You may wonder which wood is best if you want to enhance your outdoor living space with a new deck, fence, or other wood structure. Each type of wood has its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s good to do your research and understand the pros and cons of each before making a decision. In this post, we will look at the benefits of pressure-treated wood vs. untreated wood. We will also answer some of the most common questions about pressure-treated lumber.
What Is Pressure Treated Lumber?
Pressure-treated lumber is wood that has been treated with chemicals to protect it from rot, insects, and decay. This treatment process involves placing the lumber in a pressure chamber and exposing it to high levels of pressure and chemical preservatives. These chemicals seep into the wood, making it more resistant to damage.
What Is Pressure-Treated Wood Used For?
Pressure-treated lumber is often used for outdoor projects such as decks, fences, wooden walkways, and playgrounds because it can withstand harsh weather conditions. In projects where the wood will come into contact with moisture or soil, pressure-treated lumber is a good choice because it is less likely to rot or decay.
What Is The Difference Between Treated And Untreated Wood
The difference between treated and untreated lumber is that treated wood has been chemically processed to resist rot, insects, and decay. Untreated wood has not been through this process and is more susceptible to damage because it is in its natural state.
Benefits Of Pressure-Treated Wood (Vs. Untreated Wood)
So, what are the advantages of pressure-treated wood compared to untreated wood? Let’s take a look:
- Resistant Against Moisture And Rot
The most crucial advantage of pressure-treated wood is that it is resistant to damage from moisture and rot. The chemicals used to treat the wood act as a barrier against water and pests. As a result, pressure-treated wood is an ideal choice for outdoor projects exposed to moisture or soil. For example, decks are often made from pressure-treated lumber because they are less likely to rot or decay over time, reducing the risk of collapse.
- Termite And Insect Resistant
Another advantage of pressure-treated lumber is its resistance to termites and other insects. These pests can cause severe damage to wood, especially if you don’t immediately notice them. The chemicals in pressure-treated lumber act as a barrier against these pests, preventing them from causing damage and eating through the wood.
- Lower Maintenance
Pressure-treated lumber is also easier to maintain than untreated wood. Because it is more resistant to damage, you won’t have to replace pressure-treated lumber as often as untreated lumber. Additionally, pressure-treated lumber does not require as much care as untreated wood. For example, you won’t need to apply as much stain or sealant to pressure-treated lumber to protect it from the elements.
- Longer Lifespan
The longer lifespan of pressure-treated lumber is one of the most significant advantages. Although its lifespan is short compared to composite materials, it will last much longer than untreated wood.
Depending on its use, pressure-treated lumber can last up to 40 years when properly cared for. However, decking and flooring made from pressure-treated lumber will likely need to be replaced sooner (10-15 years).
- Can Be More Affordable For Outdoor Projects
Of course, untreated lumber is more affordable when comparing the same wood species. However, not all species of untreated lumber are suitable for outdoor use.
For example, redwood is suitable for outdoor use even when untreated. However, redwood is less abundant than the types of wood used in pressure-treated lumber, such as pine or cedar. As a result, untreated redwood decks cost more than pressure-treated cedar decks.
Benefits Of Untreated Wood
Now, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of untreated wood:
Untreated wood is in its natural state. This is an advantage if you want the wood to retain its natural color and characteristics.
Good For Indoor Use
Untreated wood is a good choice for indoor projects. The environment inside your home is less harsh than the outdoors, so the wood is less likely to rot or decay, and it will still last a long time if you take care of it properly.
Can Be More Affordable For Indoor Projects
As we mentioned, untreated wood is more affordable than pressure-treated wood of the same species. Since the weather conditions inside your home are less severe, you don’t need a weather-resistant species like redwood if you opt for untreated lumber. For your indoor project, you can use an affordable type of wood, like untreated pine or cedar.
Suitable For Gardens
A common question people ask is, “is pressure-treated lumber safe for gardens?” The answer is that it depends on the preservatives used to treat the wood. Some preservatives, like chromated copper arsenate (CCA), can leach into the soil. In addition, the plants may take up the chemicals, so treated lumber is generally not recommended where edible plants are grown. As a result, untreated wood is a safer choice for gardens.
Is Pressure Treated Wood Toxic?
One of the most common questions about pressure-treated wood is whether or not it is toxic. The short answer is yes. The chemicals used to treat the wood are toxic and can be harmful if they come into contact with your skin or if you inhale them. If you ever work directly with pressure-treated lumber, wear gloves, a dust mask, and eye protection.
However, the risk of exposure is low because the wood does not give off gas. So unless you’re directly working with the lumber (sanding, cutting, etc.), it’s unlikely that the chemicals will pose risks to your health.
If you are concerned about the toxicity of pressure-treated wood, keep in mind that untreated wood is not the only alternative. Composite materials are a safe and durable alternative without any toxic chemicals.
Is Pressure Treated Wood Stronger?
One common misconception about pressure-treated wood is that it is stronger than untreated wood. However, this is not the case. The chemicals used to treat the wood do not make it any stronger. Instead, they make it more durable.
Pressure-treated wood is a popular choice for outdoor projects because it is durable and resistant to insects and rot. It is also easier to maintain than untreated wood.
However, composite materials are another alternative that is worth considering. Composite materials require even less maintenance and are more durable and long-lasting. Before beginning your next outdoor project, learn about the different types of composite materials used for porch flooring by clicking here.