What’ll you have with that wood preservative: Hot-dip galvanized, polymer coated, or stainless steel?
by Jefferson Kolle
Deck building used to be simpler. At the lumberyard, you’d load up on CCA-treated 2-by stock for the floor system, 6x6s for the posts, and whatever the budget allowed for the decking — anything from 1x6 pressure treated to more-expensive 1x4 Doug fir. Buying hardware and fasteners was straightforward too. Inside the lumberyard, you’d load up on nails, nuts, bolts, screws, and maybe joist hangers. And you’d be good to go.
Buying lumber and fasteners is no longer so straightforward. Since CCA was withdrawn from the residential market in 2004, new preservatives have taken its place. The corrosiveness of some of these chemicals has in turn spawned new types of corrosion-resistant hardware, which have left deck builders wondering which ones work best and if the best ones are worth the money.
A Little Chemistry
According to Dr. Pascal Kamdem, professor of wood science and technology at Michigan State University, chromated copper arsenate (CCA) pressure-treated wood was phased out because European countries objected to the chromium, while concerns in the United States centered around the arsenic. “Chemical companies wanted a pressure-treating formula that would be acceptable worldwide, so they got rid of both objectionable chemicals.”
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