Once the wood has been pressure treated, it is labeled or stamped with a list that includes all the chemicals used to treat it. A label or stamp can be placed anywhere on the wood, but manufacturers generally place either one near the end of the board. Wooden stamps are easily identifiable marks on wood. They can be found in cut wood, pallets, boxes and other wood products.
Chemical treatment brands often appear as abbreviations such as Bor, FDN, or ACQ. All of these abbreviations represent different forms of chemical treatment that show that the wood is treated. Pressure-treated wood has labels or stamps on the ends that identify the chemical used. It may have a green or brown color due to the treatment process.
Treated wood can smell like oil or chemicals, unlike the pleasant natural smell of untreated wood. Use a slip test kit or a wood test kit for accurate results. In most cases, figuring out if the wood has been pressure treated is fairly simple, Shaddy says. Older pressure-treated wood has an olive green tint, while newer pressure-treated wood has a seal that identifies it as such and, in some cases, an alphanumeric code that provides information on the level of toxicity.
If you live in or are visiting an area currently affected by invasive wood pests, ask the seller where the wood was cut. According to the Oklahoma State University Extension, the process of pressure treating wood involves forcing a “preservative chemical” to penetrate deep into the cellular structure of the wood. Wood treatment chemicals delay decay caused by fungi (rot) and make wood less attractive to potentially destructive insects. All wood products can be classified into one of five main use categories that clearly describe the exposure conditions to which the specified wood products may be subject during service.
The American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) is responsible for disseminating voluntary wood conservation standards. As the name suggests, pressure treated wood is wood that has been treated with chemicals while under pressure. The chemical then prevents the wood from deteriorating as a result of moisture, insects (such as termites) and fungi, in order to extend the life of the wood. CCA treated wood can still be used for permanent wood foundations, road construction, fence posts, posts that are used as structural elements on farms, marine construction, and wood for use in saltwater.