Are treatments used in protecting softwood decking harmful in any way?

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Softwood decking that has been preservative treated prior to use is entirely safe – even for pets and plants. The preservatives used in the process are “locked” into the timber and do not seep out, even when in contact with water.

The pressure treatment of softwood decking involves loading the packs of timber into a tank, prior to sealing it and filling with water and the preservative chemicals that are to impregnate the timber. Applying a vacuum pushes these preservatives deep into the timber (the further in, the higher the Use Class). The vacuum is then removed and the liquid drains away, prior to the softwood decking being removed and left to dry thoroughly in a well ventilated storage area.

Pressure treatment such as this is only undertaken professionally, in very controlled environments. There are many operators across the UK that treat timber for companies, including a large number of timber suppliers.

When working with freshly treated softwood decking, it is sensible to wear gloves if you are cutting the boards to length. You should also wash your hands prior to eating or drinking. Cut ends should be hand treated using a suitable preservative product and a brush so that they are not left more vulnerable to deterioration. If you have structural posts that go into the ground, ensure that the un-cut end goes into the ground.

Softwood decking that has been professionally and suitably preservative treated can be an excellent and long-lasting outdoor surface. It is popular due to being cost effective and easy to work with an install. And of course the resulting deck will look fantastic and offer a substantial enhancement to the outside space.

If you have any further questions about the preservative treatment of softwood decking, please get in touch with us and we will be happy to help you.