Arsenic And Old Slats: Considerations When Building A Wooden Fence

When you are choosing a fencing material, you need to consider both how the material will hold up to the elements and how it will affect the look of your property. For their durability and incomparable aesthetic value, wooden fences are a great choice for fencing material, but you need to make sure that you buy a quality wood. 

Water and Rot

One of the biggest enemies of a fence is water. While water alone will not cause rot, moisture is one of the ingredients that contributes to rot. Because fences are out in the open, you need to make sure that your fencing material can hold up to the damaging effects of water. Some woods will naturally hold up better to moisture than others. Redwood and cedar are both naturally rot resistant, cedar is the less expensive choice while still offering about the same resistance to water, so you get more value for you money by using cedar

Constant Contact with Water

One of the first places on a fence to give way to the effects of water damage is the base of the posts. This is because these points are in constant contact with ground and any water in the ground. You could use cedar or redwood posts, but if you are looking for a way to keep your costs down, you should consider using treated lumber. 

What is treated lumber? It it typically a piece of pine that has been treated with chemical agents that deter the growth of fungi and other plants that accelerate rot. The same chemicals will also fend off insect invasions. Older treated lumber was treated with a chemical slurry that contained arsenic. Such lumber can be dangerous for humans and pets. Look for red pressure-treated lumber, which gets its rot and insect deterrent properties from copper. Kiln-dried pressure-treated lumber may cost more than cedar, but it will give you better value for your money. Contact a fencing contractor to learn more. 

By using pressure-treated lumber for posts and horizontal support pieces, you should get the best rot resistance. On the other hand, cedar has a better appearance than pressure-treated lumber so you should use it for the slats of your fence. To get the most longevity from your fence, you should treat it with linseed oil or another sealant to help preserve the look of the wood and to reinforce its rot-resistant properties. With the right wood and maintenance, you should be able to get a fence that lasts thirty years. Thus, a wooden fence is a good value in that it gives you beauty and longevity for your money.