Does Pressure Treated Wood Rot?

Does pressure treated wood rot when you use it on the exterior without further protective treatment? Yes, it will definitely rot! So what is wood rot?

Wood rot, which is also referred to as wood decay, is the decomposition of wood due to actions by a specific family of fungi.

These microorganisms eat away wood, weakening the structures, resulting in fatal collapsing of buildings and other wooden structures.

Pressure treated wood contains chemicals that repel insects such as termites; hence are safe to use underground. My focus today, however, is to answer the question, does pressure treated wood rot?

Yes, pressure treated wood will rot especially if it is in contact with the ground without any form of protective treatment!

Using a wrong grade of pressure treated wood is also a  contributing factor in it’s rotting

Pressure treated wood is not 100% water-resistant and thus does not last forever.

Anytime the material bends, cracks, or moves, water can enter and lead to rot.

Consider picking the recommended wood grade for your project and keep water away.

If you want your treated wood to last for years when used in the outdoor environment, ensure that you protect it with outdoor furniture stains.

Why is staining so important, especially for exterior structures?

With no sealant, treated lumber will absorb water and lose moisture; this cycle makes the wood swell and shrink, warp, bend, and crack. After some time, it will start coming apart.

read this guide for more insight on pressure treated wood and how to handle it for maximum benefit.

What Is Pressure Treated Wood?

Image of pressure Treated Wood. So which one in the Yellawood vs Pressure Treated option?Pressure treated wood is lumber infused with chemicals under pressure. Besides, the lumber’s name tells a lot about its nature and manufacturing process. 

People treated wood with preservatives for years to enhance its longevity and rot resistance. 

The same concept applies to pressure treated lumber. But manufacturers conduct the treatment in a pressure vacuum to enforce the chemicals into the wood pores.

The chemicals used for pressure treated wood include chromium, arsenic, and copper. They make the wood less susceptible to insect infestation, mold, decay, and water damage. 

Further, some treatments make the lumber fire retardant.

To make pressure treated wood, place the lumber in a pressure chamber with a horizontal steel cylinder called a ‘retort.

This equipment resembles a rail car, thus its name.

The process creates a vacuum, eliminating air from the cylinder and the wood’s cell structure.

Next, flood the retort with treatment chemicals under pressure. Usually, use 160 pounds of pressure to drive the compounds into the wood’s structure.

Once the treatment is complete, the wood moves to a drip pad for curing.

The time taken for drying depends on sunlight exposure and climate. But ensure the lumber dries to the touch before shipping.

We have various types of pressure treated wood as it comes in a wide size and application range. Moreover, knowing these categories is essential and helps select the right one for your work.

Check out the list below to save you money and headaches later on.

  • Exterior Fire-X™ (XFX) Lumber & Plywood

This wood is a pressure-impregnated fire retardant material. It delivers comprehensive fire protection for applications exposed to hot outside weather.

In addition, you can use this wood in humid environments. Therefore, it is perfect for indoor and outdoor tasks.

The lumber also offers wood workability with fire-safety benefits of non-combustible compounds.

  • Exterior Fire-X™ BLUE Lumber & Plywood

The product is color-coded with a pressure-applied blue stain for easy identification. It has the same fire performance attributes as Exterior Fire-X™.

Government agencies widely recommend the product for ship-building industries and nuclear construction.

  • Copper Azole (CA) Treated Lumber

This product is pressure treated wood featuring a copper-based preservative. It also features long-lasting resistance to rot, decay, and insects.

  • CCA Rot & Decay Resistant-Treated Plywood

The wood offers long-term resistance against insects, decay, and rot. 

In addition, chromate copper arsenate (CCA) is a water-based wood chemical that has been in use since the mid-1930s. 

Also, thanks to the green tint it gives plywood, you can instantly recognize it.

Health enthusiasts have raised questions about the safety of exposure to these preservatives. 

But studies by the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that the chemicals, most notable arsenic, do not leach the soil.

Besides independent laboratory studies do not associate CAA-treated wood with cancer risk.

