Treated pine is basically timber that has been impregnated under vacuum pressure with Copper, Chromium and Arsenic (CCA) preservative according to Australian standards 1604-1997. Treated pine is quite versatile and can be used extensively in landscaping, in commercial buildings as well as inside and outside houses.
Treatment of pine ensures that it has long-term protection from decay, fungi as well as termites that can attack and destroy timber that is not treated. By using treated pine sleepers for outdoor projects, you extend the service life of a given structure as a result of improved durability of the timber itself. This therefore helps reduce replacement as well as maintenance costs.
It is worth noting that although CCA preservatives are quite toxic to decay, fungi and termites, you can safely use treated pine. Even animals and plants that come into contact with treated pine sleepers will be perfectly safe. However, some specific applications like beehives, birdcages and fishponds require that proper care is taken.
Some of the common precautions that you should bear in mind when working with and handling timber that is CCA treated include:
- Wearing gloves to avoid splinters
- Wearing a mask when machining the pine to avoid inhaling sawdust
- If possible, machining treated pine sleepers outside so as to avoid airborne dust from treated wood accumulating inside
- Wearing eye protection when nailing and machining treated timber
- Avoiding exposing sawdust near food or areas used for food preparation
- Ensuring that you wash your face and hands before drinking, eating or smoking
- Laundering separately clothes that have accumulated sawdust from treated wood
- Disposing CCA treated off-cuts by burying them in an approved landfill as CCA should not be burnt.
As for all other timber products, treated pine has got to be well maintained. The truth is that although timber is treated against insect attack and decay, it is not treated against splitting, ageing, twisting or swelling. The fast growing nature of the pine species as well as the various chemicals that are used in treated pine sleepers mean that the timber can easily be affected by moisture, temperature and changes in humidity.
Although there is no guaranteed method of eliminating disfiguring of treated pine, you can reduce this problem by using good quality paint, oil as well as water and UV repellent products. Also, nailing, screwing and fixing your treated pine sleepers correctly will ensure that they look good for a long time to come.