PRESERVATIVES AND TREATMENT FAQS
Pressure Treated wood is the application of a preservative formulation that is forced into the wood under pressure in a large cylinder. AWPA treatments are a safe and proven means to preserve and protect outdoor wood from decay and termite attack. Pressure treatments extend the life of wood, and reduce the impacts on forests, making them truly one of the most sustainable building materials used in the world today.
Wood products for construction are typically treated in a factory, using a pressure process. The product is loaded into a vessel, and then the vessel is filled with a solution containing the preservative chemicals. The vessel is pressurized to force the solution into the wood. Most dimensional lumber can be treated this way, as well as plywood.
Wood is an environmentally sound, economical building material that can be used either indoors or outdoors for a wide variety of structural and decorative applications. Unfortunately, untreated lumber cut from most commercially harvested tree species is subject to attack by insects or to decay caused by fungi and bacteria. The decay or insect hazard is greatest in exposures where the wood is subjected to moisture. Wood in outdoor exposures, either in ground-contact or in above-ground applications, is susceptible to attack. The potential for wood deterioration is greatest in hot and humid climates, which allow insects, fungi and bacteria to thrive. Destruction of untreated wood in aquatic environments can be caused by a variety of marine organisms. Wood should be treated with a preservative system to control the destructive activities of these organisms and ensure long-term structural soundness and serviceability.
Lumber that has been treated to AWPA above ground retention levels (UC3B) is standardized to provide a level of performance that is appropriate for above ground applications. Proven above ground products that meet the AWPA standards have historically performed well without the excessive use, or potential costs, associated with increasing those preservative levels for high-decay/ground contact level treatments.
The green color you see on treated wood is caused by chemical reactions that take place between the preservative components and the wood. Copper is still the most widely used element in wood preservatives, and creates a green color on the wood. As wood dries and reacts to sun’s ultraviolet rays, the green color will fade.
No. All treated wood is NOT the same!
Above ground treated lumber is code compliant for use in applications where the wood does not touch the ground (e.g. deck joists and support beams used as critical structural members, decking, railings, and above ground fence pickets), or where a high-decay environment does not exist.
Wood treated to ground contact levels is required for direct contact with the ground (e.g. fence posts, etc.), and in cases where a high-decay hazard is very likely to occur (e.g. soil/leaves/debris build-up or accumulations are left to remain in contact with the wood, poor ventilation, tropical climates, etc.).
There are naturally-occurring fungi in the ground that attack lumber, so lumber destined to be used in the ground must be treated to a higher standard, or retention level, of fungi-resistant preservatives in the wood. The end tags on treated lumber will provide you with proper use designations. Look for Above Ground or Ground Contact on the end tag.
Retention levels refer to the amount of preservative retained in the wood following the treatment process. Retention levels can be different based on the wood preservative system used to pressure treat the wood product and its intended end use (ground contact, above ground contact, etc.). It is recommended to purchase treated wood products for the intended exposure condition. Typically, wood products are treated for “above ground use” and “ground contact use”. The treated wood end tag should state the recommended end use for the treated wood product.
The American Wood Protection Association standards provide a list of standardized preservative formulations in the US. The AWPA’s is recognized worldwide, as their (American National Standards Institute) ANSI accredited process thoroughly evaluates, reviews and standardizes preservatives. AWPA standardized preservatives are approved by all building codes for their intended uses. Visit AWPA.com and their Technical and References sections for Homeowners, Specifiers, Builders and Retailers for more information.
Look for a lumber end tag. Each piece of treated wood should have a tag containing information regarding the preservative used, the appropriate end use (Above Ground or Ground Contact) and the quality standard.
Ecolife is standardized by the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) and building code compliant (IRC and IBC). Ecolife-treated wood meets stringent industry standards and has the AWPA U1 and the CheckMark logo on the end tags as assurance that it has been quality-inspected by as the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) accredited third-party inspection agency.
