How Long Does Pressure Treated Wood Last? (Answered!)
How long does it take for pressure-treated wood to dry?
Many people ask themselves this question when deciding whether or not to use pressure-treated wood for outdoor projects.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict when pressure-treated wood will dry.
VIDEO: The Truth About Treated Lumber
What Is Pressure Treated Wood?
The term “pressure treated” (PT) lumber refers to wood that has been subjected to the process of being stored in a depressurized holding tank.
During this process, the tank’s excess air is evacuated, and the space is filled with a mixture of water and preservatives that aid in protecting the wood from rot and insects.
Some types of wood, like southern yellow pine, are better suited for pressure treatment, whereas other types of wood, like cedar, have natural properties that resist rot and decay, which means they do not need to be treated in order to be used outside.
This makes cedar an excellent choice for outdoor projects.
When Should You Use Pressure Treated WOod?
In the event that you are working with a species of wood that is not inherently resistant to rot and insects, it is imperative that you choose wood that has been subjected to a process known as pressure treatment.
Having said that, not all types of pressure treatments are the same. Above-ground and ground-contact PT lumber are the two most common varieties of this material.
Above Ground Lumber
In exterior applications that are at least 6 inches above ground, such as deck railings, fence pickets, porch flooring, and joists and beams, you will want to utilize pressure-treated wood that has been above ground.
Ground Contact Wood
Ground-contact wood has a higher chemical concentration, which better protects it against contact with soil, plants, rain, moisture, or other agents that might cause decay and rot.
This is because ground contact wood is exposed to these elements more frequently.
If the wood will come into contact with the ground or is installed less than six inches above the ground, when the wood will get wet frequently and without the proper time to dry, when air circulation is poor, and/or if you are building in a tropical climate, then you should use it. In addition, it should be used whenever you are building in a tropical climate.
Posts used in the construction of buildings, garden boxes, wood foundations, and retaining walls are all examples of common ground-contact wood applications.
How Long Does Pressure Treated Wood Last?
It is dependent on factors such as the local environment, the type of wood, the ways in which it is utilized, and how well it is maintained.
Decks and flooring might only last about ten years, whereas pressure-treated poles can last for up to 40 years without showing any indications of rot or deterioration than the untreated lumber.
If you want your pressure treated lumber to last longer, you should apply water-repellent sealers on a yearly basis and use a mildewcide cleanser as soon as you see any signs of mildew forming on your wood.
Both of these steps should be taken immediately.
Can Wet Pressure Treated Wood Be Used to Build?
Yes, you can construct with wet-treated wood.
Natural wood is heavier when built with wet pressure-treated lumber. In addition, when the wood dries, it contracts, allowing it to warp and splinter. This would also reduce your initial fencing, framing, or decking measurements.
Furthermore, you cannot stain pressure-treated wood product right away.
Drying Pressure Treated Wood
To speed up the drying of treated wood, use a dehumidifying kiln. The use of an inner wood kiln will accelerate the drying process. However, avoid dehydrating the pressure treated wood fence to the point of cracking.
Alternatively, the cca treated lumber can be laid flat. The pressure treated wood fenceshould then be stacked in a crisscross pattern to air-dry in 2-3 days.
Because kiln-dried treated wood
The kiln-drying process employs an oven (kiln) to produce kiln-dried after-treatment (KDAT) on wooden deck. Temperature, humidity, steam levels, and drying time can all be adjusted in this. The drying time for KDAT wood will range from one to eight weeks.
Sticker your pressure-treated lumber (stack it).
Stack the treated lumber crisscross style. They are naturally air-dried as a result of this. This usually takes six to a year.
Kiln-dry your treated lumber yourself.
You can construct your kiln at home. And produce kiln-dried wood deck after treatment.
Lay poly (clear plastic roll) on the ground, then construct a frame with 24 studs. This is where the lumber will go.
Allow space for a standard household dehumidifier at one end and a small fan at the other. The fan circulates the air to ensure that it dries evenly.
Set the dehumidifier to the maximum setting inside the kiln. A hose that runs from the kiln and fills a bucket can be installed. Build the kiln on and around stacked and bound lumber over a light wooden frame that will carry the plastic. Tape the plastic shut.
Make a few access holes to diffuse the dehumidifier’s effect and check the cca treated wood’s moisture level. Tape can be used to reseal the holes above.
The kiln-dried after-treatment lumber would be ready in four months.
Is it necessary to let pressure-treated wood dry before using it?
Yes, allow treated lumber to dry before using or painting it. This minimizes splitting and warping.
Wet-treated wood is also heavy and slick, making it difficult to handle, fasten, and paint.
