What Is the Difference Between Treated Wood and Pressure Treated Wood?

When it comes to choosing the right type of wood for a project, such as building a deck or a fence, it’s essential to know the difference between treated wood and pressure-treated wood. While both are treated to protect against damage from insects and decay, there is a significant difference between the two. Treated wood is chemically treated to protect it against insects like termites, but it is not put through the process of pressure treatment.

On the other hand, pressure-treated wood is treated with a combination of chemicals that give it a greater degree of resistance to decay, insects and weathering. The process of pressure treatment involves placing the wood in a pressure chamber where it is subjected to high-pressure treatments of the requisite chemicals. This has the effect of displacing any excess water from the wood while allowing the chemicals to penetrate and infuse every particle.

One of the most significant benefits of using pressure-treated wood over traditional treated wood is its longevity. Over time, traditional treated wood may lose its effectiveness and start to rot or decay. Conversely, pressure-treated wood has a long lifespan since the chemicals penetrate deep into its fibers, making it impervious to the elements. Understanding the differences between these two types of wood will help ensure that your project will last for years to come.

Types of Wood Treatment Processes

When it comes to protecting wood from decay, pests, and weathering, there are several different treatment processes available. In this article, we will briefly cover the most common types of wood treatment processes, including:

  • Pressure-treated wood
  • Treated wood
  • Heat-treated wood

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is the most common type of treated wood used in construction. It is created by forcing a chemical preservative into the wood using a vacuum chamber and pressure. This process makes the wood more resistant to rot, insects, and decay, and increases its longevity.

The chemical preservative used in pressure-treated wood is typically either:

Chemical Preservative Common Uses
Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) Decks, fences, and outdoor furniture
Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ) Residential construction, landscaping, and playground equipment
Copper Azole (CA) Residential and commercial construction, and marine applications

It is important to note that some of these chemical preservatives, particularly CCA, have become less common due to concerns about their potential health and environmental risks. However, pressure-treated wood is still widely used in construction and is generally considered safe as long as it is handled and disposed of properly.

Pros and Cons of Using Treated Wood

When it comes to building structures and outdoor projects that require wood, using treated wood can be a great option. There are different types of treated wood available in the market, but one of the most common is pressure-treated wood. However, there are pros and cons that come with the use of treated wood, and it’s important to weigh them carefully before making a decision.

  • Pros:
  • Treated wood is more resistant to weather, pests, and decay which means it lasts longer than untreated wood. This makes it a great option for outdoor use, such as decking, fences, and retaining walls.
  • Treated wood is also less likely to warp, split, and crack, which makes it easier to work with and maintain its structural integrity over time.
  • Treated wood is also affordable and readily available in most home improvement stores, making it accessible to homeowners on a budget.

Despite these advantages, there are also some cons that come with using treated wood.

  • Cons:
  • Treated wood contains chemicals that can be harmful to humans and animals if ingested or inhaled. Therefore, it’s important to use gloves and a mask when handling it and avoid using it in projects that involve food contact or where children are likely to come into contact with it.
  • Treated wood is also not very eco-friendly. The chemicals in treated wood can leach into the soil, which can be harmful to plants and animals. Additionally, disposing of treated wood can be difficult since it can’t be burned or recycled in the same way that untreated wood can.

Ultimately, whether or not to use treated wood comes down to personal preference and the intended use of the wood. If you’re building an outdoor project that requires durability and resistance to weather and pests, treated wood is a great option. However, if you’re concerned about the health and environmental impacts of using treated wood, untreated wood may be a better choice.

It’s always a good idea to consult with a professional or do your own research before deciding which type of wood to use for your project.

Treated Wood vs Pressure Treated Wood

While treated wood and pressure-treated wood are sometimes used interchangeably, there are some differences between the two.

Treated wood is any type of wood that has been chemically treated to improve its durability and resistance to decay and pests. It can include wood that has been pressure-treated, but it can also include wood that has been treated with preservatives or painted with protective coatings. Pressure-treated wood, on the other hand, specifically refers to wood that has been treated using a process that involves placing the wood in a vacuum chamber and then forcing chemicals into the wood under pressure. This process helps the chemicals penetrate deeper into the wood, making it more resistant to rotting and decay.