The AWPA is the only ANSI (American National Standards Institute) -accredited standards developer that requires a rigorous evaluation plus an open peer review of that data where the largest collection of wood chemical, wood technologists and wood preservers gather in North America for the express purpose of evaluating which wood preservatives are worthy to be standardized in the AWPA Book of Standards. If you’re a homeowner it probably means that you’re not content to simply ask for any kind of treated wood…you want products that will provide years of service. You are likely searching the internet to find the product best suited to your needs, and you appreciate the value of wood treated to industry standards – standards developed by experts in the field of wood protection. Low-cost alternative preservative-treated wood is available, but you want products with proven performance. For more information visit the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) web site.
Look for “AWPA U1” on the end tag. If “AWPA” is not present, then it probably does not meet AWPA Standards. Another helpful tool to identify wood treated in accordance with AWPA Standard U1 is the “CheckMark” program developed by the Western Wood Preservers Institute. The CheckMark, combined with the logo of an ALSC (American Lumber Standard Committee) accredited agency, demonstrates conformance to AWPA Standard U1.
Besides the fact that most architects and engineers specify AWPA Standards for treated wood, AWPA Standards are the only wood treatment standards listed directly in the IBC and IRC. You could use some of the low-cost alternative preservatives, but there is no guarantee or requirement that the designer or local code official will approve it. In addition, AWPA has over 100 years of history in developing reliable treated wood standards. Our standards are developed in an open, consensus-based, ANSI accredited process to ensure stringent review of performance data while providing due process for all participants. Most of the world’s experts in wood protection actively serve on AWPA Technical Committees – a level of expertise unmatched elsewhere.
Viance Residential Treated lumber products (Ecolife & Preserve) carry a Lifetime Limited Warranty against fungal decay and termite attack.
Incising is the process of cutting numerous small slits into the surface of a piece of wood in order to increase the amount of preservative taken up by the wood during treatment. Some Western wood species are particularly hard to treat, and incising is necessary to meet the penetration requirements in treatment standards.
Pressure-treated wood may be used inside, and is commonly used for the sill plates of homes and FRTW; fire-retardant treatments like D-Blaze® offer additional protection from fire and smoke development. Properly dispose of all sawdust and construction debris after all projects. Many treated wood products do not emit any vapors and are safe for interior use. Check use information on specific products. Treated wood should never be used for counter-tops or where it may become a component of food. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration does not recommend using any wood for kitchen counter-tops or food-cutting boards because knife cuts may allow food particles to become entrapped, creating an unsanitary environment.
Treated wood is required by building codes in numerous applications. Exterior wood treatment solutions extend the natural life of the wood used in construction applications, and provide exceptional performance for outdoor projects. Treated wood may be specified for Interior Framing where termite attack is prevalent, or where fire retardant materials are needed.
All product and technical information pertinent to the Viance chemicals is available for download on the Specs page. The wood and lumber products that are treated with Viance products come from various saw mills and wood treaters, so additional information on the lumber products must come from the actual lumber suppliers of the materials used in the project.
All product and technical information pertinent to the Viance chemicals used to treat wood is available for download on the Specs page. Sustainable forestry programs such as FSC or SFI are managed entirely by the companies that procure and resell wood through their distribution networks. Viance develops and manufactures only the preservatives/treatments used. All FSC/SFI information would be provided by these lumber suppliers.
Most of the weight added to treated wood comes from water used to carry the preservative components. A freshly treated piece of lumber may contain as much as 2-4 gallons of water per cubic foot or about 16-32 lbs. per cubic foot. As the wood dries and the water evaporates, only the preservative will remain.
Kiln drying after pressure treatment (KDAT) removes a large amount of the moisture from the wood. Most treated lumber products today are air dried. Kiln drying after treatment (KDAT), will add cost to the process and the finished products, however KDAT wood tends to reduce warping, as it is a more controlled drying method.
Viance wood preservative products do not contain formaldehyde. However, the glues used in the production of plywood, laminates or other engineered wood products may contain formaldehyde. Contact the engineered wood producer for information regarding the use of formaldehyde in their products.
SAFETY PRACTICES FAQS
Wear gloves when handling treated wood as wood may splinter, and always wear eye protection and a dust mask when cutting, sawing or sanding treated wood to reduce inhalation and prevent irritation to the nose, eyes and skin.
