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Treating Pressure Treated Wood

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Forum topic by Don Broussard posted 06-07-2018 02:18 PM 749 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don Broussard

3758 posts in 2674 days


06-07-2018 02:18 PM

A couple of weeks ago, I fell through a rotten porch step at my house, which fortunately caused only scrapes and bruising. The steps were built 9 years ago with pressure-treated deck boards, and are exposed to the south Louisiana sun and weather constantly. During the dismantling of the old steps, we noted that most of the other boards were still in useable condition, but we replaced them all anyway. Coupla questions: 1) Does a 9-year life for this application sound right? 2) Is it possible that the one rotten board was just a bad board? 3) Should I treat the new pressure treated steps to extend their useful life?

Thanks in advance for comments and suggestions.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!


15 replies so far

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

990 posts in 973 days


#1 posted 06-07-2018 04:04 PM

9 years seems a bit young but if they never were stained or sealed in anyway they can go bad fast. Several years ago I tore a 30 year old porch off my house and all the boards were pretty good except the ends that were exposed to the weather constantly. Over the winter I tore down a deck that was mayb 6 or so years old that was never treated and exposed to the weather constantly and a few of those boards were kinda weak. So weather definitely plays a part in it.
When I was younger my dad and me built a deck that was stained every few years and always kept clean and after 10 years it still looked brand new and in great shape.
The way it’s cared for and what it’s exposed to all factors into how long it’ll last.
I know they make some stuff to wipe on the ends of the boards that you cut but I’d suggest just staining it every year or two and it should last a while

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

23214 posts in 3106 days


#2 posted 06-07-2018 04:07 PM

They make a paint like sealer, to be brushed onto fresh cut edges….

After the wood has dried a bit, then an oil-based stain can be applied…..has to be applied every few years…

Unless you want to use the composite stuff like Treks, for the treads.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

525 posts in 2154 days


#3 posted 06-07-2018 04:13 PM

I’m glad you didn’t get hurt worse than you did—falling through a porch step when you don’t expect it could be really bad.

I know that rot resistance in treated wood is related to the level of chemical preservative in the wood. This chemical retention level is typically stamped on the wood. Chemicals used in the past (copper arsenate) have been replaced by “friendlier”chemicals that may not be as effective long term.

It seems to me that 9 years is not alot of time assuming you applied stain or another preservative on an annual or biennial basis. I have a planter box made of treated lumber that is over 20 years old and is still fine. It is possible that the one bad board did not effectively absorb the original preservative or had some internal anomaly.

I think it is important to use an additional preservative (e.g. paint, stain) on an annual basis to prevent rot—even under the deck and stairs ideally. The original treatment may not be enough given your harsh environment. I find that the pump-up sprayers do a good job of getting in the areas where I can’t get a brush.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1889 posts in 585 days


#4 posted 06-07-2018 04:46 PM

are they 3/4” thick or 2x boards ?

I have P/T 2×8 pine boards on my 16’ utility trailer that carries cars and other heavy stuff
that is over 20 years old and is still as strong and solid today as when they were installed.
I would think something is amiss like your boards are not really pressure treated.
other than that – I would not even guess as to what went wrong.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

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firefighterontheside

20382 posts in 2279 days


#5 posted 06-07-2018 04:50 PM

I would have to agree with Bill Steele. Not all pressure treated wood is the same. Also, that may have been a less than perfect board before it was pressure treated.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View tmasondarnell's profile

tmasondarnell

113 posts in 2212 days


#6 posted 06-07-2018 04:52 PM

9 years is a little quick for a failure.

Was it a stringer or a step? Generally when there is an early failure like this, there was either water pooling on the wood or it was in direct ground contact and was not rated for GC.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3758 posts in 2674 days


#7 posted 06-07-2018 04:57 PM

Thanks for the comments and advice.

The PT boards have never been treated with anything other than the “friendlier” chemicals. Nine years’ life seemed a bit short to me too. Looks like I’ll need some sealer or other preservative with a pump sprayer to apply to the new boards. I am open to suggestions on an appropriate sealer or preservative.

I looked into Treks or other composite, and I decided to stay with PT deck boards to match the porch and rails.

John—The boards are nominal 5/4 deck boards, with an actual thickness of 1” or so.

tmas—There was no ground contact on any of the boards and no water pooling on the steps. The rotten board was a step. There were some signs of compromise on some of the stringers, and we sistered up some 2x’s to those areas.

Thanks again!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Don W's profile

Don W

19251 posts in 2990 days


#8 posted 06-07-2018 05:10 PM

There are different grades of pressure treated lumber. That along with the reduction of “bad stuff” they use to treat it, it’s best to give it a coat of something every once in a while.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

746 posts in 1525 days


#9 posted 06-08-2018 01:50 AM

This
is good stuff if you can tolerate the smell and the green color. The color fades after a while. It is especially good for treating end grain and other cuts. Most of the treatment is in the outer part of the lumber. So, if you make a cut, you are likely exposing untreated or minimally treated wood.

Also, look for the tag that indicates the lumber is treated for ground contact even if it will be used above ground.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1908 days


#10 posted 06-08-2018 01:58 AM

I’ve seen a lot of pressure treated last a lot longer than 9 years. I’d say it was just the board.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

525 posts in 2154 days


#11 posted 06-08-2018 02:26 PM

The broken step wasn’t Alder by any chance was it?

View Holt's profile

Holt

280 posts in 3051 days


#12 posted 06-08-2018 02:56 PM

I use Copper Green on all the cut edges of pressure treated lumber. Couldn’t find a local source, so i ordered it off Amazon. Hasn’t been long enough to be certain it has made a difference. but based on the research i did and the reviews i read, it seemed like my best bet…


They make a paint like sealer, to be brushed onto fresh cut edges….

After the wood has dried a bit, then an oil-based stain can be applied…..has to be applied every few years…

Unless you want to use the composite stuff like Treks, for the treads.

- bandit571


-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1908 days


#13 posted 06-08-2018 02:56 PM

That’s just lunacy. We all know alder reacts with moisture and turns into stainless steel as it matures.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

525 posts in 2154 days


#14 posted 06-08-2018 03:49 PM

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

746 posts in 1525 days


#15 posted 06-08-2018 11:15 PM



I use Copper Green on all the cut edges of pressure treated lumber. Couldn t find a local source, so i ordered it off Amazon. Hasn t been long enough to be certain it has made a difference. but based on the research i did and the reviews i read, it seemed like my best bet…
- Holt

I have found gallons at my local lumber yard. My big box stores don’t carry it at all. I usually order qts from Amazon as I don’t use a lot.

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