Wood like most plant matter naturally decomposes or rots easily. It takes only 50-200 years for an entire tree to vanish into soil; one glass bottle is thought to take a million years. When the wood is buried into damp soil, the decaying process is even faster. That’s why treating wood against insects and rot has been attempted since before Alexander the Great when bridges were treated with olive oil, and in Ancient Rome, where wooden ships were smeared with tar. Thanks to the innovation of people before and during our time, treated wood has improved to the point that we only have to build our fences once or twice over a lifetime.
How Pressure Treated Wood Works: the wood is place into a pressurized or vacuum environment and chemical preservers are forced into the wood. These chemicals make the wood inhospitable to the insects and fungi that would break it down naturally.
There is a large variety of different preservatives used in wood. Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) uses copper as a fungicide (a fungicide is something that kills fungi like moulds and mushrooms) and arsenic as an insecticide (something that kills bugs). Wood treated with CCA was very popular in the past, but presently it has been classified as “hazardous” and “posing too high of a risk to society” in many countries. Following this classification across most of the western world, alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) became very popular in the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Because of the high level of copper in ACQ, this wood is a bit corrosive to normal steel and using stainless steel fasteners is advisable. Copper azole (CA-b or CA-a) is another popular alternative to CCA. This wood has the familiar green hue and is less detrimental to steel fasteners.
In Canada, CA-a, CA-b, and ACQ are the pressure treated woods of choice for most. Our fencing products generally favour ACQ, as we at TimberTown feel it is the superior product in the fight against insects, fungi, and general decay. Our fencing packages are all available in ACQ treated wood. Wood projects made with ACQ treated materials often last 20 years or longer.
At TimberTown, we want to help Albertans build the best fence they can. That’s why we believe in only providing the best wood. If you’re looking for advice or have any questions, come into the TimberTown closest to you today!