treated lumber

greetings, i need to build a small retaining wall and i am planning on using 2x12 treated lumber. since the lumber will be in contact with dirt should i paint it with a primer such as kilz or just let it be since it is treated? thanks cj
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buy only the best treated wood and assume it will fail eventually. I have some on a porch thats totally disappeared, a friends neighbor built a 8 foot high treated wood stone wall about 10 years ago. the wood is just a shell ands is completely gone in some places.
do realize treated wood is now looked at like asbestos was befire it was banned. as a cancer general health risk. one day it might have to be removed by certified workers in moon suits and the contaminated soil hauled away to a hazardous waste landfill...hard to sell homes with such hazards....
your better off with stone brick etc
but ideally you just reslope the area, no matter how good you build a wall eventually they fail.
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Only treated lumber that I know of that will sustain being in ground is Penta or Cresote treated. I've seen Penta that was buried in moist soil for 30 yrs, still intact as new. No experience with Cresote bu utility pole used it. EPA I think plays a political game instead of being logical. Jack
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wrote:

I always eat my meals by placing the food directly on a piece of treated wood. In fact I am going to have some dinner plates made out of treated wood.......
On a more serious note. Treated wood is not dangerous once it's been rained on a few times, and you dont eat it. It's the government that makes these laws that are dangerous. With that said, the chemical used to treat the wood is dangerous if it enters water and will kill fish. Unless you consume it, or water contaninated with it, I would not get too worried about it. Just wash your hands after you work with it, before eating. Do not burn the scraps.

Yes, it will last longer, but concrete products tend to crack easier from freeze-thaw, and being they can not be nailed or fastened as easily, pieces fall off easier. Railroad ties are better than treated wood AND concrete products in my opinion.

Correct, but much depends on the way it's built too, and remember to use galvanized nails or the nails will fail before the wood.
To the OP, Kilz wont help at all. Rather take some liquid roofing tar and coat the back of the treated wood. Just brush it on. Thin it with some mineral spirits or another solvent (such as gasoline) if necessary. If you thin with gasoline, do it safely......
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You have to respect hallerb's last comment. No matter what you do the earth continues to move and put pressure against a wall. This leads to cracking or outright failure. You can mitigate this to some extent with crushed stone and proper drainage behind the wall. I prefer the tapered earth approach where possible.
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As others have mentioned, using the wood might not be the best for the wall. Though if you space your vertical supports closer together you might get better length out of it.
You also might want to put some 30# roofing felt between the dirt and the wood for some added life.
Scott<-

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cj wrote:

I prefer retaining walls built with precast concrete blocks.
This automatically allows for weep holes to let the water flow through the spaces between the blocks and will not rot in any time span I care to think about.
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the small piece of hill i am wanting to hold back leads to a tunnel access to my basement. eventually (maybe this summer) i will have the basement dug down further, about 8 inches, 4 inches of slab pumped in,and then cut out a closet floor above for stairs leading to the basement. once that is all done i plan on covering up the outside access and be done with it.if things go well the retaining wall will only have to last a year at tops. the wall i want to build will only be about five foot in length, four foot tall. i thought i might dig three post holes, about 2 foot deep, stick some 4x4's and fill with bagged cement, add water type.then i would like to add some 2x12's to the dirt side and fill back in, not even 2 yards worth of dirt.i know it's not long term (although it might have to last a few more years than planned. i got allot of gravel that i can fill in the bottom with, maybe 6 inches?. thanks for the input people, cj
John_B wrote:

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the small piece of hill i am wanting to hold back leads to a tunnel access to my basement. eventually (maybe this summer) i will have the basement dug down further, about 8 inches, 4 inches of slab pumped in,and then cut out a closet floor above for stairs leading to the basement. once that is all done i plan on covering up the outside access and be done with it.if things go well the retaining wall will only have
to last a year at tops. the wall i want to build will only be about five foot in length, four foot tall. i thought i might dig three post holes,
Its always best to have outside access to the basement, if not for convenience then utility value like moving replacement things in like furnace, or hot water tank, let alone lawn and garden or entering basement when your filthy, so as to avoid dragging mud thru home.
if your basement has direct outside access you can call it a bedroom increasing your homes value.
you can have a 4 foot high slope plant it with groundcover.... saves bucks now, requires little or no repairs ever, and can add to home value, the vast majority of home buyers want outside basement access.
look it doesnt matter one bit to me, but might be a big future issue
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Some people have recommended doing a brick or cement retaining wall, and others talked about pressure treated wood.
What are your thoughts about using the new plastic/synthetic lumber that can be used for decking?
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Too much flex
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also 12 inch center are needed for the stuff on decks. Can not imagine what you would need for a wall

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wrote:

I would use tar on the sides in contact with the dirt, and nothing on the outer faces. Bevel or round the top edge slightly to get water off it. How high is the wall going to be? At 2' you can expect it to bulge, sag, and lean, even with posts every 4'. If you're going higher than that, then you should probably consider a different material.
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First understand "treated" doesn't mean anything until you get the density of the treatment. I am not familiar with the new ACQ but back in the CCA days typical orange box PT was .4 or .6 cca with some promo stuff that was only .25 Guys who wanted things to last went to a place that sells .8 or greater and if they really wanted it to last, like a salt water boat dock, they would use 2.5 or so. That is what a southern telephone pole is. You might get away with less in northern latitudes. We have a sea wall next to my house done with 2.5 CCA 2x8s 20 years ago and it is still doing fine. One side is against dirt, the other, salt water.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote: -snip-

-snip-
I agree! I have a fence with treated 4x4's that I put up 20 years ago. They are showing no sign of rot above or below ground.
A deck I put up 10 yrs later has some serious checking- and I've replaced a couple boards. All PT is not created equal.
Jim [and to the OP-- if you're only thinking about less than 5 years your peoblem won't be rot--- just make sure it is engineered so it holds back what you're trying to retain.]
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