Monday, March 23, 2009

Treated lumber vs. not treated

I have plans to put in a new wood fence, and have to decide on treated vs. untreated lumber. My environmental side says go with untreated. But will it rot away in 10 yrs? Or does that not matter, wood is supposed to rot away. Untreated would be cheaper. I should research what the compounds do to dogs and wildlife.

From Home Depot: The most common types of chemical used to treat wood are Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ), Copper Azole (CA), and, the newest type, Micronized Copper Quaternary (MCQ). Pressure treated lumber can last 20 years or more, and most pressure treated wood comes with a limited lifetime warranty.


Erin said...

Hi Debbie - Sounds like a fun project. I thought about this when I was going to put up a fence. Treated lumber will last longer without any paint or stain, but it is toxic. You should not grow food near it or let your dogs eat it. Cedar is pretty rot resistant and will last longer than other untreated woods, but it is really expensive. I was going to go with painted (or stained) untreated pine. It is cheap, you can paint it however you want, and the paint is not as toxic as the other chemicals (but still shouldn't be eaten). The only hassle is that painting and staining takes a really long time. So long that I never got around to doing the fence at all! I wouldn't rule out the treated wood, but definitely check the EPA website for any of the chemicals and know what you're getting. There are also wood products made out of recycled plastic. They last a long time but are very expensive. Good luck and have fun!

Debbie said...

Thanks Erin. It seems like the arsenic treated wood was the really toxic stuff. I haven't found anything negative about the new treatments - Anyone has links to studies about it? But they've only been around 10 or so years I think. Cripes - finances may dictate my decision. It'll cost >$3000 to do this, and I won't want to have to replace the fence in 10 yrs. Or maybe I'll be living in Haiti by then! I could see myself staining but not painting the fence. I am going to install thses:

Debbie said...

I decided to go with treated.

Now I am looking into buying a badge-a-minit kit to make buttons for the Haiti program. For $123.85 basic kit I could make 250 buttons. I'm wavering over the wisdom of spending money on something somewhat superfluous, but I think the people would get a kick out of it, and everyone wants some kind of item commemorating an event.