Whenever you have direct contact with the ground or moisture, you should use pressure-treated lumber. This includes decks, porches, steps, and other deck structures; fences and fence posts; retaining walls; and any other landscape structure that will have direct contact with the ground or moisture.

Additionally, pressure-treated lumber is a good choice for foundation piers and other framing members in contact with masonry or concrete, because it is less likely to rot.

Pressure-treated lumber is also a good choice for exterior trim and molding since it is less likely to rot. You can use it for interior trim and molding, but be sure to prime and paint it first.

Pressure-treated Wood Vs Not

Pressure-treated wood advantages:

  • less likely to rot
  • lasts longer
  • cheaper

Less likely to rot

Even though pressure-treated wood is less likely to rot, it is not 100% rot-proof. All wood will rot eventually, but pressure-treated wood will last much longer than untreated wood.

Related: How to Paint Pressure-Treated Wood (THE RIGHT WAY)

Lasts longer

Pressure-treated wood lasts longer than untreated wood because it is treated with chemicals that protect it from rot and decay.

The treatment process makes the wood less susceptible to damage from insects, mold, and fungi.

Cheaper

Pressure-treated wood is cheaper than other types of wood because it does not need to be treated as often.

It is a good choice for people who want durable wood but do not want to spend a lot of money on it.

Pressure-treated wood disadvantages:

  • toxic chemicals
  • can warp or crack over time

Toxic chemicals

Unfortunately, even though arsenic is no longer used to treat pressure-treated wood, it is still treated with other toxic chemicals.

These chemicals can leach out of the wood and into the soil, where they can be taken up by plants. They can also leach into the water, where they can be harmful to aquatic life.

Can warp or crack over time

Pressure-treated wood can Warp or crack over time if it is not properly maintained. It is important to regularly check for cracks and splinters and to repair them as soon as possible.

While pressure-treated wood has its advantages, it is important to weigh them against the disadvantages before deciding whether or not to use it.

Non-treated wood advantages:

  • no toxic chemicals.
  • natural look.

No toxic chemicals

One of the biggest advantages of non-treated wood is that it does not contain any toxic chemicals. This means that it is safe for use in gardens and around children and pets.

Natural look

Another advantage of non-treated wood is that it has a natural look. This can be an important consideration for people who want their landscape to look as natural as possible.

Non-treated wood disadvantages:

  • More susceptible to rot and decay.
  • Shorter lifespan.

More susceptible to rot and decay

One of the biggest disadvantages of non-treated wood is that it is more susceptible to rot and decay. This means that it will not last as long as pressure-treated wood.

Shorter lifespan

Another disadvantage of non-treated wood is that it has a shorter lifespan. This is because it is not protected from rot and decay like pressure-treated wood.

Related: How Does Pressure-Treated Wood and Lumber Work?

So Which is Better?

It really depends on your use case. If you need durable wood that will last a long time, pressure-treated wood is a good choice. However, if you are concerned about the toxic chemicals in pressure-treated wood, or you want a natural look for your landscape, non-treated wood may be a better choice.

It also matters what size of budget you have for your project. Pressure-treated wood is usually more expensive than non-treated wood, so if cost is a consideration, non-treated wood may be the better choice.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to use pressure-treated wood or not will come down to your personal preferences and needs.

Let’s just say, in long run, pressure-treated lumber is your best bet, but only if you can keep up with the maintenance. If not, you run into the risk of toxic chemicals, warping, and cracking. So just be mindful of that before using pressure-treated lumber in your next project.

When Should You Use Pressure-Treated Lumber

There are certain situations when you should use pressure-treated lumber. These include:

If you are building a structure that will have direct contact with the ground or moisture.

  • If you are building a fence or fence post.
  • If you are building a retaining wall.
  • If you want durable wood that is less likely to rot.
  • If you are using it for exterior trim or molding.
  • If you are building a deck.

If you are building a fence or fence post

Fences and posts generally come into direct contact with the ground, so they are more likely to rot. Pressure-treated lumber will last longer in these applications.

If you are building a retaining wall

Retaining walls are often built with pressure-treated lumber because they need to be durable and long-lasting.

If you want a durable wood that is less likely to rot

Pressure-treated lumber is a good choice for people who want durable wood but do not want to spend a lot of money on it.

If you are using it for exterior trim or molding

Exterior trim and molding are often made from pressure-treated lumber because it is less likely to rot.

If you are building a deck

Decks are often made from pressure-treated lumber because they are exposed to the elements and are more likely to rot.

The different grades of pressure-treated lumber

tab

FAQs

Can you use pressure-treated wood for interior framing?

Yes, you can use pressure-treated wood for interior framing. However, it will add a considerable extra cost to your project.

How long does pressure-treated wood last?

On average your pressure-treated wood should last approx 15-20 years with regular maintenance.

Can you use pressure-treated wood for wall studs?

Yes, in fact, we recommend using pressure-treated lumber for your wall studs if you’re looking for extra protection against rot and decay.

Yes, in fact, we recommend using pressure-treated lumber for your wall studs if you’re looking for extra protection against rot and decay.

Unfortunately, we cannot accurately predict how long untreated 2×4 lumber will last outside. It will depend on the environment and conditions that the lumber is exposed to. We recommend using pressure-treated lumber for any outdoor project to ensure longevity.

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}