Treated Wood Pressure-Treated Wood
Can include wood treated with preservatives or protective coatings Specifically refers to wood treated using pressure in a vacuum chamber
Less resistant to decay and pests than pressure-treated wood More resistant to decay and pests due to the pressure treatment process
May be more eco-friendly than pressure-treated wood depending on the type of treatment used The pressure treatment process can make it difficult to dispose of and can harm the environment

While pressure-treated wood may have some advantages over other types of treated wood, it’s important to consider the impact of the pressure treatment process on the environment. It’s also important to take the necessary safety precautions when handling any type of treated wood, as it can contain harmful chemicals.

Common Uses of Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure treated wood is a popular choice for outdoor projects because of its durability, strength, and resistance to decay and insects. The most common uses of pressure treated wood include:

  • Decks and outdoor furniture: Pressure treated wood is ideal for building decks, as well as outdoor furniture pieces like chairs, benches and tables. It’s strong enough to withstand heavy weight and high traffic, making it an excellent choice for outdoor living spaces that see a lot of use.
  • Fencing: Pressure treated wood is a common material used for fencing. A pressure treated fence can last for years without rotting or needing to be replaced.
  • Landscaping: Pressure treated wood is also used for landscaping purposes, such as building garden beds, retaining walls, and walkways. These outdoor features require durable materials that can withstand exposure to the elements.

Aside from its common uses, pressure treated wood is also used in various other applications. Here are some of the other uses of pressure treated wood:

Construction: Pressure treated wood is used in many construction projects, including framing, beams, and supports. It’s particularly useful in damp or wet environments, where other materials might be susceptible to rot and decay.

Utility poles: The strength and durability of pressure treated wood makes it an excellent option for utility poles. These poles need to be strong enough to support electrical wires and withstand outdoor elements.

Pros Cons
Strong and durable Increase in cost due to treatment
Resistance to decay and insects May contain harmful chemicals
Long lifespan Not suitable for indoor use

While there are some potential downsides to using pressure treated wood, its benefits make it a popular choice for outdoor projects. It is important to note that the chemicals used in the pressure treated process have been deemed safe for consumers by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Risks of Using Untreated Wood

Untreated wood may seem like a more cost-effective solution for your upcoming project, but there are several significant risks involved with using it. Here are some of the risks associated with untreated wood:

  • Increased likelihood of rot: Wood naturally rots over time, but untreated wood is much more vulnerable to rotting than treated wood. If your project involves outdoor use or exposure to moisture, the likelihood of rot is even higher.
  • Pest infestations: Untreated wood is an attractive target for pests such as termites and carpenter ants. These pests can quickly eat away at the wood, causing significant structural damage over time.
  • Shortened lifespan: Untreated wood simply does not last as long as treated wood. Without any protection against the elements, it will deteriorate much more quickly, leading to the need for costly repairs or replacements.

Protecting Your Wood with Pressure Treatment

The good news is that there are ways to protect your wood and avoid these risks. One popular method is pressure treatment, in which the wood is infused with chemicals to prevent rot, pests, and other forms of decay. Pressure treatment involves placing the wood in a large tank and using pressure to force the chemicals into the fibers of the wood. This ensures that the treatment penetrates deeply and provides long-lasting protection.

Pressure treated wood is not only more durable and long-lasting than untreated wood, but it also requires less maintenance over time. With regular sealing or staining, it can maintain its appearance and durability for decades, making it a smart investment for any project that requires wood.

Understanding the Difference Between Treated Wood and Pressure Treated Wood

It’s worth noting that there is a difference between treated wood and pressure treated wood. Treated wood involves the application of chemicals onto the surface of the wood, while pressure treated wood involves the infusion of those same chemicals throughout the entire piece of wood.

