Wood as been a favorite home construction material over the years, thanks to its beauty and overall durability. No wonder everything is being done to care for it and prolong its life, such as wood preservers
There are three major threats to timber – termites, fungi and wood-boring insects. Fortunately, there are various types of natural wood preservatives and synthetic wood treatments available today.
Types of Wood Preservatives
Chromate Copper Arsenate
Chromium copper arsenate is a product that fights wood erosion due to an infestation of termites, fungi and other pests. It has been used as a wood-preserving pesticide since way back the 1940s. The United States’ Environment Protection Agency is concerned, however, that arsenic may leak out and cause health risks to those who are exposed to it.
To mitigate the risks that come with wood treatment in general, all treated wood should be sold with a Consumer Information Sheet that details all handling and disposal precautions that must be taken. However, a lot of manufacturers choose to provide Material Safety Data Sheets instead. There is a never-ending debate on this practice of distributing information regarding treated wood, but the more important point is that the consumer is fully aware of the product.
Oil-Borne Wood Preservatives
Two of the most popular types of oil-borne preservatives are creosote and pentachlorophenol. Creosote has been a common figure in the history of protecting outdoor wood structures like bridges and railroad ties. This method involves putting timber in a sealed chamber and removing air and moisture using a vacuum. The creosote is then impregnated into the timber through pressure treatment. Pentacholorphenol, an organochlorine compound, is both a pesticide and a disinfectant rolled into one. It may be brushed or applied by pressure, or the wood can be dipped or soaked in the liquid.
Water-Borne Wood Preservers
Usually the cheapest wood preservatives in the market are those that are water-based, but because of their high water content, they have the tendency to make wood swell or warp. Copper HDO and ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate are just two of the various types of water-based wood preservers available today.
A rising trend in the industry of wood preservation is the creation of alternative methods that are more environment-friendly, such as acetylation and heat treatments. Heating timber to extreme temperatures without oxygen changes its chemical composition and renders it useless to microbes and insects.
Acetylation does not involve pressurized treatments but instead protects wood by reducing moisture in the cell wall until nothing is left for fungi to thrive. This makes the wood not just stronger but termite-resistant too, being harder and drier than its unmodified counterpart.