5 Common Problems with Pressure-Treated Trim

Pressure Treated Wood Trouble

Exterior trim plays an integral role to the beauty and curb appeal of every home. It frames windows and doors, creates transitions between colors, materials, and styles of siding, and it helps create a finished appearance for the home, covering ends and terminating rows. Problems with pressure treated trim affect the curb appeal and beauty of your home’s exterior.

Given how important the trim is to the exterior of a home, most builders want to use a material that will be attractive, easy-to-install, and that will hold up well for their clients long-term. With the growing costs of cedar – one of the more common trim materials due to its natural ability to resist moisture and insects – many builders have begun to use pressure-treated lumber instead. Unfortunately, pressure-treated wood has a variety of inherent issues that mean that’s often the worst material for the job:

1. Cracking and Splitting

Pressure treated wood is made by forcing chemical preservatives into the fiber of the wood through soaking in chemicals and then pressurized treatment. This changes the way that the wood performs, including when it gets wet. Pressure treated wood can still absorb and release moisture, but in doing so, it’s much more likely to split, crack, and develop other surface issues over time. While this won’t impact the way that the trim functions, it will detract from its appearance. This problem with pressure treated trim is a common one that affects appearance and performance.

Given that trim is an important part of a home’s curb appeal, cracking and splitting trim, can be a serious detriment. In order to help the trim look its best long-term, homeowners will need to work harder to maintain it, which can result in more callbacks for you.

 

2. Cupping and Warping

 

Another issue that pressure-treated wood trim may have over time is wood fiber movement in the form of cupping, bowing, and twisting which warps the wood. This is another issue that can develop with pressure-treated wood trim after it’s been exposed to moisture regularly. The wood not only cracks and splits, it also bends, with sections pulling or lifting away from the home, while others shift sideways. This can be subtle or dramatic, depending on the wood, and once this occurs, there isn’t a lot that can be done to correct the trim short of replacing it. 

 

3. Corroding of Non-Galvanized Metal

 

When forms of arsenic was removed from pressure treated wood in the mid-90s, it was replaced with chromated copper arsenate. This chemical was considered to be safer than arsenic forms, but it reacts badly with non-galvanized metals, causing them to heavily corrode. This includes things like screws, nails, brackets, some flashing, and even things like gutters, downspouts, and hangers. 

 

While it’s easy to use galvanized metal for all of these areas, it is important to know about the corroding issue and that the trim in question is pressure treated wood. Assuming otherwise may mean that the wrong fasteners are used, resulting in the metal corroding, coming loose from the wood, and discoloring the trim finish.

 

4. Not Designed for Finish Work

 

Pressure treated wood is not meant to be used on finish surfaces. The chemicals used to help the wood resist rot often leave behind a greenish tone on the wood. To use it on trim, you will need to prime the wood first, and then paint it. While this isn’t a major obstacle, it does add time and expense to the project, which needs to get passed onto the homeowner. And with its tendency to split, the wood can also sometimes need patching and filling before it can be primed, creating even more hassles for the installer.

 

5. Chemical Leaching

 

The chemicals that are used to create pressure-treated wood have been found to leach into the ground, ground water, and any plants growing nearby. While new chemical compounds used in pressure treated wood are not considered to be as hazardous as the earlier compounds they replaced, it can and does leave small concern in the environment where it’s installed. Many homeowners have begun to educate themselves on green building materials, and may not wish to have pressure-treated lumber installed on their homes. 

 

Selecting a Better Alternative

 

 

A better alternative to pressure treated wood and cedar is preservative-treated wood like XT Trim produced by Belco Forest Products. This unique material is given a non-toxic topical treatment that helps the wood resist moisture and insect activity, without the issues of pressure-treated lumber. It’s attractive, easy to work with, and Belco’s XT Trim products come pre-primed and ready for installation so it’s also faster to work with by eliminating the priming step on the job. It is responsibly produced and will continue looking great longer than pressure-treated wood.

 

Make the Switch to a Better Wood Trim

 

Preservative treated trim from Belco Forest Products meets the needs of builders and homeowners alike. This attractive and durable trim solves the issues with pressure treated wood. Help eliminate installation issues and callbacks and make the switch to preservative treated trim instead. Visit Belco Forest Products for more information and find a better wood trim today.

 

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