Treated Lumber FAQs

Treated lumber provides your projects with a strong foundation and long lasting durability. It can also be an affordable option for many outdoor projects like decks and pergolas. 

Treated lumber starts with regular lumber that is then treated with special chemicals that allow it to resist decay while facing the elements.

Let Carter Lumber answer all of your questions about using treated lumber.

How long does treated wood last?

Treated lumber can last for decades if proper maintenance is performed regularly.

How long should I wait to paint and stain my deck?

After installation, treated wood takes 2-4 weeks to dry. For optimal results, wait until the wood is completely dry to paint and stain.

Perform the following test to determine if your project is ready to paint or stain: Place a few drops of water on the area to be coated. If it beads up, it is too wet to coat, and you'll need to wait. If it absorbs the water readily, it is ready to coat.

What should I use to paint and stain my deck?

Here at Carter Lumber, we recommend an exterior wood water sealant product or a good quality oil-based or water-based stain. Please refer to any manufacturer's instructions first.

Why does some treated wood look green?

The copper from the wood preservatives creates a green color. The green color will fade on its own as the wood dries and reacts to the sun.

What do you recommend to clean treated wood?

Most mildew and dirt will come up with a mixture of soap (particularly bleach) and water and a firm brush. Make sure if you're using a pressure washer, to keep it under 500psi, as anything above that will damage the wood fibers.

What type of nails or screws do you recommend with treated wood?

Hot-dipped galvanized and stainless-steel fasteners are recommended for use with treated lumber. Check the building codes for the up-to-date list of approved fasteners before you start your project.

How much weight does treatment add to the weight of wood?

Most of the added weight to treated wood comes from the water used to carry the preservative components. Believe it or not, a freshly treated piece of lumber can hold about 16-32 lbs per cubic foot. That's just about 2-4 gallons of water per cubic foot of treated lumber. Once the wood dries, the water eventually evaporates, leaving only the preservative.

Can I use treated wood inside?

Many treated wood products do not emit any vapors and are safe for indoor use. Make sure you check the information on specific products before use. The Food and Drug Administration does not recommend using any treated wood for kitchen counter-tops. This can create an unsanitary environment with food particles being trapped in the wood.

Is treated wood safe?

Yes. Carter Lumber recommends you always follow manufacturers' warnings and instructions for use and handling of all pressure-treated lumber. Carter Lumber always has the most up-to-date information on uses and restrictions for treated lumber, such as treatments, chemicals, additives, and more.

Is all treated lumber the same?

Not all treated lumber is the same. Carter Lumber carries Wolmanized® Outdoor® Wood, an advanced wood preservation technology, which is a fully integrated preservative system with built-in protection from the detrimental effects of weathering. This innovative protection offers real wood's natural beauty combined with advances in dimensional stability, weathering protection, fastener performance, and environmental friendliness. In particular, the technology behind the Wolmanized® system significantly reduces cracking and checking common to ordinary lumber.

Doesn't treated wood contain arsenic?

Most pressure-treated lumber sold before January 2004 was treated with chemicals that contained arsenic. Manufacturing of treated wood for residential use with arsenic was halted December 31, 2003, after an agreement between manufacturers and the Environmental Protection Agency.