Posted on November 15th, 2015 by Aaron Presley
10 Projects Where Pressure Treated Lumber is Often Used
Pressure treated lumber is made from wood that has been specially treated to resist damage from water, fungus and detrimental insects like termites or carpenter ants. It can be treated with any of several chemical processes, depending on the manufacturer, the area where it will be installed and the requirements of the job. Compared to standard lumber, treated lumber will resist deterioration and rot for far longer than standard lumber when exposed to the elements or installed in areas where insect infestation is a possibility This makes it popular for a number of outdoor projects and other applications.
Here are just a few of the places where you can find pressure treated lumber used:
#1 Sill Plates
In a wood-framed building, the sill plate is the piece of lumber that is directly bolted to the foundation or slab, upon which the rest of the structure is built. Often, the concrete still has a relatively high moisture content when the sill plate is installed, which can cause the sill plate to deteriorate or rot quickly if it is not protected. By using pressure treated lumber, in combination with a sill seal, the sill plate can be protected from the moisture that is present in the concrete as it cures, and any that it may absorb later. The pressure treated sill plate also acts as a barrier, preventing wood-boring insects and other vermin from causing damage to the rest of the lumber in your home.
Porches are often exposed to the elements, and they must be carefully constructed to ensure they last a reasonable amount of time before they start deteriorating. While many of the externally-visible surfaces may be made out of painted or stained wood, or covered with siding, structural components such as the supporting posts, rim joists and floor joists are often constructed from pressure treated lumber to ensure they can resist the weather and any harmful insects in the area.
Like porches, decks often use pressure treated lumber for structural components like the posts and joists, but it can also be used for the floor boards, railings, seating stairs and other visible components. When used in this fashion, the lumber must be periodically sealed to prevent weather damage and to provide a barrier against the chemicals used to treat the lumber. Compared to the composite alternatives, pressure treated lumber is often less expensive and easier to work with.
#4 Wheelchair Ramps
Wheelchair access ramps and railings are exposed to the elements constantly and must withstand high amounts of traffic. Lumber that is pressure treated is often the best choice to use when constructing these features, as it is less expensive than concrete ramps, and it is easier to customize and install. Ramps made from wood are also easier to remove at a later date if necessary, and they can be made to match any building.
#5 Picnic Tables
Picnic tables must constantly sit out in the weather, and to avoid damage, they are often made from pressure treated lumber. Not only does pressure treated wood resist damage from insects and moisture when properly sealed, it can also resist weathering from wind, sand and other outdoor dangers. Picnic tables should be periodically sealed or painted to provide a clean and safe surface to serve food on, and they should be cleaned often to avoid contamination.
Many docks, piers and other marine structures are made from lumber that has been specially treated and is rated for continuous exposure to either fresh or salty water. The main support columns or pilings are treated with a special process that makes them able to withstand constant immersion in water with little degradation over time. Pressure treated beams, joists and floorboards provide a stable surface to walk on, and treated posts and railings keep occupants from falling into the water accidentally. In some areas, special chemical formulations may be required for lumber that is to be immersed to protect the water supply and wildlife.
Marine bulkheads and land-based retention walls often use pressure treated pilings in construction with metal, vinyl or other types of sheeting to create a wall that is designed to hold back soil along the water’s edge or on slopes and hills. This prevents the soil from being washed into the water along bulkheads. This is highly beneficial, because such erosion could potentially cause property damage to structures along the waterline. On hills and slopes, retaining walls prevent soil and rocks from eroding and falling down the slope during heavy rains. In both cases, the lumber must be able to withstand water damage and rot to maintain a structurally-sound bulkhead or wall.
Pressure treated posts are often used to support mailboxes, lights, signs and other structures outdoors. They can also be used in conjunction with other materials to create fencing, gates, corrals and other exterior structures. Because the posts are in constant contact with potentially-damp soil, they must be treated to avoid rot and insect damage. Pressure treated posts are available in a variety of sizes, from common 4 by 4 or 6 by 6 posts, to large 12 by 12 posts.
Pressure treated lumber is often used to create raised garden beds, water retention areas around trees and shrubs, planters, retaining walls, and other landscaping details around both homes and business. Normal lumber would rot quickly with the constant exposure to moist soil and insect activity. Pressure treated wood can last for a long time, and with the right chemical formulations it can be safely used with most types of plants.
#10 Children’s Playsets
Outdoor playsets for children are often made from pressure treated lumber to ensure that they last for a long time. Commercial playsets can be purchased that incorporate swings, slides, forts and other structures and activities, or custom playsets can be easily built by a contractor or by a handy homeowner.
Pressure treated lumber is often used in many other applications, either to create the entire structure or as a main structural component. There are a variety of chemical formulations and treatment amounts to choose from, and with the correct type of pressure treated lumber, you can be assured that your project will withstand the elements for many years to come.