Wood Fence FAQs: Treated Wood

What's pressure-treated wood?

It's wood that has been pressure-impregnated with an effective preservative. This treatment helps wood resist attacks by termites and decay-causing fungi.

What are some of the advantages of pressure-treated wood?

It's economical; works easily with common tools; is naturally attractive; durable; strong for its weight; and is readily available in a wide variety of sizes and styles.

What kind of treated wood is available?

You can choose from different grades of treated wood to match your goals for strength and appearance. Treatment does not affect the lumber grade; it simply makes the wood last longer. For this reason, domestic and import Pine is a popular choice. With pine we can specify the proper grade and it readily accepts treatment. We can provide all the post, rails, and fence boards needed to "stick-build" an entire fence, plus pre-assembled panels.

What guarantee does treated wood have?

No guarantee is offered. However, we provide a warranty against damage caused by termites and fungal decay.

What about any cracking, warping, and graying that may show up over time?

Even though pressure-treated wood is protected from termites and fungal decay, it is still a porous, natural material. Wood swells when it absorbs moisture and shrinks when it dries out. The drying process creates stresses in the wood, which contributes to cracking and warping. The sun's ultra-violet (UV) rays cause the wood to turn gray. Pressure-treated wood is subject to these effects, just like other lumber.

What can be done to eliminate the effects of weathering and keep that "new fence" look?

While there's no way to eliminate the weathering of wood, it's relatively easy to minimize the effects:

  • Use three back rails (6' fence), two backrails (4', 5' fence), or 4 backrails (8' fence) for more hold-down points.
  • Use only hot-dipped galvanized, or stainless steel fasteners with a ring or spiral shank to minimize warp and rust stains.
  • Treat the surfaces of fence boards with a water-repellant solution to reduce the rate that moisture is absorbed and released. This solution should also have a good UV inhibitor if you don't want the fence to gray.
  • Follow a regular maintenance program of cleaning and refinishing every few years with a "clear" or "toner" water repellant containing UV inhibitors. This will revitalize a dingy appearance caused by dirt, mildew or graying. It's like washing and waxing your car. Opinions differ on how necessary it is to perform regular maintenance, but most agree your fence will look much better for the effort.

Courtesy of Master Halco - www.fenceonline.com