Treated Pine

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Treated pine is one of the most popular, high quality, and affordable real lumber decking materials on the market today. Pine is a great tree for decking because it's plentiful, inexpensive, and easy to work with. However, like nearly all woods, it must be treated with special preservatives if it's going to last, or it will deteriorate and rot away within a few years. Treated pine successfully withstands wood-eating insects, moisture and extreme weather conditions, making it a great choice for outdoor decking.

Treated pine has for some time been surrounded by controversy over its arsenic and chromium content. Arsenic is a poison, and chromium causes cancer. Yet even today, many children's playgrounds still sport jungle gyms made from arsenic-treated pine. However, that situation is starting to change, thanks to some industry leaders who have removed arsenic and chromium from their treatment processes.

Wood Treatments: Progress and Its Price

The fact is, though, that treated woods by their very nature must contain chemicals, and most are none too good for the environment. After all, wood decay is a natural process. The consumption of wood by termites and ants is also a natural process. To halt consumption, poisonous repellents must be employed. To halt rot, chemical preservatives not naturally found in the wood must be applied to its surface.

Until organic solutions can be found, we are stuck using chemicals. Throughout the history of wood treatments, the challenge has been to come up with treatment processes that are less harmful than the previous ones. It's also necessary to balance the facts. In the end, we must decide for ourselves which is the better alternative: using chemical preservatives to create a building material that will last 100 years, or cutting down more trees to replace constantly deteriorating building materials.


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