How should I store pressure treated wood?

I'm currently in the process of rebuilding a small deck and have about 20 PT boards waiting to be put on. The way the project has been going (unfortunately) it could be a while before I get them on. My question is...what's the best way to store these boards? They're currently stacked outside - sitting on some 2x4s to keep them off the ground. I'm a little confused because I've read a few things that suggest they should be covered to avoid exposure to the elements...yet, these are for a porch which will be continually exposed to the elements...and isnt it good for the wood to "breathe" and dry out for some time?
One other question about these boards in particular...when I originally bought them they were COMPLETELY wet and very soft. So much so, that when I drive a screw the screw wants to go completely through the board. Any suggestions on what to do so that these boards will fairly quickly dry enough to be usable? Do I need to wait to add them to the deck? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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stratford1 wrote:

Stack out of direct sun w/ _lots_ of weight to try to at least minimize movement (but it probably won't help a whole lot, it may some). There's no magic way to speed up the drying process w/o rigging up a homemade kiln-like arrangement but they'll lose the bulk water relatively quickly in warm weather.
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I can't answer the question about them being really wet, but I've always stored PT wood in ways that provided maximum air circulation. Rather than stacked, can you put some thin wood shims between the layers to let some air in?
And, is it safe to say that you have no small kids who will be crawling around on this deck, or adults walking on it in bare feet?
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PT lumber is shipped wet because they expect you to use it in contact with the ground. If you are not doing that, maybe you should be using a different kind of lumber. In any case, it has a great tendency to warp if you let it dry too completely so for storage if only a few weeks, just stack them directly on the ground and cover with a tarp. Store it the same way you see it stacked in the store. Once they are built into the porch, warpage will be restricted by the nails and rest of the structure. Don't dry it too much first or you will be sorry.
IMO, PT should be used for the under structure of the porch only. Use something else for the decking. Paint any surfaces exposed to people and you won't have to worry about the chemicals inside. Toxic sawdust tied in a plastic shopping bag and directly into the trash.
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Ok, thanks everyone for the advice. Following up on what some of you have said... This is an entryway deck so although we wont be on it barefoot (at least originally), should we be concerned about tracking in any chemicals from the boards? Our plan is to eventually stain the deck...will this sufficiently seal in the chemicals? We dont have any kids now, but could eventually - and overall I'd rather not have toxic stuff exposed regardless. Also how should we address the toxic nature of these boards with the philosophy that the deck should be left untreated (unstained) for a year to let it breathe? Is there a good way to deal with toxic boards for a year? Sorry for all the questions on this...I'm a little caught by suprise on this - I was under the assumption originally that PT decking was sort of the standard. Its starting to sound like more hassle than its worth. Ideas?
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Others will disagree, but I would never use PT wood for any surface that will come into contact with humans or animals I cared about. You can get synthetic deck boards for such purposes. The chemicals used in PT wood are different from what they used to be, and they might now be safer. Or, they may not. It's being tested on you and your family.
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Stain will not be sufficient to seal in the treatment, you need a paint to completely encapsulate the surface. PT wood has all those track marks on the surface (helps the treatment sink in and identifies the wood as PT to the consumer) which is unatttractive for decking. PT is like low levels of Asbestos. If it's left alone, painted and undisturbed, it works quite well. But if you cut it and expose yourself just the right way, it can reveal its toxic nature.
PT wood also isn't necessarily very hard often made of pine or douglas fir. Soft woods make poor decking because shoes and rocks can tear it up quickly and leave dents and scratches etc. What exactly did you get for the decking, don't tell us you were going to use 2x4s. You may have got a PT decking material thats appropriate.
If you plan to stain it, then that will give you the protection of the PT lumber anyway. If you got the stuff at HD or Lowes, return most of it while you still have the 90 day return policy. Get sometyhing more appropriate for porch decking, there are many choices both natural and synthetic and consider what kind of fastner (screw or nail) it needs up front. You should still use the PT for the under structure of the joists and frame, just not the decking.
Decking lumber will cost a bit more than framing lumber but it will last longer and look better. My favorite is Ipe (or ironwood) but that can get expensive. Redwood, Cedar and some of the new synthetic wood (wood fibers and resin) are good choices as well. Those are nice because you may never need to stain them saving hundreds over the years mitigating the extra original cost. All depends on how good you want it to look and how long it should last. IMO a painted PT deck is something a cheap landloard puts in to provide a safe but cheap porch for a tenant when the old one rots away.
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stratford1 wrote:

My personal opinion is the "problem" is far overblown to the severity of the disease. I'd suggest not letting a toddler crawl directly on a new PT surface, but crawling directly on any exterior wood deck isn't a great choice, anyway. You're not going to track in enough stuff to matter a whit.
You can't successfully paint/seal/stain/whatever treated for a year for it to finish drying and painting imo is the most problematic choice--it'll require far more care than alternatives.
Redwood used to be my choice, but it's almost unobtainium any more. The alternates of ipe and other similar species are another choice. I personally don't much care for any of the composites I've seen; others swear by them...
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I could be convinced. Show me your sources of information, please.
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

You never showed a single documented problem in the previous dozen or so go-rounds, Joe. So, I'll pass this time... :)
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These chemicals generally aren't tested on humans because no sane human would agree to it, the way people agree to take part in drug testing. Therefore, you are the guinea pig. Some problems take quite some time to develop, which makes them difficult to test for.
But, you knew that. You're just arguing for sport.
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On Tue, 6 May 2008 12:33:26 -0700 (PDT), stratford1

After a year much of the chemicals will leach out. There is no or very little concern with skin in contact with PT lumber, but I would not use PT wood for eating surfaces such as a picnic table. Sealing the wood will help make it last much longer. I recommend Cabot Decking stain. Stain all surfaces, with special attention to end grain. Avoid handling PT wood with bare hands, PT splinters can be quite nasty and slow healing.
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wrote:

Really? I'd like to read more about that. Where did you read that?
Seems like if most of the chemicals leached out, it would be almost like untreated wood, and not worth paying more for.
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High society people use something something called a "plate". Reduces the ammount of time your food is in contact with the table. I wouldn't know. Just something I heard.
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On Tue, 6 May 2008 08:12:44 -0700 (PDT), stratford1

Sticker and stack the wood neatly, keep outside, protect from elements and up off the ground. As wood dries, it will twist, wane, cup, warp, shrink and split. This is particularly true for pressure treated wood that has not been kiln dried. There is nothing wrong with building with wet wood. Wait at least 6 months before applying a stain or other protective finish.
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By now He's burnt it and brought in the decontamination squad to get rid of the ashes.
wrote:

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