Green / Eco-Friendly

Alternatives to Pressure Treated lumber?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 23rd, 2009 10:31 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 23, 2002
4267 posts
296 upvotes
Hamilton

Alternatives to Pressure Treated lumber?

Ok so I am about to order wood for a fence (~100') and a deck (10'x30'). I know cedar is the most natural deterent to decay, but it is about 2.5-3x the cost of pressure treated. As I can't seem to convince the neighbour to split the cost of the fence, I don't see the budget covering a cedar deck and certainly not a cedar fence. I have also been reading about the stuff used in PT lumber and I have to admit I would prefer not to use it. Also in the case of cedar or PT they both turn grey if not sealed... so that brings me to my question since I have to seal them anyway - anyone here tried a non-treated pine deck/fence and used a natural, or less toxic, (aka green) preserve? (I would still used PT wood on the posts for the fence, and beams/joists for the deck)

Two of my neighbours have used plain pine for their fences and they look as good as any other fence in the area. Plus they were able to get dimensions in the pine that isn't available in PT (i.e. pickets 1"x10"x6').

The only resource I have found is here:

http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/5700

The other option I have read about is using a Borate based application.

So assuming I do go with PT, has anyone seen PT boards with the diemension 1x10x6?
6 replies
Jr. Member
Feb 17, 2009
156 posts
12 upvotes
I can tell you that a 1x10x6' PT board is not commonly available anywhere in the industry.

1x10 untreated pine in varying grades however is available.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 9, 2007
955 posts
31 upvotes
For a fence you may use PT posts and regular pine boards and then seal them all. It won't last as long as PT or cedar but will easily last for 10+ years. I would not use pine for deck though.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 23, 2002
4267 posts
296 upvotes
Hamilton
Yeah I have decided to make the fence from PT with untreated roughcut 12" pine pickets. The deck will have a cedar top.
Newbie
Sep 7, 2008
28 posts
There's a new green fence product called TimberWolf available at Rona. It doesn't resolve your price issue since the initial investment is pretty high but the great thing about it is that you don't have to paint or stain and it won't turn to gray. It even has a transferrable lifetime warranty, so it's as if you were adding an asset to your home if ever you were considering on selling your home in the future.

The dollar value pretty much kick's in after spending money to paint and stain your wood fence after 5-10yrs depending on how often you do it. You also won't have to replace the TimberWolf fence since it pretty much lasts a lifetime...if properly installed.

More info www.ecomat.ca

As for decking, an alternative to wood would be azek. I personally haven't seen the product but I've heard that a lot of professional installers like the product. Trex decking is also another option...but they seem to have issues with mold if the deck is not maintained with a cleaner on a semi annual basis. I think they came out with a new series that resolves the mold issue but I could be wrong...
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 23, 2002
4267 posts
296 upvotes
Hamilton
From the stories I've read about mold growing on some brands and the plastic boards I've seen sagging from sunlight in the lumber yard, I am not ready to spend the money on them. I am sure there are great examples of these, but I'd hate for mine to be the bad example because the product failed.

I have decided to go with a non-treated pine for the fence board and PT for the rest (may treat later). Several neighbours have gone with non-treated pine and I think they look pretty good -- absolutely not treatment on them either.

The deck structure will be PT but the top will probably be cedar (not sure yet) - at the very least, where people sit or set their beverages/food will not be PT.

Not an ideal solution, but it limits PT exposure.
Newbie
Sep 7, 2008
28 posts
From what I've learned, most composite companies use wood(saw dust) in their products, that is the biggest issue. The natural elements in wood are nutrients for mold/fungus and exposed to the sun will make the product color shift, turn to gray.

That is the advantage of TimberWolf fence, they manufacturer the product with recycled cellulose(paper/cardboard) with a mix of recycled plastic bottles. As for the sagging issue, the TimberWolf system uses glue to prevent that from happening.

The TimberWolf fence I helped install at my cousin

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