Damp wood contracts as it dries. When wood contracts, it messes up your initial measurements and the paint in your project, whether it’s for framing, decking, or fine furniture.
How Can You Tell If Pressure Treated Wood Is Dry?
Touch, the clean water test, and the digital moisture meter are the three methods for determining whether treated lumber is dry.
To determine if the wood is dry, scan it with your eyes and go over it with your hands (please wear gloves). You can quickly tell if it’s still wet from here.
Spritz the wood or board with water. The pressure-treated wood is dry enough to paint or stain if the water is absorbed. However, the lumber is still wet if the surface remains water-repellent.
Digital moisture encountered
Insert the prongs into the wood. Make sure the device is calibrated correctly, and it’s best to perform the test in two locations to get an average of the moisture content.
How to Quickly Dry Pressure Treated Wood
The manufacturer’s kiln drying is the quickest way to dry treated wood. You can also air-dry the treated wood by laying it flat and stacking it in a crisscross pattern for 2-3 days.
How to Dry Warped Pressure Treated Wood
Here are some methods for preventing warping during drying:
Avoid over-drying the lumber.
Over-drying the lumber is a real thing. Cracking splits and end grain checking can result from this. To avoid this, check the moisture content of the wet wood regularly.
Allowing partially dry lumber to regain moisture quickly is not a good idea.
So, start building your deck or picnic table once you’ve confirmed that it’s dry.
Otherwise, here are some pointers on how to properly store wood:
- Make sure that your wood piles are not in a humid environment.
- Stack boards and stickers of the same thickness and size together.
- Stickers should be aligned vertically and laid flat.
- Allow sufficient space between stacks.
- Install wood piles on flat foundations.
- Cover the wood with a vapor-sealing material.
- Put weights on the woodpiles to keep them from cupping.
Avoid drying lumber too slowly.
The traditional rule of thumb is to let the lumber air-dry for one year for every inch of thickness, but this is only a guideline, and close monitoring of the lumber, particularly with the aid of a moisture meter, allows for greater flexibility.
How much does shrink pressure-treated wood cost?
After installation, a treated board will shrink by about 1/4″. As a result, fasten the planks as tightly as possible. These shrink slightly less than 1/2′′ for 16 pickets.
On the other hand, a classic piece of pressure-treated lumber does not shrink uniformly along all dimensions. Instead, the most significant percentage of shrinkage occurs along the grain’s face.
The wait time for pressure-treated lumber ranges from three days to six months. The same three days are required for untreated wood to dry.
You can, however, speed up the drying process by stacking them properly and allowing them to dry naturally in the air, or you can build your kiln for kiln drying and produce kiln-dried wood at home.
As a result, when asked, “How long does pressure-treated wood take to dry? ” You don’t need to be concerned as much.
The several weeks of waiting for the result in easier handling, accurate measurements, and no warping or splinting. You get the results you want, and because it’s treated wood, your framing, deck, or fence will be more durable and last longer than untreated wood.
FAQ on How Long Does Pressure Treated Wood Last
Does wood that has been treated with pressure eventually rot?
Even though pressure-treated wood protects against wood rot and insect damage, one should not assume that it is completely impenetrable. In this article from the Washington Post, builder Tim Carter explains that there are various reasons why pressure-treated wood can decay faster than predicted.
How often should you re-treat wood that has been pressure-treated?
each and every year
We recommend performing maintenance on your pressure-treated lumber once every year to ensure that it stays in pristine condition. It is possible that you will need to clean, brighten, and recoat your timber once every two years. This will depend on the placement of your lumber in relation to direct sun exposure, vegetation coverage, and moisture.
How long does pressure-treated wood last when properly cared for?
Creosote-treated wood has a projected lifespan of more than 50 years, while wood treated with pentachlorophenol, copper naphthenate, ACZA, or CCA has an expected lifespan of more than 60 years, according to the article and lumber specimens as a whole.
Should pressure-treated wood be sealed after it has been treated?
In spite of the fact that treated wood is resistant to rot and termite infestation, it is nevertheless advisable, after construction is finished, to apply a water-repellent sealant to any and all wood surfaces that will be exposed to the elements. This sealer will provide a pleasing appearance while helping to control surface checking (also known as splitting or cracking).
What are the drawbacks of using wood that has been treated with pressure?
The dangers of treated wood
Even though materials designed to treat wood are intended to adhere to the wood, trace amounts of the chemicals in the treatment can seep out of the wood over time. In the course of time or as a result of damage, minute quantities of treated wood chemicals may seep out of the surface of the wood in the form of wood dust or splinters.