Broadly speaking, wood preservation can be defined as all the measures taken to ensure the longevity of wood. However, when we talk about wood preservatives, these are usually used to describe chemical preservatives and processes (also known as timber treatments, pressure treatments or lumber treatments) which aim to increase the durability of wood, wooden structures or engineered wood, by extending the life of outdoor wood products up to 10 times the life of untreated lumber, while also protecting the material from timber’s three main enemies – fungi, termites and wood-boring insects.
Products which offer a solution to wood degradation problems – from decay, moulds, and sapstain, to fungal rot and wood destroying insects – are all considered wood preservative chemicals. It’s a general practice to treat lumber and freshly cut logs with wood preservatives before manufacturing them into products (e.g. utility poles, rails, fence posts and seasoned building materials, as well as deck furniture and playground equipment).
In light of the fact that wood is one of the most popular construction materials found in modern homes, it is unsurprising that contractors are investing in measures to ensure its longevity through various preservation methods. As a result, there are many types of wood preservative chemicals available, each with their specific uses and strengths.
The wood preservative chemicals currently available on the market fall into these types: water-borne preservatives, oil-borne preservatives and Chromate Copper Arsenate (CCA). Each of these types has its unique benefits – water-borne preservatives, for instance, are the cheapest wood preservative option widely accessible on the market, while CCA is a time-tested pesticide ideal for protecting wood against fungi, termites and other pests which might be a threat to wood products. Oil-borne wood preservatives, on the other hand, have historically been a popular choice for treating outdoor structures (e.g. bridges and railroad tiles) to prevent rot or as a disinfectant and pesticide.
In addition to extending the lifespan of wooden materials, opting for treated wood is also more environmentally friendly – compared to the environmental cost of steel and plastic, the cost of treated wood is significantly lower, as the material’s service life is extended with treatment.
Not only is preservative treated wood economical for the environment, it is also economical for your construction budget – instead of spending a lot on substitute materials like aluminium, concrete and steel, which cost more due to manufacturing requirements, import fees and environmental protection costs, you’d be saving a great deal by investing in wood preservatives.