How much do you know about pressure treated pine?

Pressure treated pine is the most common building material used in North America, but how much do you really know about it? It won’t come as a surprise that the primary reason for this statistic is that pine is fast-growing and plentiful and so it is cheap to buy, compared with its building material competitors. Americans are also very comfortable with the look of pine because they see so much of it.

This custom designed deck was constructed in Powell, Ohio Pressure treated pine
Custom designed pressure treated pine deck in Powell, OH.

We frame all of our projects in pressure treated pine which gives it an edge over homes that are framed in untreated pine. Termites don’t like the taste of the chemicals so they will stay away from the underpinnings of your outdoor living space. That’s obviously a plus. However, there are some reasons to limit your use of pressure treated pine in your Columbus deck or porch.

Pine has a moisture content of roughly 40%. That means that is very susceptible to shrinking and expanding, drying and sucking up water. Each of those actions creates movement in the boards. Cupping and twisting can result, putting stress on different parts of your structure. That’s also where you run into problems like splintering which can be an unpleasant hazard for children and pets especially.

Twisting is another movement issue that you see in pine projects. You notice this the most when it is used on vertical surfaces like columns and railings. Even if you are diligent about maintaining your pine structure with sealers and stains, exposure to the elements will eventually take its toll on your deck or porch. These effects are the greatest if your space is oriented south or west, because of the sun.

How can you minimize the effects of the elements on your project? Consider another kind of wood like cedar or synthetic decking as a primary building material. Cedar costs more, but has less moisture and natural oils that help minimize movement. If you want to capture the cost savings of pine, you can also mix in other materials on the more noticeable vertical elements like railings. We may build a pine deck, but accent it with synthetic or aluminum railings to limit movement and give the project greater visual appeal. We also recommend hosing down your pine boards regularly in the summer months to help keep them from drying and cracking.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

If you’re thinking about adding an outdoor living space to your Columbus backyard, give us a call to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish. The consultation is completely free. Call (740) 879 – 3730, email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net or visit our website at columbus.archadeck.com. We look forward to connecting with you.