Key Takeaways:

Pressure-treated lumber is:

• Treated with a preservative to safeguard it from rot, insect damage, and decay.
• Placed in a closed cylinder where it is exposed to high pressure. This puts the preservative deep into the wood, creating an eternal connection to protect the lumber from the elements.
• Stronger and more durable than regular lumber.
• Moisture and fungal-resistant, ideal for use in wet or humid climates.
• More expensive than regular lumber.
• Classified as hazardous waste and special equipment may be necessary for disposal.
• Bad for health – Eye protection and a dust mask is necessary.
• It should be treated with a sealant every two to three years.

When installing a fence around your property, a critical decision you will have to make is what type of lumber to use. Many kinds of lumber are available, but one of the most popular is pressure-treated lumber. This blog post will cover the advantages and drawbacks of using pressure-treated lumber for your fence so that you can decide better.

What is Pressure Treated Lumber?

Pressure-treated lumber is wood infused with chemicals to protect it from rot, insect damage, and decay. The process begins by placing the lumber in a large tank exposed to a preservative. The most common type of preservative used is chromate copper arsenate (CCA). Newer, safer options are available, such as alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) and micronized copper azole (MCA).

Once treated, it is then placed in a pressure chamber exposed to high pressure. This forces the preservative deep into the wood, creating a long-lasting bond that will help to protect the lumber from the elements.

Remember the following if you consider pressure-treated lumber for your fence:

  • First, it is essential to note that not all pressure-treated lumber is not equal. The type of preservative used, as well as the length of time the lumber is exposed to the pressure treatment, can vary from one manufacturer to the next.
  • Additionally, it is not typically available in the same sizes as regular lumber. You may need to order the lumber you need for your fence, which can add to the cost.
  • Finally, remember that it is not rot-resistant. While it will resist rotting better than regular lumber, it is still susceptible to damage from moisture and insects.

Pros of Pressure Treated Lumber

No More Insects and Termites

One of the benefits is that it is resistant to insects and termites. It is treated with chemicals that make it unattractive to these pests. It may be the right choice if you are concerned about insects damaging your fence. Your fence will be better protected against these pests, which can cause extensive damage.

Protection from the Elements

Pressure-treated lumber is much more resistant to the elements than regular lumber. It means your fence can withstand heavy rains, strong winds, and even snowstorms without damage. It’s also less likely to rot, making it a much more durable option for your fence.

Increased Lifespan

Since it is so resistant to the elements, it has a much longer lifespan than regular lumber. It’s not uncommon for such a fence to last 20 years or more. This makes it an excellent investment for your home, as you won’t have to worry about repairing or replacing your fence anytime soon.

Meeting Building Codes

In most cases, it is the only lumber that will meet building codes. This is especially true if you live in an area prone to high winds or hurricanes. The extra strength of the lumber makes it much less likely to be damaged in such conditions, which is why building codes often require it.


It is also often considered to be more self-sustainable than regular lumber. This is because the chemicals used in the treatment process make the lumber stronger. It means that it will last longer without needing to be replaced, which is good for your wallet and the environment.

Moisture Resistant

This is because the chemicals used to treat the wood help to repel water and keep the wood from rotting. Your fence will withstand the elements much better than if made from untreated lumber.

Fungal Resistant

Pressure-treated lumber for your fence is resistant to fungal decay. Your fence will last longer and be more durable in wet or humid climates.

Check out our blog about why hiring a professional for fence installation is worth every penny.

Cons of Pressure Treated Lumber

Warping and Shrinkage

One drawback is that it tends to warp and shrink. This can be a problem if you’re trying to get a tight, seamless fence. The chemicals in the wood take time to cure, so the lumber is often still wet when installed. This can cause it to warp and shrink as it dries out. You can’t stain or paint it until it’s completely dry, which can take up to six months. Living in an area with much moisture makes it more likely to warp and shrink. The chemicals in the wood can also leach out into the soil, which can harm plants.

You can’t Burn it or Prep Food on it.

Another drawback is that you can’t burn it or prep food on it. The chemicals in the wood can be toxic if inhaled or ingested. If you have a fire pit, you’ll need to use another type of wood. And if you like to cook outdoors, you’ll need to use a different cutting board.

Sawdust is Hazardous

Sawdust from pressure-treated lumber is classified as hazardous waste. It means you can’t just throw it in the trash. You’ll need to dispose of it properly, which may require special equipment or permits. Eye protection and a dust mask are also necessary when working with it.

Apply Sealant Every Two to Three Years

To prolong the life of your pressure-treated fence, you’ll need to apply a sealant every two to three years. This will guard the wood against rot and insect damage. It’s also a good idea to wash your fence annually to remove dirt, mold, and mildew.

In conclusion, pressure-treated lumber is an excellent option for your fence. It’s durable and long-lasting, but it does require some maintenance. If you’re willing to maintain it, your fence will give you years of enjoyment. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages before you decide whether or not to use pressure-treated lumber for your next project. Castle Rock Deck & Fence, serving Highlands Ranch, is the perfect company for your fence installation. We have several fencing options, and our experts will help you find the ideal fence for your home. In addition, we offer competitive prices and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can be sure you’re making the best decision for your home. Get a Free Estimate Today!