Nonetheless, consider adhering to recommended safety procedures when using the lumber frequently.

  • PYRO-GUARD® Products

This wood is fire-retardant-treated lumber and plywood. Manufacturers produce it per quality control policies and procedures mandated by the International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES).

  • Micro-Guard™ Lumber & Plywood

This pressure treated material protects against fungal decay, termites, and corrosion.

Also, the manufacturer treats the wood after Kiln drying to ensure workable moisture levels.

Furthermore, Kiln Dried After Treatment (KDAT) prevents moisture-related issues like lumber warping, twisting, crowning, and buckling in installed plywood projects.

We also have other ways to categorize pressure treated wood. The types are borate, alkaline copper quaternary, and non-combustible.

  • Borate products mainly consist of water-based mineral salt solutions. The salts retain the wood’s color and protect it against mildew, mold, insects, and fungi.

However, constantly wet conditions eventually wash away the treatment. Thus, the wood becomes vulnerable to the surrounding environment.

  • Alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) wood comprises an eco-friendly solution containing ammonium alkyl and copper.

The product is safe and effective, but please avoid food or animal feed contact. Also, it changes the lumber’s color.

  • Non-combustible wood is another pressure treated material. However, it is less applicable for residential tasks.

Pressure treated wood has tags or marks indicating suitable projects for its use. In addition, you can also assess the lumber’s appearance for grading.

For instance, wood with fewer knots and other cosmetic blemishes is a higher grade and costs more.

Lumber treated with water-borne chemicals like CCA is ideal for general residential outdoor and indoor use.

Moreover, you can use it in decks, docks, genes, and building structures.

On the other hand, wood treated with creosote preservatives is perfect for the heavy construction of guardrails, bridges, and docks.

In addition, oil-based chemicals treat lumber used in utility poles, indoor pools, and cross-arms.

Another essential consideration when choosing the pressure treated wood type for your project is whether you will use it for above-ground or ground contact applications.

The lumber should be at least six inches from the ground when working on above-ground tasks.

Also, ensure proper ventilation for your safety and drainage for a long-lasting outcome.

Conversely, you need wood made to withstand moisture for ground contact projects.

Such material has twice the chemical retention and protection level compared to above-ground treated products.

Use the lumber when the project is less than six inches from the ground.

Also, it comes in handy in poorly ventilated areas and projects where it is demanding to replace or maintain the wood.

Please note that pressure treated wood has specific uses and is not ideal for all applications.

Besides, lumber has a high copper content and is resistant to insects and rot. But it is not an all-purpose building material.

For example, spruce, fir, and pine framing wood encapsulated behind siding and sheathing are more suitable for interior work.

They are also less pricey, making projects affordable to homeowners.

Also, the preservatives in treated wood are corrosive to untreated steel. Therefore, you need more expensive galvanized fasteners.

Treating wood causes it to swell with moisture. Hence, the 2×4 pressure-treated boards are significantly larger than the standard 1.5-inch by 3.5-inch dimensions.

Moreover, moisture leaches out and causes a few issues as the wood dries.

For instance, the lumber may warp and shrink as moisture leaves, making it unfit for fine woodworking applications.

These chemicals also leach from the lumber over time and penetrate the surrounding soil or water.

In addition, although the consensus suggests that today’s pressure treated wood is safe for raised garden beds, organic growers disagree.

Further, pressure treated wood is not appropriate for marine projects such as piers and docks. Leached copper is terrible for aquatic life.

Chemicals in treated lumber protect the material from insects. However, they do not kill the bugs but repel them.

Therefore, termites, carpenter bees, ants, and other wood-gnawing organisms will not take your structure to an early grave.

Nonetheless, pesticides are problematic for users, especially for parents. Most caregivers express concern about using treated lumber for playground structures.

Generally speaking, arsenic-free pressure treated lumber is safe for children in a play environment.

But some guidelines will warn against having them around sawdust from construction.

Pressure treated decking lasts up to ten years, whereas poles will hold up for 40 years.