A table to make the difference between the two types clear:

Treated Wood Pressure Treated Wood
Surface-level treatment Deeper, more thorough treatment
Less protection against decay and pests Long-lasting protection against decay and pests
May require more frequent maintenance and upkeep Less maintenance required over time

Ultimately, the choice between treated and pressure treated wood will depend on the specifics of your project and the level of protection and durability you require. While untreated wood may seem like a more convenient and cost-effective solution, the long-term risks simply aren’t worth it. By investing in pressure treated wood, you can ensure that your project will last for years to come.

Environmental Impact of Treated Wood

As the world population continues to grow, so does the demand for lumber. Treated wood is a popular choice for fencing, decking, and other outdoor construction projects because it resists rot and termites. However, treated wood is often made with chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. Here are five factors to consider when weighing the environmental impact of treated wood.

  • Chemicals: Pressure treated wood is infused with chemicals to make it resistant to decay and insects. The most common chemicals used are copper, chromium, and arsenic. These chemicals can leach into the soil and groundwater over time, potentially contaminating drinking water sources and harming aquatic life.
  • Disposal: When treated wood is disposed of in landfills or incinerators, it can release harmful chemicals into the air or groundwater. To reduce environmental impact, treated wood should be properly recycled or disposed of as hazardous waste.
  • Alternative materials: There are eco-friendly alternatives to treated wood, such as composite decking made from recycled plastic and wood fibers. While these products are often more expensive than treated wood, they require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan.
  • Sourcing: Treated wood can come from sustainably managed forests or from suppliers that practice clear-cutting and other harmful practices. It is important to research the sourcing practices of the manufacturer before buying treated wood products.
  • Health concerns: Prolonged exposure to treated wood dust can cause skin and respiratory problems. It is important to wear protective gear when cutting or working with treated wood to avoid inhaling sawdust.

While treated wood has many benefits, it is important to weigh its environmental impact and consider eco-friendly alternatives when possible. By making informed choices, we can protect our natural resources and build a sustainable future.

Pros of Treated Wood Cons of Treated Wood
Durable, long-lasting Chemical treatment can harm the environment
Resistant to rot, termites, and fungi Disposal can be harmful to the environment
Cost-effective Alternative eco-friendly materials can be more expensive
Widely available Health concerns for those working with treated wood

As with any building material, treated wood has its benefits and drawbacks. By weighing the pros and cons and considering eco-friendly alternatives, we can make informed decisions that protect both our wallets and the environment.

How to Maintain Treated Wood

Treated wood is a popular choice for outdoor projects such as decks, fences, and playgrounds because it is more resistant to decay, insects, and moisture than untreated wood. However, like any material exposed to the elements, treated wood needs regular maintenance to keep it looking and performing its best. Here are some tips on how to maintain treated wood:

  • Regular cleaning: Dirt, grime, and mildew can accumulate on treated wood and reduce its lifespan. To prevent this, clean the surface of your treated wood at least once a year using a mild detergent and a scrub brush. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry completely before applying any protective finish.
  • Protective finish: While treated wood is more resistant than untreated wood, it is still vulnerable to weathering and fading. To enhance its durability and color, apply a protective finish such as stain, paint, or sealant every two to three years. Make sure to choose a product specifically formulated for treated wood and follow the application instructions carefully.
  • Avoid direct contact with soil: Treated wood that is in direct contact with soil is more susceptible to rot and decay. To prevent this, use concrete, gravel, or other non-organic materials to elevate the wood off the ground.

In addition to these general tips, you may also need to take specific measures based on the type of treated wood you are using. Here are some examples:

  • ACQ-treated wood: This type of treated wood contains chemicals that can corrode certain types of metal, so it is important to use only stainless steel, hot-dipped galvanized, or other corrosion-resistant fasteners and connectors. Also, avoid using pressure washers or abrasive cleaners, which can damage the wood fibers.
  • Copper Azole-treated wood: This type of treated wood can be more resistant to fading than other types, but it may still benefit from a protective finish. Be sure to choose a product that is compatible with the wood preservative and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Treated Wood Type Preservative Common Uses
CCA-treated wood Chromium, copper, arsenate Decks, fences, playgrounds (no longer sold in the U.S.)
ACQ-treated wood Alkaline copper quaternary Decks, fences, retaining walls, docks
CA-treated wood Copper azole Decks, fences, bridges
MCA-treated wood Micronized copper azole Decks, fences, landscape timbers, marine applications

By following these maintenance tips and taking into account the specific characteristics of your treated wood, you can help prolong its lifespan and keep it looking great for years to come. Remember to inspect your wood regularly and address any issues promptly to avoid costly repairs down the road.

Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Wood Treatment Method

Choosing the right type of wood treatment can make all the difference in the longevity and overall quality of your outdoor projects. Here are seven important factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Application: Different treatments are appropriate for different applications. For example, if you’re building a deck, you’ll want a treatment that will hold up to foot traffic and exposure to the elements.
  • Cost: The cost of treated wood can vary greatly depending on the treatment method used. Pressure-treating is generally more expensive than other methods, but it may be worth the investment for the added durability.
  • Environmental impact: Consider the environmental impact of the treatment method you choose. Some treatments use chemicals that can leach into the soil and water, while others are safer for the environment.
  • Maintenance: Some treatments require more maintenance than others. For example, if you choose a treatment that requires regular reapplication, you’ll need to factor that cost and labor into your decision.
  • Appearance: Different treatments can result in different appearances. Some treatments may darken or change the color of the wood, while others may leave it looking more natural.
  • Availability: Not all types of treated wood may be readily available in your area, so it’s important to research what options are available to you.
  • Intended use: Consider what you’ll be using the wood for. If you’re building a raised garden bed, for example, you’ll want to choose a treatment that is safe for growing plants.

Pressure Treated Wood vs. Treated Wood

When it comes to treated wood, many people use the terms “pressure treated” and “treated” interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the two methods.

Pressure treated wood is a type of treated wood that is infused with chemicals under pressure to protect against rot, decay, and insects. This process involves placing the wood in a vacuum chamber and then pressurizing it with a solution that contains the necessary chemicals. This method of treatment is generally more effective at protecting the wood from damage and can increase its longevity significantly.

On the other hand, other types of treated wood are simply coated with a solution that contains the necessary chemicals. While this can also protect the wood from damage, it is generally not as effective as pressure-treated wood.

Treatment Method Pros Cons
Pressure treated Effective at protecting against damage, increased longevity More expensive, potential environmental concerns
Treated Can protect against damage Less effective than pressure-treated, may require more maintenance

Ultimately, choosing between pressure treated and other types of treated wood will depend on your specific project needs and budget. However, if longevity and durability are a top priority, pressure-treated wood may be the way to go.

What is the difference between treated wood and pressure treated wood?

1. What is treated wood?

Treated wood refers to any wood that has been treated to improve its performance and durability. This can include chemical treatments to make the wood resistant to rot, insects, and moisture.

2. What is pressure treated wood?

Pressure treated wood is a specific type of treated wood that has been treated with preservatives using a pressured process. This forces the preservatives into the wood, making it particularly resistant to moisture and rot.

3. Is pressure treated wood more expensive than treated wood?

Yes, pressure treated wood is typically more expensive than standard treated wood because of the additional step of the pressurization process. However, the added durability can make it well worth the investment in the long run.

4. Can all types of wood be treated or pressure treated?

No, not all types of wood can be treated or pressure treated. Some varieties of wood are naturally resistant to decay and insects and do not require chemical treatments. It’s best to consult a professional to determine if the wood you are working with is appropriate for treatment.

5. Are there any environmental concerns with treated or pressure treated wood?

Some chemicals used in treated and pressure treated wood have raised environmental concerns in the past. However, in recent years, many of these chemicals have been replaced with less harmful options. Always look for products that are certified as safe for the environment.

Wrap Up

Thank you for reading about the difference between treated wood and pressure treated wood. It’s important to understand the differences in order to make informed decisions about the wood products you use. Remember to always consult a professional if you have any questions or concerns, and be sure to choose eco-friendly options whenever possible. Come back soon for more helpful articles!