"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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WARNING #1.
Never burn scrap pieces of pressure treated lumber

in a wood stove or fireplace. 'PT wood contains chemicals which are highly toxic.


WARNING #2
Do not use pressure treated lumber for constructing a sandbox or play equipment.


Wood rot and settlement
Wood rot is often the result of poor maintenance. Minor rot can be repaired but if the rot is extensive, it may be better to replace the entire deck. If the settlement is minor, the deck can be made level again by placing filler blocks or shims between the top of the support post and the deck.

Building permit
It is almost a given that you need a building permit for your deck so, before you start, check with your local building department.




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Pressure treated Wood Decks
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Pressure treated wood deck.

Many older dwellings have a front or wrap-around porch which adds character and charm to the home. Before the age of TV and air conditioning, the porch was a place where families would congregate and meet friends and neighbours. In today's society, activities take place on the ever-popular backyard deck. Style, size and choice of material for the deck depends on your needs, budget and available space.
What is Pressure Treated wood? Any wood that has been treated under pressure with some chemical preservative that protects the lumber from moisture and insects is known as treated lumber. If it has been applied under pressure it is known as pressure treated wood (PT wood.)
The majority of decks built are made from PT wood. The main reason is that PT wood is the most economical choice compared to other decking materials. When you cut a piece of lumber you will notice that the chemical preservatives (green colour in photo), that protects the lumber from moisture and insects, in some places barely penetrated the wood. Most people don't see the significance of this. They just think that pressure treated lumber should last 'forever'. However, that is not the case. To make your deck last longer a water repellent should be applied annually.
Handling pressure treated wood.
Always wear a dust mask and goggles when cutting or sanding wood. Wear gloves if you are applying an end-cut preservative (copper naphthalene for ground contact or zinc naphthalene for above ground). Wash hands before handling food. Wash work clothes separately from other household clothing. Maintenance and cleaning. A deck is a good investment but, just like any other part of the house, needs proper maintenance.




Pressure Treated Wood deck with planters

Poor penetration in 4x4 and 2x6
Will not last long without water repellant applications
A well constructed and cared-for deck should outlast it's builder. Pressure treated lumber has rot-resistant and insect-repelling properties. Because of this well known fact, people tend to think that their deck is maintenance free, but that is not quite true. You may not notice it but your deck is constantly 'on the move'. Wood expands and contracts and can loosen boards and nails. The sun's ultraviolet rays, seasonal changes, humidity and water can be eliminated by applying a top quality water repellent. A lack of water beads is a sure sign that it is time for another application. To prevent damage to the softer wood fibers, it is not a good idea to use a power washer to clean your deck. It is better to use a solution of oxygen bleach, or another exterior wood wash solution, to clean your PT wood deck. Do not confuse oxygen bleach with the more common household chlorine bleach which contains sodium hydrochloride.

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