Also, whether you use the wood for above-ground or ground contact applications affects its lifespan.

Above-ground wood works well for pressure treated deck boards, railings, framing lumber, and fence slats. 

Most of these projects do not need the material to touch the ground. So, you can expect it to last around ten years with sealing and proper care.

Oppositely, ground contact lumber is ideal for posts and framing. In addition, they need a more significant pressure treatment amount. Thus, the wood can last up to 40 years.

Although pressure treated lumber is entirely safe, wear a mask when cutting, drilling, or sanding it.

Besides, this wood was previously not the safest material to use. But the EPA banned arsenic compounds in the treatment process, making the product safer.

Nevertheless, it is prudent for DIYers to adhere to some precautions, like wearing a mask.

Also, please avoid cutting the lumber indoors or consider working in a well-ventilated workstation.

Lastly, take any scrap wood to the dump after a project. Otherwise, burning pressure treated materials will vaporize the chemicals.

These compounds hitch microscopic rides on smoke particles into your nose, lungs, mouth, and eyes.

What Makes Pressure Treated Wood Rot?

Pressure treated lumber rots because of water damage and fungal attacks. Further, fungi spores and moisture are a lethal combination for your wood.

Fungi and fungi spores are everywhere. They feast on moist and easy-to-eat lumber, causing wood decay and rot.

Let’s look at these causes deeper.

  • Water Damage

Water penetrating a lumber structure never ends well. Moreover, wood with high moisture content is more susceptible to decay.

In addition, water provides a microorganism-friendly habitat, as they rarely grow in dry areas.

You can seal the wood pores during the treatment process. But cracks and bends give water an avenue to get into the lumber, as seen in cupped decks.

Further, the pressure treatment only makes the wood resistant to fungi, not moisture, 

This fact often surprises many woodworkers. Besides, they assume that the manufacturer designs the lumber for outdoor work. So, shouldn’t it be fully protected?

Well, pooling or trapping in water causes treated lumber to rot.

  • Trapped Water

We have multiple scenarios resulting in trapping water on or around your deck. First, it’s under the structure.

Water runs off the decking and settles under it. Also, you may have water trapped in the deck. 

Please note that may not be apparent but is still critical. So, do an in-depth assessment of the wood’s dryness.

Consider wood sandwiched together like the ledger against the house wall or the deck beam.

It is easy to find trapped water beside the wood, with nothing to do but rot it.

A solution for the above issues is using a wide joist membrane on multiple framing members.

In addition, deck flashing is a critical part, requiring maximum protection. The beam dries with air movement, but the ledger tight against the structure does not.

Therefore, stop water from getting behind the ledger. Otherwise, it will rot the entire structure.

Deck ledger spacers will also help the situation. They allow water to drain and air to dry out the lumber. Thus, you can use them when working in a high rain region.

You may find trapped water against the rim joist with a side attached to the wood railing.

Besides, it is apparent when you pull the railing and discover that the covered trim section is rotting.

Here, please avoid installing the wood tight to the edges of the joists. Or consider a top-mounted deck railing.

Sometimes, you can trap water with paint. We paint surfaces to protect them from harmful elements.

But this exercise creates a film over the lumber, trapping moisture.

It would not matter if the finish seals the wood 100%, but it never does.

In addition, the thin film prevents moisture from evaporating from the lumber. Hence, the wood rots eventually.

The remedy is to stain pressure treated lumber instead of painting. Further, stain protects the wood against UV rays damage and still allows it to breathe and dry.

  • Pooling Water

Wood sitting in water will rot within no time. Further, water can easily pool on concrete, causing rot for posts or beams sitting directly on it.

Fortunately, you are not all hopeless. A sloped deck helps prevent water pooling on the decking.

Also, consider sloping the deck an eighth or a quarter inch over a foot. Or get a post saddle to raise the lumber out of the water and keep it dry.

  • Fungal and Microbial Infestation

Microorganisms, like constructors and builders, love wood. Moreover, bacteria and fungi are the most common culprits of microbial wood infestation.

