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Prime Treated vs Pressure Treated Lumber: Your Guide to Properly Treated Lumber

prime treated vs pressure treated

In the world of construction, not all lumber treatments are created equal. Navigating the realm of construction opens up many considerations. This is especially true when selecting the right building materials. Builders might lean towards cost-effectiveness and readily available resources. Or, they might focus on sustainable practices and ethical construction methods. Each choice holds weight as they contribute to the final product—an embodiment of a builder’s values. 

Yet, this journey through options can prove to be challenging when obscured by terms like “treated lumber.” Here, we delve into some differences and benefits of pressure treated vs prime treated lumber. We will work to clarify ambiguous terminology and outline the importance of real wood preservative treatment. 

"Treated": Investigating the Truth Behind the Term

Let’s talk about treated lumber and some misconceptions due to marketing hype. What does “treated” truly mean? Builders seeking treated products expect wood that’s fortified from within, not simply surface-treated. Additionally, everyone from builders to DIYers search for products using the terms “prime treated lumber”. This could mean they want wood that is pre-primed. But it could also mean they want wood that is both properly treated and primed. Creating clarity in this vernacular underscores the difference between mere sealants and true wood preservative and pressurized treatments. As we break down the nuances of pressure treated vs. prime treated lumber, we highlight appropriate applications, sustainability differences, and what sets Belco Forest Products apart.

The Role of Usage Codes: When Pressure Treated is Essential

Builders adhere to specific usage codes that dictate where certain types of lumber should be used in a structure. For instance, in Texas, areas of a structure that are in close proximity to or directly touching the ground require wood that meets stringent codes for treatment levels. These areas are more susceptible to moisture exposure, making the use of pressure treated products imperative. For this reason, it’s important to understand regional building codes and requirements. Therefore, pressure treated wood is the standard for several foundational applications to ensure long lasting protection.

Setting the Record Straight: Prime Treat Equals Prime Cheat

Noting the difference between “preservative” treatment and “prime” treatment is essential for accountability in the manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, too often the claim of “prime treated” is problematic. This means “prime treat” can result in the ultimate “prime cheat” for builders and customers.

Protective coatings (ie: prime treated) are defined as film forming primers applied to the wood surface as a sealant. Many protective coatings contain mold and mildew inhibitors, but these are not designed for decay causing fungi. It is important to note that a common practice among some exterior trim manufacturers involves using a prime treatment that primarily acts as a sealant. Unwanted moisture is often then locked into the wood. This approach doesn’t adhere to the standards of a true wood preservative treatment (AWPA-approved), which safeguards against decay, insects, and other elements.

Protective coatings with additives are nothing more than barriers to the wood substrate. Break the seal, and the wood beneath is subject to structural decay and insect infestation. Suggesting that a film forming protective coating ‘sealant’ or ‘prime treatment’ is comparable to a wood preservative is inaccurate because it’s selling an idea that isn’t the reality.

The Belco XT Difference: A True Two-Step Treatment Process

Exterior wood trim producers with integrity stand behind an effective and regulated preservative process, as opposed to marketing sealants as “treatments”. A true two-step preservative treatment ensures the wood substrate is fully penetrated before adding the protective coating. While Belco XT products are both primed and preservative treated, the end result is closer to pressure treated trim than it is to what some are calling simply “treated.”

With Belco XT’s two-step treatment process, customers get the convenience of a beautiful pre-primed wood product. They also trust that every stick has been preservative treated to protect against deterioration by living organisms, particularly fungi, insects, and marine borers. This certified two-step process is truly the only way to assure the preservation and decay resistance of wood, wood fiber and structural cell walls.

Step One: Preservative Treated, Every Stick, Every Time

While Belco products may not be classified as “pressure treated”, our non-metallic, EPA-approved wood preservative treatment (Wolman AG) is carefully penetrated into the wood fibers. This key distinction sets us apart, ensuring our wood is fortified from within. We manufacture with sustainability and longevity in mind. It also protects builders against future liability claims and ensures a longer lasting result for homeowners. 

Step Two: Prime Coat, Proprietary Excellence

Our commitment to excellence doesn’t stop at sustainable practices for an effective preservative treatment. We go the extra mile during manufacturing by applying a proprietary, 100 percent acrylic, water based primer to protect the surface and resist water penetration. Our prime coat prepares the wood for finish applications. Additionally, it ensures that the finish withstands the test of time. Belco primer exceeds the most important industry tests to assure best performance, including primer adhesion, moisture resistance, and wet scrub resistance. We do this in a factory-controlled environment, which delivers quality, consistent results. Finally, our primer meets and exceeds the highest industry standards for coating consistency and wood substrate quality allowing your team to begin installation as soon as the material arrives on the job.

Bottom Line: BelcoXT Products Are a Win/Win

Accountability and credibility are the hallmarks to trusting a product and its producer. Belco’s attention to detail and innovative manufacturing practices set the stage for a visually appealing and durable final product you can trust. This means we deliver our products on grade and ready to install. We also guarantee the longevity homeowners deserve. With Belco, builders enjoy fewer front end labor hours and massively reduced callbacks. Here is the bottom line: Belco XT® Trim and Fascia products are a win/win.

Cutting Through the Marketing Hype: A Breakdown on Elevated Excellence

To understand the nuances between pressure treated vs prime treated lumber, Belco cuts through the marketing hype. We believe it’s important to clarify some commonly used but misunderstood terminology. Here is an excellent breakdown of our eco-friendly treatment and proprietary prime processes: 

Integrity and Excellence: Belco XT Treated, Never Cheated

As we navigate the complexities of pressure treated vs. prime treated lumber terminology, it becomes clear that “prime treated” isn’t just a blanket statement. The variance between superficial treatments and those that truly penetrate wood fibers to enhance durability is of the utmost importance. Belco Forest Products is committed to providing products that not only meet industry standards but set new benchmarks of excellence for above ground applications. Our dedication to eco-friendly wood preservative treatments and thorough primer application make us the preferred choice for builders and customers who demand quality that lasts. Choose Belco Forest Products for wood that’s not just “treated,” but truly transformed for the better.

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Our Happy Customers

Preservative treated, primed, and available with a combed, brushed, resawn, or smooth face. The real beauty of your home comes to life through a well made trim package.

Preservative treated, primed, and available with a combed or smooth face. These glulam columns are strong, beautiful, and enhance any exterior design. 

Belco XT®-T&G is graded smooth face with edge vees on all four edges and a textured ungraded back.

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