Wood is a sturdy and affordable material that works well for most construction projects, but it is vulnerable to the elements over time. This problem is typically addressed by pressure-treating lumber with chemicals that extend its life.
Treated wood is lumber or plywood that has undergone a pressure treatment process to treat it with a preservative, making it more resistant to decay and termites. When the preservative reacts with the wood, it resists leaching and makes the wood less attractive to any wood-destroying organisms.
What Is Copper Azole Treated Lumber?
There are many varieties of wood preservative products that can be used depending on the wood in question and the characteristics desired. One popular choice is copper azole. This preservative offers wood long-term protection with less toxicity than other types of pressure-treated wood, making it suitable for residential projects.
The copper protects the wood against fungal decay and termites, while the azole lends the wood carbon-based protection for copper-tolerant fungi.
Copper azole has been used since the mid-1980s and was commercially introduced in Germany in 1992. It is now the most widely used preservative around the world and is used commercially in more than 20 countries.
Copper azole preservatives, as the name implies, are copper-based and use organic copper biocides instead of the toxic arsenic and chromium that were used in previous types of copper wood preservatives. The copper that is used in standard copper azole treatment is chemically dissolved in an organic solvent. In the case of micronized copper azole, the copper is ground into microscopic particles to avoid the need for solvents for dissolving the copper.
With micronized copper azole, the preservative penetrates the cellular structure of the wood to give it long-lasting resistance. Wood that is treated using micronized copper azole keeps more of its natural color and is less prone to off-gassing than other varieties since no solvent is used. This also allows it to hold up better to environmental factors.
Unlike some other treatments, the micronized copper azole preservative is not considered a restricted-use pesticide and no special EPA precautions must be used when handling or disposing of it.
Benefits Of Copper Azole Treated Lumber
Because copper azole increases lumber’s longevity, it is commonly used in residential projects such as decks, fences, access ramps, docks, gazebos and landscaping. It is also less expensive than wood and plastic composites, tropical hardwoods, plastics, and the naturally-resistant varieties of cedar and redwood.
Extends Longevity Of The Lumber
The main benefit of copper azole treatment is that it extends the longevity of the lumber dramatically. Not only does it allow it to resist termites and other insects that could compromise its integrity, but it also gives it resistance to mold and fungi.
This type of wood is also very easy to maintain. A water repellant will protect against moisture damage when applied periodically. For fungi and termite resistance, no maintenance is needed.
Wood treated with copper azole can be revitalized using a pressure washer or deck cleaner. It is important to keep in mind the manufacturer’s recommendations for any coatings that are applied to the wood.
Maintains A Clean Appearance
The appearance of wood is an important consideration for many exterior projects, and some types of preservative treatments do have an impact on the look of the final product. However, copper azole treated wood has a very clean appearance. Wood that uses this treatment is also paintable, making it easy to customize it for a broad range of uses.
In addition, this wood offers greater electrical, thermal and acoustic insulation than other alternatives, and its lighter weight means that it can often be installed using equipment that has a lower environmental impact.
Weathers To A Honey Brown Or Gray Color
Over time, many types of wood take on an unattractive appearance as they start to show signs of age. However, wood treated with copper azole weathers to a more pleasing shade of honey brown before eventually graying. In addition, the copper azole treatment tends to impart less color than other treatments. In fact, some companies mix a colorant into the treatment solution to make it easier to distinguish this wood from untreated lumber.
There are also some environmental benefits involved in using treated wood. First, wood is a renewable resource, and treated wood is made using fast-growing trees that are raised in managed timberlands. Using preservatives on wood that make it last longer helps to extend forest resources, and the preservatives are made in part by using recycled materials.
Reach Out To A Professional Wholesale Lumber Supplier
If you would like to find out how micronized copper azole products can extend the life of your exterior wood projects, get in touch with the wholesale lumber suppliers at Curtis Lumber & Plywood. Our professionals are ready to help you select the wood you need for your inventory today.