The outdoors can bar harsh for wood. Whether you build a fence, tree house, deck or awning, the structure is exposed to the elements. Insects, snow, rain, and the sun can quickly damage your wood and outdoor structure. This is the reason you need to use pressure-treated wood and the right hardware for some parts of your outdoor structure.
What Exactly is Pressure-Treated Wood
The majority of woods are susceptible to decay when there is moisture, oxygen exposure, favorable temperature, and wood fiber. Pressure-treating lumber involves infusing a chemical preservative into the wood to remove and mitigate such conditions. Pressure-treated wood is expected to last for decades.
Lumber is pressure-treated by putting raw lumber into an airtight vacuum. The vacuum is filled with a preservative fluid and pressurized so that fluid is forced into the wood. Usually, the wood is incised to allow the fluid to penetrate deeper and be retained by the wood.
Pressure treated lumber comes in various levels of strength. Depending on how the wood is used, different standards apply. In general, any wood used for above ground applications have a .25 retention level while wood that comes in contact with the ground must have a .40 retention level. The wood used in marine environments should have a retention level of .60.
Picking the Right Hardware
Pressure treated wood must be paired with treated metal hardware. Over the years, nearly all pressure treated wood has been preserved using alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) to protect the environment and public health. Although ACQ has been successful in this effort, it has made some complications. This has to do with the corrosiveness of ACQ which can be a major issue for fastener hardware.
It is important to use treated metal fastening hardware when using pressure treated wood. Using the wrong hardware can make the construction susceptible to erosion and failure. Focus on using fasteners galvanized through hot dipping. This is a process that coats metal fasteners with a layer of zinc which prevents them from corroding when they touch the ACQ chemicals in pressure treated wood.
You are building an outdoor construction for some reasons that can include having great times and memories. But, to make sure your wood structure will last for a long time, you need to use pressure treated wood and the right hardware. This is the only way for your outdoor construction to provide you with a lifetime of loyalty.