber. There is an alternative to using real wood: sublimation.

What Is Sublimation?

In simple terms, sublimation is a method of printing that transfers a design into a material using ink and heat. It is different from vinyl transfers, which is what most people think of when they picture printing on t-shirts, where the ink is laid on top of the fabric or base material. Instead, heat is used to basically bring ink and base material together as one. The design is printed on special paper. Inks that are used turn into gas when brought under heat; these then combine with the base material to permanently print on the material.

Why Use sublimation?

Because inks combine with the base material, instead of sitting on top, sublimation is a more permanent way of printing a design. Think of it like a tattoo on your skin, instead of a design drawn on with a pen. The tattoo, much like a sublimated image, will not crack, peel or wash away, where the pen drawing will easily fade and wash away.

How Does Sublimation Work For Wood?

Say you want the appearance of wood, but in a place that is not conducive for real wood. This could be a high-traffic deck, floor, or large-scale wall. Instead of using wood that might get ruined or be too expensive to install, sublimation could be used to give the effect of wood. The wood grain could be sublimated onto another material to give the visual look of wood with the stability, strength or cost of another material.
In addition to using different materials, sublimation can be used to put wood grain on a variety of shapes that would be difficult to make entirely from wood.

Do I Still Need A Coating Or Finish?

Even though sublimation is a more permanent option for printing, it is still important to use a coating to protect the material underneath, the same as you would with wood. A shellac or lacquer type varnish will help protect the material from scuffing, as well as preserve the color and design long-term.

Wood Sublimation For Art

Another type of wood sublimation is printing onto wood itself. This is often the case for art projects, such as printing a photo on a wood round. This creates a unique design, where the wood grain shows through the printing, creating an earthy vibe. If this is the case, you will want a coating for your project. Not only will a coating protect the printing, but it will also prevent the wood from drying, cracking or expanding with moisture. Choose a coating that works best with the type of wood that you are using for your project.

Depending on what type of project you are working on, you will have different types of coatings. Check out the full line of wood coatings and finishes at Lovitt’s Coatings and utilize our team of professionals for advice and input. Contact Lovitt's Coatings to get started.