The vast majority of decks use treated wood– often in decking, but almost always for the frame. Treated wood framing is affordable, easy to work with and lasts a heckuva long time.
Treating wood usually starts with a softwood, usually pine. Then the manufacturer infuses a preservative to protect against rot, fungal decay and termites.
First Cost $
First, treated means low cost. If you want to choose solely on initial cost to install, this is it.
True Cost $$
Unfortunately, even treated wood breaks down over time. People are able to treat and protect the decking, but the frame can’t really be re-treated. So most people end up replacing the treated frame when they replace the deck. That means double the price over time.
LIFETIME 15-20 years
Most people think a treated frame won’t rot, but this isn’t true. We replace rotted treated deck frames all the time.
***You can extend the life of a treated frame by capping the joists with metal flashing or a product called Protection Tape. This helps prevent rot and decay on the most vulnerable part of a frame-the top.
Pretty cool and doesn’t take much more time to install. Check out this video.
- Affordable This is definitely the strongest appeal of treated wood framing.
- Popularity Since most decks use treated frames, it is easy to just drive down to your local lumber yard and pick up the boards
- Installation Most people are experienced and comfortable working with a wood frame, so it is easy to find someone to install
- Life Expectancy With many composite or hardwood decking options, it is possible the decking will last longer than the treated wood framing. That’s not good.
- Instability Since it is a softwood, treated wood framing isn’t very dimensionally stable, which is just a fancy way of saying it tends to expand, contract, twist, crack and warp over time. Translation: humps and dips in the decking
- Strength Since steel frames are stronger, treated wood framing requires more beams and posts to hold it up.
- Treated wood is made by using a pressurized cylinder to force micronized copper preservative into the board. Then they kiln dry it to remove excess moisture and help reduce shrinkage.
- This preservative used to be really nasty stuff that you wouldn’t want to eat or breath or even touch, but that has changed. That was back in the olden days. Like the ‘90s.
- Many treated wood products have been EPP Certified, meaning they are better for the environment. They take less energy to produce than composite wood, and are harvested from managed forests.
Treated Wood Framing Summary
I’ve made it sound like a horrible choice, but at roughly half the cost of a composite deck, it can be a compelling choice for someone who just wants a deck.
I am fond of saying “a meal I hate at $50 is a meal I love at $5.” Treated decking is the $5 meal.
Wanna find out more? Try checking out this link
Watch this video of the treating process