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The Importance of Understanding Treated Lumber

Some things just stand the test of time. In a world of ever-changing composites and polymers, one material remains dominant.  Pressure-treated lumber. Understanding and educating customers on the differences in treated lumber is critical for dealers, and will ultimately result in increased sales and reputation.

Treated Lumber is King

As more and more homeowners look at decks as extensions of their home, the variety of low-maintenance and wood-alternative decking and railing options continue to grow and diversify. Despite the recent growth of alternative materials for decking and railing, pressure-treated lumber is king. Recent studies indicate that over 95% of decks use pressure-treated lumber for the under-structure, and over 70% of decks use pressure-treated lumber for the decking.  When it comes to decks and outdoor structures, it all starts with treated lumber.

Treated Lumber Graph


With new treatment technologies and changes in standards, it also starts with the dealer.  Homeowners, DIYers and professional builders all count on their dealers to offer the best product, and to recommend the right product for their projects.  This comes with a great deal of responsibility, but also a great opportunity to educate customers and grow sales.  There are differences in treated lumber, and customers need to be aware of the options.  Whether deciding on what type of treated lumber to stock, or simply recommending the right product for a project, the following are some factors that dealers should consider.

Embrace Ground Contact/General Use Treated Lumber

With treated lumber being the dominant material for deck under-structures, understanding how your customers intend to use the lumber is an incredibly important discussion.  Treated lumber is often sold without knowing the intended use. There are varying levels of treatment retentions that are appropriate for different applications, however, many customers see the word “treated” and assume the material will hold up in any outdoor application.  For that reason, manufacturers and dealers alike are embracing ground contact/general use treated lumber to eliminate confusion and to ensure their customers are covered. For example, ProWood® treated lumber has transitioned from above ground (UC3B) to ground contact/general use (UC4A) providing dealers a complete assortment of treated lumber that removes the guesswork and ensures safety. Ground contact/general use treated lumber should be used if any of the following apply to the project:

  • The lumber is difficult to replace or maintain
  • The lumber is critical to the integrity of the structure
  • lumber is 6 inches or less from the ground – or touching the ground
  • The lumber will be subject to inadequate ventilation
  • The lumber will be exposed to frequent or prolonged moisture

For more information, visit

Know Your Options

Modern Homes

Treated lumber presents a variety of options. There are different preservatives used for treatment, and at varying levels. The most common preservatives are copper-based and help the wood resist insect and termite infestation as well as rot and decay. ProWood treated lumber uses an advanced treatment preservative called MCA (Micronized Copper Azole). Some manufacturers offer options that add additional value to the treated lumber:

  • Color-treated lumber is a great option in markets that want the natural look and beauty of cedar or redwood, but desire the lasting benefits of pressure-treated Southern Yellow Pine. ProWood® Dura Color® is a great choice as the color is infused throughout the board during treatment. Visit to learn more, or order a sample.
  • KDAT Lumber (Kiln-Dried After Treatment) is lighter than standard pressure-treated lumber, less likely to warp or twist, and allows builders to measure, cut and build more accurately.
  • If environmental certifications are desired, ProWood treated lumber is SCS Certified as “Environmentally Preferable” – Scientific Certification Systems Inc. is a highly credible environmental certification organization.

Research Code Compliance and Warranties Carefully

Treated-lumber should be treated to a reputable standard and also be inspected by a third party.  The combination of these two elements indicates building code compliance. Dealers can easily find this information on the lumber end tag. Having a third party inspect boards at random is more credible than an inspection done by the manufacturer, and is required as part of building code compliance. ProWood treated lumber is treated to standard and meticulously inspected by third party to ensure code compliance.
Many manufacturers will offer a lifetime limited warranty on treated lumber. However, it is important for dealers to understand the details of those warranties – especially the definition of the term “limited”. Some may only warrant treated lumber used in “Above Ground/Light Duty” applications. Some warranties may not cover treated lumber that has been custom cut to make stair stringers. Dealers are encouraged to research the best warranties to ensure their customers are getting the best quality and protection. For information about the Lifetime Limited Warranty offered by ProWood, visit

Work with a Trusted Partner

Deck Spaces

Dealers need a trusted partner to help them win.  It’s not just about product – it’s about product, service, expertise and relationships.  It’s about deliveries being on time – every time.  It’s about selection and options.  It’s about marketing support to help educate customers and drive sales. It’s about experienced representatives that go the extra mile.  It’s about manufacturers who stand behind their product and believe they only win when their dealers win. Nobody does treated lumber better than ProWood. It’s what they mean when they say “Never Settle”.

With pressure-treated lumber remaining the dominant material used for decks, it’s important for dealers to be educated about the differences in treated lumber – both for deciding which treated lumber to stock, and to be a source of education and guidance for homeowners, DIYers and building professionals alike. The right treated lumber used in the appropriate application will result in a beautiful, safe deck or outdoor structure that will last for years.

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