These organisms grow in moist surroundings. Thus, wet lumber is the perfect breeding ground.

Furthermore, microorganisms multiply rapidly and constantly eat up the wood. Eventually, the structure softens and decays, causing rot.

Unfortunately, the only factor under your control is the moisture around the deck.

Besides, fungi spores are everywhere and always looking out for suitable habitats.

However, fungi do not grow as well on dry wood. Therefore, keeping the material dry suffices in preserving the wood.

  • Cutting or Fastening the Wood

Cutting or fastening pressure treated wood exposes it to elements. So, the wood will be susceptible to rot regardless of the preservatives.

First, treat every cut when building a deck. In addition, it only takes a few extra minutes to cover every cut. But you will add years to your structure’s life.

Fasteners like nails and screws damage the wood in two ways.

Face screwing decking results in little water and dirt pools on the wood. Fortunately, you can remedy this issue by installing the screws on the decking’s edge.

Similarly, penetrating treated wood channels water and rot into the joists.

It does not matter whether you face or edge screw, as the fasteners will create water penetration channels.

Protect the wood and seal any holes with a joist membrane. The material shelters the lumber and prevents rain from soaking it.

In addition, it seals around the screws, preventing future water penetration.

  • Chemicals Reactions

Pressure treated wood depends on chemicals to resist rot and last long. However, these preservatives still undergo reactions with galvanic screws and nails.

Therefore, you observe a unique rot situation, galvanic rot.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect or solve galvanic rotted lumber. And you need to replace the fasteners to correct the problem.

  • Poor Wood Treatment

Pressure treated lumber rots because of poor treatment. Therefore, it cannot resist harmful elements.

We have two causes of poor wood treatment: Contact with dirt and ultraviolet sun damage.

  • Contact With Dirt

The wood used in ground contact applications needs a higher treatment level than above-ground lumber.

Moreover, you need twice as much chemical treatment.

So, consider wood treated for ground contact when building within six inches from the ground.

All outdoor treated lumber resists fungi, but the air has a higher fungi concentration in the dirt than in the air. Hence, you need a higher level of resistance and protection.

Sometimes, dirt can get on a raised deck and rot the wood. It mainly collects in the gaps between the decking on the joist.

In addition, the dirt and crud harbor fungi spores and water, a perfect environment for rot.

Fortunately, you can consider spring and fall cleaning the deck to extend its life. Pay attention to the deck boards’ gaps to ensure a thorough clean-up.

Also, you can use joist membrane tape under the decking. It protects the wood from water and fungi, reducing rot.

  • Ultraviolet Rays Damage

Generally, UV weathering is initiated by the ultraviolet solar spectrum portion. It causes wood degradation, and pressure treatment is not an exception.

Water is still the old wood enemy. But degenerated lumber will crack and eventually become weak.

In addition, these cracks collect both water and dirt, causing wood rot.

Deal with the above issue by regularly staining the lumber. Besides, quality wood stains do more than enhance the surface’s color and appearance.

The finish contains pigments protecting the lumber against UV damage. Further, instead of the rays damaging the wood fibers, the stain absorbs them.

Also, the formula protects the material against rain. It locks out moisture that rots the wood, adding longevity to the structure.

How To Stain Pressure Treated Wood and Prevent It From Rotting

Staining pressure treated wood is not as complicated as you might have thought.

Once you have all the materials that you need for the project, you will find it a walk in the park.

Here are some of the essential materials to get you set for staining:

Tools– Scrubbing Brushes, Paint Mixer, Paint Brushes, Power Washer

Formula-Deck Stain/Sealer

  • Step One: Ready Your Formula/Stain

You can decide to go to your local shop or order the stain that you are going to use for your project online.

Just ensure that by the time you commence your project, you have the formula ready.

There are so many formulas that you can use for staining.

For example, a transparent deck stain has no color; the semi transparent deck stains have a bit more pigmentation that will give a bit of color to your structure.

If your structure is new and just been installed recently, I’d advise you to use a lighter-colored stain.

