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!
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.
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
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?
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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.
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...
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.
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.
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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