Quality is a top priority. Build above the minimum standard.

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When choosing materials for deck construction, it is imperative to understand the difference between Above Ground pressure treated wood versus Ground Contact pressure treated wood. The American Wood Protection Association updated their standards in 2016 to state that some physically above the ground locations require Ground Contact treatment.

One of the requirements states: “Materials used above ground but are difficult to maintain, repair or replace and are critical to the performance and safety of the entire system” should be treated to ground contact retentions. Deck joists and beams ARE difficult to repair or replace and are absolutely critical to the safety of the structure. For this reason, joists and beams should always be treated to Ground Contact retention, regardless of warranties offered that state otherwise. In order to be building code compliant, AWPA standards must be followed, regardless of the material warranty offered.

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  1. Quality is a top priority in the treated lumber industry and one important aspect of quality is choosing the right product so that it meets the performance requirements for the intended use. When installers choose their treated lumber materials, they have choices, but those choices must meet the building code requirements, and the treated wood standards set by the AWPA. These standards ensure preserved wood will perform for a given application, considering site conditions, end use, or other factors that may impact the performance of the project. All joists and beams do not have to be treated to Ground Contact retentions.

    The infographic published by WWPI and Wood Naturally entitled Select the Right Preserved Wood for Your Project, states that “Above Ground components that may be required to be preserved for Ground Contact include joists and beams that are difficult to replace and critical to the structure or components that may be exposed to ground contact type hazards due to climate, artificial or natural processes or construction.” The WWPI version of the infographic further explains, “Regardless of whether you use or specify Above Ground (UC3B) or Ground Contact (UC4A) preserved wood, choose the right level of protection based on the AWPA Standards, your experience and your project circumstances.”

    On deck projects, many of the treated wood components are critical to the structure, but the level of difficulty in replacing components is dependent on the installer’s ability and experience. Above Ground treated lumber may be used for joists and beams in the most commonly built deck structures. Above Ground (UC3B) retentions for these applications meet AWPA standards which are referenced in the IBC and IRC building codes. Installers should always use the right product for the right application. There is no valid reason to charge the homeowner more for added chemicals that do not add performance benefits for the project use.

    Viance® Ecolife® treated wood products are formulated for Above Ground use with the right amount of preservatives to protect against decay and termite attack. EcoLife is backed by a Lifetime Limited Warranty, that includes coverage for joists and beams. Ecolife’s built-in stabilizer also reduces cracking, keeping boards straighter for maximum weathering protection that Ground Contact products without a stabilizing additive do not provide.

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