With that, you get the flexibility of applying darker colors later.

A darker stain is the best one if you are working with old pressure treated wood because it helps hide the imperfections on the surface.

In cases your deck is located in quite an open space where it receives direct sunlight for most of the day.

I’d recommend that you go for a stain with light colors to help reflect the excess heat away.

Using dark stain in such cases will only absorb more heat, making it uncomfortable to walk over the deck with bare feet.

  • Step Two: Clean The Pressure Treated Wood/Deck

Unless your wood is new, ensure that you wash it thoroughly.

Cleaning helps keep the surface free of dirt, molds, and mildew so that you apply your finish on a clean surface with no contaminants.

Once you have washed the wood, give it enough time to dry before going on with the subsequent steps.

NOTE: After applying the deck cleaner, ensure that you give it at least 10 minutes to soak into the wood so that it can react to remove all the stains and dirt present on the surface.

Finish off by rinsing your deck using the pressure washer.

Ensure that you are working with a pressure of about 1200 PSI to avoid destroying your deck. Allow the deck up to 24 hours of drying time.

  • Step Three: Preparation to Stain Your Pressure Treated Wood

Here are some of the key things that you need to know, even as you prepare to stain your deck.

Do not apply your stain in direct sunlight as it will result in stain drying before absorbing into the wood.

Protect all the vegetation and structures around your working area so that stain does not sprinkle on them. You can use painter’s tape to cover and protect them. 

  • Step Four: Apply the Stain

With your paintbrush, stain all the areas between cracks. Ensure that you apply 1-2 coats of your deck stain. Usually, one layer is enough to do the job just the right way. 

If you are staining pressure treated fence posts, ensure that you start the application from the top working your way down, this applies to all vertical surfaces.

Watch the video below on how to stain treated wood:


How to Prevent Pressure Treated Wood Rot

Pressure treated wood will eventually meet the fate of all lumber -rot- when storage conditions are not optimal.

However, you can prevent wood rot, or at least retard it to the barest minimum. Below are a few strategies to consider.

1. Seal the Wood

Sealers seal the lumber’s surface and provide an extra protection layer. They include stains, sealants, oils, varnishes, and paints.

The formula improves the wood’s longevity and durability. Even better, you can find sealers made explicitly for pressure treated lumber.

The good news is that the product is readily available at local lumber hardware stores. Also, it comes at a low price, so you save money.

The bad news is that protection is not absolute. Thus, you must reapply the sealers when they wear off to keep the wood safe.

Besides, some formulas need more frequent reapplication than others.

For example, sealants protecting pressure treated wood from moisture require annual reapplication.

You can get longer-lasting products but at a higher cost.

And here are some guidelines when sealing pressure treated lumber

  • Get the Best Time to Seal the Wood

First, ensure the lumber is completely dry before applying the finish. In addition, you may need to wait months for the structure to dry in some instances.

Your instinct may be to seal a deck right away. But timing is everything when enhancing the wood’s performance.

A newly built deck comprising pressure-treated lumber needs time to dry before sealer application.

The chemicals in the wood leave moisture behind. Therefore, the wood can take a few weeks to months, depending on the climate.

Thankfully, the bead text is a simple way to confirm the wood is ready for sealing.

Splash a few water beads on the deck boards and check if they bead up. You are good to go if the lumber absorbs the moisture.

On the other hand, consider waiting some more when the water beads on the surface.

The same procedure applies when recoating, emphasizing letting the lumber dry before applying a sealer.

Interestingly, we have some effective products still effective on wet surfaces. However, please note that letting pressure treated wood dry is critical for most sealers. 

  • Choose a Suitable Sealant

Consider a clear or semi-transparent oil-based finish wood with an appealing natural color and grain pattern.

Conversely, get a combination of stain and sealant if you want to change or alter the deck’s color.

However, it is advisable to avoid sealing already stained, pressured-treated wood is advisable. 

  • Prepare the Wood

Ensure the lumber is clear of debris before you start. In addition, use a pressure washer to remove build-up dirt on an older deck.