All treated wood scraps, debris and sawdust should be cleaned up and disposed of after construction in accordance with federal, state and local regulations.
When treated wood is burned, the chemical components of the preservative are concentrated and can be released into the ash and in particulates in the smoke. Some of these components can be harmful to the environment. Federal and state regulations mandate that treated wood be disposed of properly.
Picnic tables are used primarily for serving pre-prepared food, while a kitchen countertop is used to prepare food and used as cutting surface for raw food. Raw food can absorb the preservatives and be ingested.
Copper-based preservatives are safe to be used in gardening for vegetables. Tests have shown that the amount of preservative leached from pressure-treated wood is so low it is virtually undetectable.
DECK INSTALLATION FAQS
In most cases a light sanding will remove the grade stamp or lighten it.
Treated wood is often still damp when delivered, so it is recommended to butt deck boards tightly together during installation as they will shrink slightly in width and length as they dry out. How much a board will shrink will be dependent on how much moisture remained in the wood when it was installed.
If the wood is allowed to dry prior to installation, a small gap should be left between boards.
Ultimately, your deck boards should have an edge gap between ¼ inch and ⅜ inch to allow for proper ventilation, draining and for debris to pass through. Wet or dry, boards should be installed tight end-to-end.
Always use the best-looking side of a deck board for the deck surface. Nail thinner boards to thicker boards.
For cut ends of treated lumber, we recommend you use a brush-on wood preservative. Copper naphthenate formulations are available from home centers, lumber dealers and hardware stores.
Viance always recommends that current building codes be consulted for up-to-date lists of approved fasteners. Hot-dipped galvanized and stainless-steel fasteners are recommended for use with preservative treated wood. There are also several new-coated fastener systems available.
Hot-dipped galvanizing is a process of coating zinc over bare steel to provide a protective layer. The bare steel is cleaned, pickled, fluxed and then dipped in a molten bath of zinc and allowed to cool prior to inspection and shipping.
Setting the posts in concrete does not affect the warranty in any way. We recommend that you follow your local building codes and proper drainage requirements when setting posts for decks.
DECK FINISHING FAQS
Pressure treatment with waterborne preservatives does leave some moisture in the wood that may affect the penetration and drying of stains and paints. For optimal performance of paint and stain coatings, allow treated wood to dry prior to application.
Estimating exactly how long treated lumber will take to dry is hard to predict, and will depend on the time elapsed since pressure treatment, sun exposure, local temperature and recent weather conditions. Take these factors into consideration for your specific installation and use your best judgment. Typically, treated wood will dry and be ready for finishing 60 days after installation. Be sure to follow the stain manufacturer’s instructions for best results.
We recommend a good quality oil-based or water based stain or exterior wood water sealant product. Always follow the manufacturer’s application and use instructions.
Most water repellent coating manufacturers recommend an annual application. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Ecolife-treated wood has surface water repellency that eliminates the need to apply a brush-on water repellent after the deck’s initial installation for up to three years.
DECK MAINTENANCE FAQS
A diluted solution of soap and water with a stiff brush will remove mildew and dirt. For tougher stains, use Oxalic acid-based (sometimes sold as wood bleach) deck cleaner. Never use household bleach or foaming cleaners as they can strip the preservatives and damage wood fibers leaving unnatural whitewashed appearance.
We recommend using a deck cleaning product formulated just for this purpose available at home centers and hardware stores and we do not recommend any type of bleach. Such cleaning products used with a stiff brush will deliver good results.
We recommend that the use of a pressure washer be limited to only the highly-experienced and/or professionals. Improper use can damage the wood surface and fibers. If you choose to use a power washer, use the lowest possible pressure setting (keep it under 500 psi) and fan tip only approximately 18 inches from deck.
Mold that you find on pressure treated wood is not an indication of fungal attack. Mold can grow on the surface of many products including wood (treated and untreated) due to exposure to moisture. To remove mold from your treated deck, use mild soap and water solution and a stiff brush.