Does The Question Mark Come Before Or After The Em-Dash Why Do Builders Use Untreated Wood In New Home Construction?

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Why Do Builders Use Untreated Wood In New Home Construction?

This is a good question, and one that deserves attention. Using the wrong products on wooden studs inside the walls can cause serious health problems and in the worst case even death. I know that sounds extreme but I have personal experience with a house built by a do-it-yourselfer who thought that if he used all pressure treated wood on the walls that his house would not really rotten. Well, the house didn’t rot, but it smelled like poison, and the owner/builder eventually died of brain tumors related to overexposure to toxic chemicals.

What he doesn’t know is that all the protective layers that are put on the outside of a house to keep out rain and insects form a kind of jacket around the house. And while keeping out the elements, it hides the living space or ‘conditioned air space’. That’s why it’s important to keep the conditioned air space free of toxins. There are building wrap products to help the house breathe better but they won’t stop wall poison odors because 1/2″ sheetrock inside the wall is thinner and more porous than 1 /2″ plywood on the other side of the wall. In addition to the plywood you have building paper or house wrap then siding and paint. That’s why it’s easier for odors to travel indoors than outdoors.

Treated wood is primarily used for ground contact or direct contact with concrete. While treated wood is about half the price of alternative rot resistant wood (redwood), it is about 2-3 times the amount of un-treated doug fur which is the material of choice for most builders. Most treated wood is actually doug fur that has been injected with many different threads (that’s why you see all the little dash marks on treated wood, it’s from the injection process). Because they take the same doug fur lumber to inject as they usually use a number 2 board or bottom end.

Between you, me, and the rest of the world reading this, Treated wood is not a safe alternative to natural decay and pest resistant woods like redwood. States like California have recently banned treated wood from all landfills and dump sites due to groundwater contamination. The recent standard change has also reduced the number of poison levels to approx. 50% While these efforts are a step in the right direction it is not seen as green building or eco friendly to use products that contain copper or zinc napathane.

When properly protected, Doug fur built homes can last a long, long time. If left unprotected however it can easily rot.

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