This way, you will facilitate better sealer adhesion and a smoother finish.

  • Apply the Sealer 

Start by applying a minimal sealant to an inconspicuous area to ensure it adheres to the lumber.

Moreover, you can confirm if you like how the finish looks before spending hours on the project. 

Proceed to apply the entire surface with a paint pad applicator or preferred accessory.

A pad applicator is faster than using a brush. Further, it will deliver a more uniform appearance with one coat.

But you can still use a clean, synthetic bristle paintbrush. Only use thin, multiple coats and work along long brush strokes against the grain.

Also, pay close attention to the wood ends. They are an easy channel for moisture and insects to get into the lumber.

On the other hand, some sealers require pressure spraying. So, ensure that the pressure is not too high lest you compromise the wood’s integrity.

In addition, brush out the wet coating after spraying.

Sprinkle some water on the surface after sealing. This way, you can see how fast the wood absorbs moisture.

Consider recoating the wood if the absorption rate is quite fast.

  • Let the Finish Dry 

Most sealers for pressure treated wood need 24 to 48 hours to dry to the touch. However, this duration lengthens or shortens depending on existing environmental conditions.

Therefore, check the weather forecast and choose a calm day for your project.

2. Apply UV Stabilizers

Like natural lumber, pressure-treated wood is not resistant to ultraviolet rays. Therefore, it is prudent to apply UV stabilizers.

In addition, these products impart UV resistance attributes to lumber preservation coatings and finishes.

UV light also alters the treated wood’s appearance. So, consider using finishes and coatings with UV stabilizers.

3. Use Mildewcides

Mildew is a fungi type, and it is wise to prevent them from growing on your wood. Fortunately, cleaning the wood with mildewcides is enough to do the job.

Moreover, most commercial cleaners in hardware stores kill mildew.

Let the pressure treated wood with mildewcides dry to the touch before coating. This way, you facilitate a better result.

4. Inspect the Wood Frequently

Frequently inspecting pressure treated lumber in itself will not prevent rot.

However, it will let you know when the material is already or about to start decaying.

The exercise also guides you on when to reapply finishes and coatings, especially with sealants requiring periodic reapplication.

Sometimes, wood rot is not so apparent to your naked eye. Thus, actively look for wood rot when doing an annual inspection.

Use your fingers to press on the surface if you suspect a spot might be rotting. In addition, something is going on if it feels soft or crumbles easily to the touch.

Some typical spots to inspect include where two trim pieces meet and on deck support beams, posts, or exterior wood stairs.

Also, check out surfaces like railings and exterior window sills and where wood siding meets the trim.

How to Dispose Of Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure treatment requires high pressure forcing preservatives into the wood to prevent decay. Thus, it is prudent to be careful when handling or disposing of the material.

Under no condition should you burn the treated lumber!

The exercise will heat the chemicals, releasing them as toxic fumes. Thus, don’t even think of it.

In addition, you need sufficient protection when working with pressure treated lumber.

State statute prohibits the open burning of treated wood. And the exercise only happens at town transfer stations, by permit.

Consider disposing of pressure treated lumber as follows:

  • Take the wood to your local transfer station or landfill and place it in the designated location.

Utilities, contractors, and manufacturers should directly contract with a DEEP permitted bulky waste landfill or send the wood to an out-of-state wood burner facility.

  • Do not compost chips, sawdust, and small wood scraps.
  • Avoid specifying or using CCA-treated lumber. In addition, use construction details and minimize wood use in locations with a high insect and rot infestation likelihood.
  • Consider one of the newer, copper-based products like ACQ Preserve when working in damp or insect-infested areas.
  • Alternatively, use naturally rot-resistant wood like cedar from certified, well-managed forests.
  • Also, avoid rot-resistant lumber from domestic old-growth or tropical rain forests.

How Long Will a Pressure Treated Deck Last?

A pressure treated deck can last around 50 years with good maintenance.

Further, sealing the surface will protect it from moisture and UV rays damage, increasing its lifespan.

