How to tell if wood is pressure treated. Older pressure-treated wood signs can be identified by their yellowish tint, just like stop-sign posts.
The pressure-treated wood today should be clearly marked as treated, but other, less obvious signs may not be so noticeable.
How to tell if wood is pressure treated
It is crucial to check whether or not you’re buying treated lumber when trying to find the best-discounted prices.
Wood treaters use chemicals in order to prevent mold, insects, and insect larvae from destroying the product.
So make sure that your cheap wood is indeed being fumigated by checking for certain markings stamps with ‘treated’ on them for example, or a green hue if green-tinted chemicals have been used.
If you can’t determine which type of chemicals were used, give the wood a slight sniff untreated wood smells like what it grows out of whereas stinky chemicals will let you know if it’s treated or not.
Find an end tag
The chemicals in wood that’s been treated to prevent decay are usually copper and tebuconazole.
Copper lasts longer than organic preservatives and doesn’t require the large amounts of formaldehyde that other kinds of wood preservatives do.
Tebuconazole is used on wheat because it kills fungus or mold, so if you see either of these names on the end of a piece of treated lumber, it was pressure-treated.
The stamping procedure
Treated wood tends to be made of lumber that is treated to protect against rot and infestation. This treatment process uses chemicals that can become harmful to people on extended contact.
The Association of American Wood Preservers & Albaeucators (AAWPA) is an organization that categorizes the type of wood by its primary use so you don’t end up inadvertently using a product for a purpose it was not designed for.
So, it’s very important when buying this material to look at the label carefully and verify what you’re getting is what you intended or needed.
Obtain a Fact Sheet
If you’re about to make a purchase of lumber and it does not have a tag, be sure to ask for a sheet of facts before going through with the sale.
The fact sheet should specify what treatments were used on the lumber. If the lumber has both Copper and Tebuconazole, then you know it’s been pressure-treated wood.
Don’t forget to smell the wood
Even if it may seem like an odd question, smelling the wood is a good way to tell if any exterior pieces have been pressure-treated.
Treated wood smells very different: rather than having a normal, healthy smell, it’s got an oily one that you either won’t notice or will immediately identify as being wrong.
The chemicals used in treated wood make its smell terrible, unsavory, and something I doubt too many people want their house to smell like.
So even if you believe you’ve never been exposed to pressure-treated lumber before, those three particular adjectives (and thus specific sensory “cues”) should easily signal the presence of this dangerous material.
Make sure the color is correct
When thinking about pressure-treated wood, you should think of the different colors that it can be. The hues of each hue may vary given that there are various preservatives involved in treating the wood.
This is because each type of treatment will look a little bit different from the others.
For instance, some have more of a green tint than others, making them appear greener than say another type being used which results in a hint of browner coloring.
Dimension of Lumber
Residential lumber often comes in several lengths and widths, between 8 feet and 16 feet as well as wider boards.
Wood that is chemical-treated often comes in custom widths and thicknesses in order to better match the interior or exterior design needs.
For example, a 2 x 4-inch plank might measure anywhere from 3 1/2 inches wide to 7 5/8 inches wide instead of the conventional 2 inches.
Finding the Retention Level
A retention level measures how much of a preservative is left on wood after treatment. The label will typically explain where and how the wood is best used, so make sure you read it to ensure you choose the right wood.
How to tell if wood is pressure treated