Pressure Treated Lumber

Mar 30, 2016

How to Handle the Pressure (Treated Lumber)

[bs_lead]There’s the right way, and there’s the dangerous way.[/bs_lead]

Pressure treating the wood used in your home is important, and shortcuts are not an option.

treated lumber

The Basics

[bs_lead]What brings on the pressure?[/bs_lead]

Pressure treated lumber has been used to construct many wood structures, like decks and fences, for decades by both professionals and do-it-yourselfers alike. When thinking about a new, outdoor extension of your home, the use of pressure treated lumber is always recommended as opposed to unaltered materials; even though there is only one main difference between the two. Pressure treating simply involves the injection of chemicals into the core of standard pieces of wood. This singular act allows each section of material to serve as both a fungicide and an insecticide. Using lumber that has not been pressure treated exposes any project to potential, premature failure and compromises its structural integrity.


Types of Pressure Treating Chemicals

Prior to 2004, Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) was the most used chemical compound in pressure treating processes. The use of CCA started to decrease dramatically during the early 2000’s because the carcinogen known as arsenic is a large part of the compound. Pressure treating companies have since focused more effort on the use of Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ), which is believed to be safer for humans and the environment. Both of these chemical compounds are still used today but depending on which one is chosen for a specific project, there will be different steps that must be followed to maintain the safety and longevity of the structure.


ACQ is now the most widely-used chemical compound when pressure treating lumber because of the reduced risk to human life and the environment. This material, however, is usually priced 15%-35% higher than CCA due to a higher cost of manufacturing and transportation. That negative does not usually raise any red flags because prices for cedar, redwood, or other top-shelf materials tend to be in the same price range. The other con that comes with the ACQ compound is its excessively corrosive behavior towards screws and fasteners. So, be sure to use stainless steel or copper fasteners when deciding to use ACQ treated lumber so that the longevity of your structure does not become compromised.


Even though CCA went through a period of controversy due to the potential harm that could be caused by its contents, it can still be used in a safe way. CCA is a much cheaper treated wood that does not the corrosive behavior of its competitor. However, arsenic leaking out of the wood into the environment or potentially coming into contact with people is a real threat. So, be sure to use a high-quality stainer on any structure built with CCA treated lumber. Also remember to never burn any wood that contains this chemical compound and to never allow food to come into direct contact with its surface.

The Bottom Line

[bs_lead]In the end, it comes down to your preference on which type of pressure treated lumber to use.[/bs_lead]

Simply, be ready for the extra costs if ACQ is decided upon or be prepared for additional work after a project is completed with CCA. Both options are commonly used today and with the proper steps taken, will make beautiful and stable additions to your home!

If you have questions about remodeling projects, or just want some further tips, feel free to give us a call. Did you know that we also offer handyman services? Because of BACK Construction’s reputation of being the highest quality remodeler in Lexington, Kentucky, many people think we only do large projects. We offer the same quality for small projects as with a large project, because we have the same skilled craftsmen on each and every one. In fact, BACK’s handyman service is an Angie’s List Super Service Award winner.

Contact us today, no matter what size project you have, and we will provide our quality workmanship to handle your project with care. Our team of skilled, professional craftsmen will make sure your project is done BACK better!

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