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A Beginners Guide to Pressure Treated Timber

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If you are looking to invest in a wooden gate, timber fence panel or other wood structure that will be left exposed to the elements for a prolonged period of time then you will need to ensure it is adequately protected from rot and decay.

With this in mind there are generally 2 routes you can take. The first is regular staining or painting which is both messy and time consuming (more information on this is available in this article). The second is to select a product that is constructed using pressure treated timber.

What is Pressure Treated Timber?

pressure treated wooden gate examples

As a natural building material timber alone does not stand up well to prolonged exposure to the elements and can start to show signs of rot and decay in only a matter of months if not properly protected from the ingress of moisture. With this in mind a time proven method of protecting the timber is through a pressure treatment process.

This basically involves placing cut timber into a vacuum chamber to remove all the oxygen particles within the cells. Once this process is complete the same vacuum forces chemical preservatives into the grain structure of the timber allowing it to be absorbed deep into the heart of the wood (something that is not possible by staining or painting alone).

Designed to be environmentally friendly the pressure treatment process can extend the life of the wood enormously as detailed below.

Greater Protection Against Exposure to the Weather

When untreated timber is allowed to remain wet or moist for a prolonged timeframe it will start to soften allowing fungus and other bacteria to form. In turn these will start to eat the grain of the wood leading to decomposition (or in common terms rot). To combat this problem the chemicals used in the pressure treatment process have anti-fungal properties which are able to penetrate into the core of the timber reducing the chances of rot and decay.

Extended Lifespan

Untreated timber that is left exposed to moisture will decay much faster than that seen after the pressure treating process has been completed. This is because the chemical preservatives protect the wood by creating a barrier to moisture stopping it entering the cells of the timber. In simple terms this means that you can leave gates, fence panels and other items out throughout the year without risking damage.

Cost Effective & Low Maintenance

Whilst the initial cost of pressure treated timber may be slightly higher than an untreated equivalent when you factor in the additional lifespan you can expect and the very low maintenance aspects it is a very appealing choice for the modern homeowner who leads a busy lifestyle.

Friendly to the Environment

Despite the fact that chemicals are used in the pressure treatment process timber of this nature will ultimately last far longer and as such can actually reduce timber consumption over a number of years. Think about it. If you buy an untreated wooden gate and leave it to rot you will need a replacement. This means twice the amount of timber. In comparison if you but a pressure treated wooden gate and leave it exposed to the elements, in most cases this will last for upwards of 10 years without having to carry out any maintenance.

Pressure treated wooden gates fitted to driveway entrance

What is the Appearance of Pressure Treated Timber?

Timber that has just been pressure treated will have a green tint to it and in some cases will have small green pock marks in random locations. This is sometimes mistaken as mould however is actually attributed to residue left over from the chemical preservative. Over time the green hue of the timber will fade so if you are not keen on the initial appearance have a little patience and a more natural appearance will begin to take effect.

The 2 images below show the difference between untreated and pressure treated timber. As you can see there is quite a difference.

When can Pressure Treated Timber be Stained or Painted?

This will largely be dependent upon environmental factors and is a difficult question to answer. However as a general rule of thumb, the timber should be left for at least 2-3 moths (or until it is fully dry) before any surface treatment is applied. Please also not that if you are staining the timber we would recommend you wait until such time as the green hue has faded otherwise this can be locked in under the stain and show through it effecting the overall colour of the wood.

In closing we hope you have found this article simple to understand and useful for your research purposes. If you would like to find out more about a range of pressure treated wooden gates for sale on our website simply click the links in the navigation menu or take a look at some of our best selling pressure treated products including the Drayton wooden estate gates, the Quorn garden gate and the Carlton Bow Top side gate.