Choosing the correct wood for your outdoor project

Choosing the correct wood for your outdoor project, by: Lonza Wood Protection

This past year the wood preserving industry took a bold stance on quality when the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) voted to require higher amounts of preservative for wood used in many applications. The AWPA, an organization comprised of individuals from all facets of the wood protection industry that sets standards for wood preservation and treated wood, updated its standards to require wood treated to Ground Contact retentions be used in many physically above-ground applications, including when:

  • soil or other debris may build up and stay in contact with the wood
  • insufficient ventilation does not allow air circulation around wood
  • material is installed <6 inches above the ground on permeable building materials
  • material is installed in contact with non-durable untreated or older construction with evidence of decay
  • wood is subject to frequent or recurring wetting
  • located in tropical climates
  • the wood is both:

— difficult to maintain, repair or replace and

— critical to the performance and safety of the entire system

Building codes require that preserved wood comply with these standards and the installer must decide if these conditions are present, select, and install the correct material for the project.  The wood preserving industry and many retailers have helped implement these standards by switching inventories of lumber in sizes commonly used for structural parts of decks to Ground Contact retentions. Some retailers have switched all lumber, including decking and railing, to Ground Contact retentions. These changes benefit builders and consumers by removing the guesswork from the decision process. Buyers can focus on their project rather than deciding if they need to purchase Ground Contact wood.

“It is important,” says, Jay Hilsenbeck, chemist and residential product specialist from Lonza Wood Protection, “to educate builders, contractors, and DIYers so they know what wood to choose for their project. During Deck Safety Month® we focus on deck inspections, but we should also focus on quality and proper construction practices before construction begins. The builder should consider the deck surroundings. For a deck built close to the ground, for example, Ground Contact retentions would be required under the new AWPA guidelines.”

The contractor should also consider what parts of the deck (joists, beams, ledger boards, posts) are important to sustain the structure and are more expensive or time-consuming to repair after the project is complete. The contractor and homeowner should work together to discuss the environmental conditions such as if the deck will be subject to constant wetting from a pool or sprinklers or if there will be debris build-up.

With that knowledge, contractors and homeowners can have peace-of-mind that they have chosen the appropriate preserved wood for the project. Contractors can offer their clients the confidence that they are providing a durable outdoor living space for their homeowner clients to enjoy for many years.

Each May, during Deck Safety Month®, homeowners can focus on evaluating the items in the deck safety checklist, knowing their deck was built using the right preserved wood.

Learn more

 

Viance’s, Chris Kollwitz talks about AWPA Modifications

We wanted to thank the entire NADRA organization for the opportunity to meet with some of the leading deck builders in the industry, at NADRA’s regional meeting in Atlanta.

As beautiful custom wood framed decks and outdoor projects are constructed by NADRA members, they should be guided by the latest, most accurate information available.

Recent updates to the 2016 American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) Use Category System for treated wood, which include modifications to the section that outlines proper applications of Above Ground (UC3B) and Ground Contact (UC4A) treated wood, are causing some confusion in the industry.

Unfortunately, some retailers and wood treatment companies have misinterpreted the language to mean that only ground contact lumber meets the updated AWPA Use Category System standard for deck framing applications. That is not the case.

When it comes to residential decks projects, here’s what you need to know.

  • Despite what some in the industry are communicating, the AWPA U1 Use Category System (UCS), and the IRC® and IBC® building codes continue to allow Above Ground (UC3B) treated wood for common deck applications.
  • There is NO requirement to use Ground Contact materials for ALL Above Ground decks.
  • Above Ground (UC3B) wood treated under the AWPA U1 standards remains Code Compliant for deck framing, joists, beams, decking surfaces and railing systems, while using the appropriate amount of preservatives required to protect the wood from decay and termite attack.
  • Look for the CheckMark® on treated wood end tags. Only wood treated to the AWPA standards is third-party inspected and bears the CheckMark® of quality on end tags. Be sure to use products endorsed with the CheckMark logo.
  • Viance has reaffirmed its warranty coverage on treated wood products, and will continue to extend the terms of its Lifetime Limited Warranty for Above Ground (UC3B) treated wood products when used properly.
  • The preservative levels required to meet the AWPA UC4A ground contact standard not only increases the likelihood of higher project expense through more expensive wood, it also increases the chemical needed to complete projects. Above ground treated wood remains code compliant for most common decking applications while using the appropriate amount of preservative to ensure performance. Why use more chemicals than necessary?

To learn more about the revisions to the AWPA-UCS standard and why Above Ground treatments are still the best choice in treated wood, visit www.treatedwood.com/options. Viance is an ICC Preferred Education Provider and offers an accredited Continuing Education Course (CEU) course: Code Compliant Treated Wood for Residential Deck Construction

We are happy to review any questions you may have, email them to codequestions@viance.net.

Thank you

Chris Kollwitz

Christopher Kollwitz

Viance – Treated Wood Solutions

Director of Marketing

NADRA member since 2009

Contact Info:

Email: ckollwitz@viance.net

Office: 800-421-8661

 Over 30 Years Building Products Sales and Marketing with a focus on process improvement, product training, merchandising, events and business development programs.

  • 8 Years with Hechinger Co. in Washington DC
  • 14 years with Georgia-Pacific Building Products
  • 8 years with Viance – Treated Wood Solutions.
  • Currently responsible for the development and management of Viance marketing initiatives and execution.