However, treated wood types are different; some last longer than others. For instance, deck floors and boards last for about ten years.

On the other hand, fences and poles can go up to 40 years with regular maintenance.

In addition, wood exposed to high humidity has a shorter lifespan than structures in dryer conditions.

Lastly, the climate, coatings, and deck type determine how long pressure treated wood lasts.

What Lasts Longer Cedar or Pressure Treated Wood?

Pressure treated lumber is sturdier and more weatherproof than cedar. Thus, it delivers longer-lasting projects.

The wood is insect attract and rot-resistant. Moreover, you’ll get unique versions rated for ground contact.

So, you can bury the lumber in the ground and expect it to shrug off decay for decades.

Oppositely, cedar cannot withstand direct contact applications, whether set in concrete or with the ground. It only lasts a short while and eventually rots and deteriorates.

Can You Leave Pressure Treated Wood Unstained?

Unfortunately, leaving pressure treated wood without a topcoat exposes it to wear and tear. Besides, the wood deteriorates faster without a protective layer.

The top wood layers oxidize from rain and sun, causing graying. You will also observe warping, cracking, splintering, and rotting.

Pressure treated wood can hold up against the sun, snow, rain, and wind for a while before breaking down.

In addition, it may take a few years for an untreated deck to be completely unusable.

However, properly seal pressure treated deck boards and maintain them with an annual maintenance program.

This way, your deck will outlive one left to its own devices by a significant margin.

Frequently Asked Questions

These questions include:

  • How Do I Check for Rot in Pressure Treated Wood?

The best strategy is to use your hands to feel the wood. Look out for any soft areas or spots crumbling quickly under pressure.

Further, the most sensitive areas to rot and decay are the beams and support, the base of wood stairs, and areas with two pressure treated trims.

Pay extra attention to them during your assessment.

  • When Can I Use Pressure Treated Wood?

Woodworkers prefer pressure treated wood due to its improved resistance to rot and longer lifespan.

Besides, the lumber works excellently for outdoor projects, thanks to its higher moisture and insect damage probability.

Nonetheless, woods like redwood and cedar are insect repellent. Therefore, pressure treated lumber may not be necessary in such cases. 

  • Do I Need to Seal Pressure Treated Wood?

Sealing pressure treated lumber lengthens the material’s life cycle. Besides, the wood will still rot after some years despite being more resistant.

Fortunately, you can keep the treated wood from rotting with stains, paints, waxes, and sealants.

Also, conduct periodic wood inspections to ensure the finish is intact.

  • Is Pressure Treated Lumber Safe?

Pressure treated wood is safe to a certain degree. Moreover, health hazards arise when you try to break it apart or burn it without adequate protection.

Please note that burning treated lumber releases toxic fumes in the air. Thus, the exercise poses a safety threat to the environment.

Lastly, please refrain from using pressure treated wood on kitchen cutting boards.

  • Can I Pressure Treat Wood Myself?

Pressure treatment is not an easy process. It requires a depressurized holding tank and high technical skills to deliver a successful outcome.

So, it is almost impossible to carry out the process alone, even if you get the necessary equipment.

In addition, the preservatives used are hazardous, and ingestion, even in small quantities, can lead to serious health complications.


Pressure treatment of wood is one great way of protecting wood against destructive insects that contributes towards rotting.

However, this is not enough. If your structure is created using treated timber and is in the outdoor environment, it adds protection by staining and sealing. So…

Does Pressure Treated Wood Rot?

It’s clear from the information in the article that treated wood does rot over time.

As a structure owner, it’s your responsibility to maintain your structure, a move that can determine how long your treated wood lasts before starting to rot.   

Several preservative measures can help slow down the rate at which your treated wood rot.

They include painting, staining, and the use of sealants. Ensure that you paint or stain your wood after it’s fully dry.

Also, prevent the cracks on your treated wood from coming into contact with water. You can do this through painting.

With proper maintenance practices, you’d be surprised how long your pressure treated wood lasts.

Image of a woodworker wearing hearing protectors for woodworking

Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.