If you live in Colorado, using pressure treated wood is a big mistake!
Pressure treated wood is sought after by many homeowners looking to build a deck, fence, or even use it for the framing of their home if building one. But in Colorado, this would be a mistake. Your first thought is probably- “What?Why? I thought pressure treated wood was supposed to be better”.
There are a lot of great things about pressure treated wood, but it wasn’t meant to be used across all states in the U.S. To explain this, we must first look at why pressure treated wood is so sought after in the first place.
Why/ where pressure treated wood is great:
As you may know, wood often rots when it is continually wet. The process of pressure treating lumber came to be needed in many areas on the east coast, and especially in the south, where it is more humid. Or even the pacific northwest where they receive a lot of rain.
By soaking the materials, they are able to treat the wood to withstand the constant moisture, helping it to last longer and avoid rot.
Why pressure treated wood doesn’t last long in Colorado
Colorado is known for it’s elevation- Denver is the mile high city, after all. With this elevation comes dry air, and a surprising amount of heat in the summer. Even humans at this elevation have a hard time staying hydrated, so when you have wood that is treated by soaking it… well you can imagine what happens. The moisture kept within that wood is sucked right out of it.
This often leads to cracking, even complete splitting of the boards, as well as warping.
There is no protection against UV rays with pressure treated wood. The elevation in Colorado means we are slightly closer to the sun. I know it may seem minute, just a mile closer to the ozone layer that protects our Earth from turning to ash (very grim thought, indeed- we should really appreciate our ozone)- but it makes a big difference. In other words, the UV rays here are strong.
Another thing that you’ve no doubt noticed, is the constant freezing and thawing. During winter we may get a severe snow storm that lasts a day or weekend, but usually by the next day all the roads are completely dry, and even the grass may be clear. This can take a great toll on your deck if you have pressure treated wood.
I know what you’re asking yourself… but wouldn’t that also be true for traditional lumber?
Well, no. Wood that is from similar climates would be a great choice if you don’t trust other woods because of where and how they were raised (shame on you-gasp!).
Really, there are plenty of traditional woods that thrive in Colorado. Cedar is one of the most popularly chosen. It is affordable, durable, and will last for several decades. Hardwoods like Tigerwood or Mahogany are an even better choice, because they are a harder wood. This means they tend to withstand the elements a little better than other woods. It also means less maintenance.
The point in telling you that pressure treated wood is a bad choice in Colorado, is because out of all decking materials, pressure treated will have the shortest life. Here using traditional wood such as cedar for a deck, can last about 20-25 years. Hardwoods like Tigerwood can generally last around 30 years. But pressure treated decks here only last about 2 before they start needing excessive maintenance or replacement.
Enjoy your deck longer by choosing the right material for the area you live.