How to Tell if Wood is Pressure Treated? 8 Possible Ways

Strain-handled wood is a much better alternative for many design tasks than typical wooden. Usually, it is clear which lumber is treated—but not constantly. In addition to distinct programs needing taken care of wood, it is critical you know which wood has been handled so you can consider further safety safety measures.

If the lumberyard employee isn’t around to show you which is which, there are several issues that you can check. Even if you discover some scrap wood, there are nevertheless some basic methods you can establish whether it’s treated or not.

wood dividerHow to Tell if Wood is Pressure Treated? The 8 Possible Ways

1. Consult the Fact Sheet

If you are still at the lumber property, this is one of the best methods to check. Typically the fact sheet is posted in close proximity to the stack. If not, you can request to see it to verify what kind of wood it is. This sheet will tell you issues such as species and contain any chemical compounds utilised. The existence of copper and tebuconazole are two chemical compounds that tell you it’s handled.

oak wood
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2. Observe the Color

With an skilled eye, you can typically explain to just by searching at the wooden if it is treated. This is specially valuable if you have identified some scrap wood to use. If it’s not as well badly weathered, a faint olive environmentally friendly is a common colour for taken care of wood—sometimes it can be brown too, so you have to be cautious.

If the wood is gray and weathered, cautiously lower into it a minor bit on an angle. This will give you an correct search at the true colour.

3. Smell the Lumber

Often, a good sniff is all you require if there’s no prepared data accessible and the color doesn’t offer ample clues. Untreated wood should have a natural, outdoorsy smell—similar to what you’d scent strolling by means of the forest.

But if it’s taken care of, it will often have a sturdy, chemical-like scent. Generally it is uncomfortable. However, chromated copper arsenate-dealt with (CCA) wood doesn’t have a smell. In 2003, the use of CCA-taken care of lumber was banned from many applications. If you suspect the wood may be that old, smelling will not be a ample check.

man chooses and buys plywood in a construction supermarket
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4. Measure the Lumber

When you acquire lumber from a lumber garden, the measurements are specific. For instance, a two x four piece of wooden really actions 1-½ x three-½. But if the wood is pressure-handled, it will usually be a bit greater. It will usually be nearer to the “true” dimension.

5. Check the Retention Level

The retention of the level is calculated by the quantity of chemicals even now current soon after pressure remedy is comprehensive. The much more chemicals, the far more resistant the wood is. Even so, a increased retention level also raises the toxicity. So, wood with greater retention won’t be suitable for several tasks close to the house.

mahogany wood
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6. Test the Lumber

There are specific test kits you can buy. They are referred to as swipe tests. If all other methods fail, doing a single of these checks on the lumber will tell you definitely if any chemicals were utilised to treat it.

7. Look for the Stamp

When a manufacturer stress treats the wooden with chemicals of any variety, they are essential to stamp the wooden. These give you much less details than some of the other approaches. Nevertheless, they tell you enough to know regardless of whether it’s safe or not. For example:

  • It’ll confirm that the wood is treated.
  • Wood stamped ‘LP22’ is treated with arsenic and isn’t safe for most applications.
  • Wood stamped ‘LP2’ is less toxic but still not safe for things like playgrounds or furniture.
  • Wood stamped ‘FDN’ is a commonly used and safe treated wood for most applications.
different kinds of maple wood
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8. Check the End Tag

As lengthy as there is an conclude tag, this is the simplest method of telling if the wood is handled. The tag will incorporate details this kind of as the type of chemicals and their score. It’ll also consist of the business that did the preserving and relevant info.

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What is Pressure Treated Wood?

Strain-treated wooden is different lumbers that have been dealt with with chemical compounds. Force is utilised to inject stated chemical substances into the fibers of the wooden. Below are a handful of of the likely chemical substances you could encounter:

  • Chromated Copper Arsenate: Most toxic of all chemicals used and typically gives the lumber a green color. Since 2003 it’s been prohibited from many applications.
  • Copper Azole: This treatment is effective against mold, fungi, and termites. It usually gives the wood a brown color.
  • Alkaline Copper Quat: This is a combination of copper and a quaternary ammonium compound. It usually has a tan or olive color and has a strong smell.
oak wooden bar blocks stacked at carpentry woodwork workshop with tools
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Extra Safety Precautions With Pressure Treated Wood

Since strain-taken care of wooden typically is made up of harmful chemical substances, some security safeguards ought to be taken when slicing or constructing with it.

  • Eye Protection: You should always wear eye protection when cutting anything. But in the case of treated wood, it’s that much more important that you protect your eyes from getting the dust or splinters.
  • Gloves: Again, gloves are typically recommended. However, splinters from pressure-treated wood can become infected quickly and do a lot of damage if not removed right away. Gloves are the best defense in this case.
  • Wash Hands Afterward: If you are dealing with any treated lumber, ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly after cutting and handling it.
  • Do Not Burn: Pressure-treated wood should never be burned. The chemicals are directly inhaled if you do that.

Why Use Treated Lumber?

Even with its toxicity, there are several important advantages to making use of handled lumber:

  • Moisture-resistant
  • Fungal-resistant
  • Pest and insect-resistant
  • Fire-resistant
  • Typically increased durability

wood dividerClosing Thoughts

Stress-handled lumber is essential for some circumstances like building fences or outdoor structures that will be matter to the factors. Nonetheless, it is crucial that you know what treatment you’re dealing with to make sure that it is protected to use for your application. If you are at any time uncertain, request someone that is common with diverse force therapies for guidance.



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