Treated Lumber FAQs

Pressure-Treated Lumber

Pressure-treated lumber is wood that has been treated with a preservative to protect it from elements such as weather, fungus, decay, and insects.

How long does treated wood last?

Using pressure-treated wood for projects like wooden decks and fences will keep your deck looking beautiful for years to come by resisting termites, rot, and fungal decay. 

How long should I wait to paint and stain my deck?

After installation, treated wood usually takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks to dry. For best results, wait until the wood is completely dry to paint and stain. 

Perform the following test to determine if your project is ready to paint or stain: Place drops of water on the area to be coated. If the water beads up, it is too wet to coat, and you'll need to wait. If it absorbs the water readily, it is ready to coat. 

What should I use to paint and stain my deck?

Use exterior wood water sealant product or a good quality oil-based or water-based stain. Make sure to refer to any manufacturer's instructions first.

Why does some treated wood look green?

The copper in the wood preservatives creates the green color. The color will fade on its own as the wood dries and reacts to the sun.

What do you recommend to clean treated wood?

Most mildew and dirt will come up with a mixture of soap, bleach, and water and a scrub brush. Make sure if you're using a pressure washer to keep it under 500psi as anything above that will damage the wood fibers.

What type of nails or screws do you recommend with treated wood?

Hot-dipped galvanized and stainless-steel fasteners are recommended for use with treated lumber. Check the building codes for the up-to-date list of approved fasteners before you start your project.

How much weight does treatment add to the weight of wood?

Most of the added weight to treated wood comes from the water used to carry the preservative components. A freshly treated piece of lumber can hold about 16-32 lbs per cubic foot. That's just about 2-4 gallons of water per cubic foot of treated lumber. Once the wood dries, the water evaporates, leaving only the preservative behind.

Can I use treated wood inside?

Many treated wood products do not emit any vapors and are safe for indoor use. Make sure you check the information on specific products before use. The Food and Drug Administration does not recommend using any treated wood for kitchen counter tops. It can create an unsanitary environment with food particles being trapped in the wood.

Is treated wood safe?

Yes. Holmes Lumber recommends you always follow manufacturers' warnings and instructions for use and handling of all pressure-treated lumber. Holmes Lumber always has the most up-to-date information on uses and restrictions for treated lumber, such as treatments, chemicals, additives, and more.

Doesn't treated wood contain arsenic?

Most pressure-treated lumber sold before January 2004 was treated with chemicals that contained arsenic. Manufacturing of treated wood for residential use with arsenic was halted December 31, 2003, after an agreement between manufacturers and the Environmental Protection Agency.