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Building Officials Announce Change in Pressure Treated Lumber Materials

Ohio, as well as other states, recently warned residents and the building industry to be aware of the lumber, anchors, and fasteners used on their construction projects. The preservative-treated lumber used for the last 60 years was deemed unusable because it contains arsenic. It was replaced with a new preservative-treated lumber that contains a chemical commonly used with treated lumber.

Until recently, the most common chemical used in the pressure treatment of wood was Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA-C). Effective Dec. 31, 2003, the treated wood products industry voluntarily agreed to cease the production of CCA-C wood for residential and consumer use. This action responded to concerns about the arsenic levels in the wood. As such the primary type of pressure treated wood now available is Alkaline Copper Quat (ACQ). Testing conducted by Simpson Strong-Tie has shown that ACQ is more corrosive to steel than CCA-C.

“This is a public safety issue and the public needs to understand that if they use the old anchors, bolts and screws with the new pretreated wood, a danger exists that the anchors will corrode and could cause the deck or other structural elements to collapse,” said Joe Busch, Ohio Chief Building Official. There are two types of anchors that can be used. Hot dipped galvanized or stainless steel will hold up when used with the new lumber. Dissimilar metals in contact with each other will corrode and possibly lead to failure. Also, all fasteners must match connectors, galvanized with galvanized or stainless with stainless.

Production of the CCA preservative-treated lumber stopped earlier this year and a new ACQ preservative-treated lumber is currently being sold at home improvement stores and lumberyards.

“It is imperative to purchase the proper connecting materials in order to avoid a potentially serious problem,” said Busch.


Jim Baty, the CFA technical director, says this topic has become a significant issue because the change in connection type increases the unit costs on the project and the result is often a conflict between the foundation contractor and builder. The end result is rising costs of residential construction.

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