Getting Ready For Winter: What You Need To Know Before Buying Timber For Your Fence

Summer is over, and winter will soon be here. In particular, that means cold and wet days are on their way. Now is the time to replace any broken fence posts before winter moisture arrives. Once moisture seeps into damaged timber, it can cause rot, and that will make your fence weak. If it rots enough, the fence could become dangerous due to the threat of collapse. As a new home handyman who has not bought treated pine fence products before, there are three main pointers you need to know before you choose the timber you are going to use.

What Grade Of Treated Timber Works Best?

When it comes to the amount of preservative that is needed to keep your timber in good condition, there is a hazard grading scale that runs from H1 through to H6. The "H" in the grading scale stands for hazard (meaning the hazards the timber can withstand), and the use of the timber determines how much treatment it needs before use. H1 treated timber, for example, is the lowest hazard risk, and is used inside a building. This grade of timber is not exposed to the outdoor weather elements that grade H6 is, so for that end of the scale a heavy chemical presence is needed to help make sure it lasts through more than one winter.

When it comes to outdoor fencing, you need H3 treated timber if you are replacing the fence slats about the ground, and H4 treated timber for the posts that go into the ground. This is because the timber that goes into the ground has to deal with moisture in the soil constantly surrounding and attacking it.

What Is Used To Treat Timber?

You may already know that the timber you are going to buy has been treated with chemicals to protect it against attack by insects. This treatment also stops early decay due to being exposed to wet weather conditions. However, what do you know about the chemicals that have been used to treat the timber?

Copper Chrome Arsenic (CCA) wood preservative is a product often used in accordance with Australian standards to treat the wood before you purchase it. Due to the chemicals in this wood, it is not allowed to be used in certain settings. The use restrictions include not using CCA treated wood for patios, picnic tables, and children's playground equipment. However, it is allowed for fencing provided that you take precautions while working with the wood.  Those precautions include wearing work gloves while you are sanding the wood so the preservative does not penetrate your skin, and wearing a dust mask over your mouth and nose while drilling or sawing through the wood due to the amount of dust generated.

Are There Alternatives To CCA Treated Timber?

You can purchase other types of treated timber if using CCA treated wood gives you concern. One available alternative uses copper and azole biocides to repel pests, and includes paraffin wax to create a moisture barrier to keep the wood water resistant.

Speak to the wood specialist at your home hardware store if you have concerns about treated timber to find out what other options they have on hand. Be mindful that the wood you are going to purchase to replace the damaged fence parts needs to match with the rest of the fence. Because of this you may be restricted in your replacement wood options unless you are prepared to replace the whole fence.

Replacement timber purchases will be a breeze now that you are armed with this knowledge, and you can get your fence back into great condition before winter strikes. One final tip: if there is any wood leftover from this project, don't be tempted to throw it in your fireplace to keep warm. The chemicals used to treat the wood do not react well with flames, so stick to your usual source of firewood to keep your family warm this winter.