A Guide To Fence Installation With Pressure-Treated Lumber

A Guide To Fence Installation With Pressure-Treated Lumber

Key takeaways:

  • Pressure-treated lumber is more durable than traditional materials
  • It is more resistant to insects, moisture, and fire risks
  • It’s more affordable to maintain than other types of materials
  • The chemicals used in it might pose risks to yourself and the environment
  • It takes several months to dry, so warping and shrinking are possible

When choosing an outdoor fence for your first fence installation project, you may wonder what type of lumber to use. You’ll need a material that offers durability and weather resistance. Still, you may also want to consider the appearance of your fence. Pressure-treated lumber is a popular choice for fences, but it’s essential to know the sweets and sours before you decide if it’s right for your project.

Keep scrolling to learn all about pressure-treated lumber for your fence project!

What Is Pressure-Treated Lumber?

Before we dive into the perks and drawbacks of pressure-treated lumber, let’s first answer the question: what is it?

Pressure-treated lumber refers to wood that has been treated with chemicals to protect it from rot, decay, and insect damage. The process of pressure-treating lumber involves three steps:

  1. The wood is placed in a large container called a retort, fully immersed in the chemical preservative.
  2. A vacuum removes any air bubbles from the wood, which allows the chemicals to penetrate deeply into the lumber.
  3. The wood is under pressure to force the chemicals further into the lumber.

This process makes pressure-treated lumber ideal for outdoor projects like fences, decks, and playground equipment. Let’s explore some of the perks it offers.

Pro 1: Durability

For an outdoor fence, one primary consideration is how long it will last. Pressure-treated lumber is treated with chemicals that make it resistant to rot, insect damage, and mold.

This makes it an asset for outdoor projects like fences that are exposed to the elements. By contrast, traditional lumber will not last as long without rotting, warping, or otherwise becoming damaged.

Pro 2: Affordability

Suppose you spend on other materials, such as cedar or redwood. In that case, it is essential to remember that those materials will require more upkeep. Cedar and redwood fences are beautiful, but they will require regular staining or painting to maintain their appearance. Pressure-treated lumber is a more forgiving option that does not require as much maintenance.

You might also spend too much money investing in an outdoor fence that lasts a long time, such as metal or composite. These materials are pricier than pressure-treated lumber, but they will last much longer without rotting or warping. If you’re unsure how long you’ll stay in your home, choosing a cheaper option, like pressure-treated lumber, might make sense.

Pro 3: Moisture Resistance

As we mentioned, an outdoor fence is exposed to the elements 24/7. That means it must be able to withstand heavy rains, snow, and whatever else. Pressure-treated lumber is one of the most moisture-resistant options on the market.

It’s been treated with chemicals that make it resistant to water damage. You don’t have to worry about your fence warping or rotting over time. Other materials, however, are not as moisture-resistant and will require more maintenance to prevent water damage.

Pro 4: Fungal Resistance

With damp and humid conditions comes the possibility of mold and mildew. But pressure-treated lumber is also treated with chemicals that make it resistant to fungal growth. So you won’t have to itch over your fence developing mold or mildew.

Other outdoor materials, like wood, are susceptible to fungal growth if not properly sealed or maintained. This vulnerability leads to other severe problems like wood rot.

Pro 4: Fungal Resistance

Pro 5: Insect Resistance

Many homeowners complain of insect infestations in their homes, let alone outdoor fences. But pressure-treated lumber is treated with chemicals that make it resistant to insect damage. So, you can rest assured that your fence won’t be a meal for termites or other insects.

Insects can be nuisances and can cause severe damage to your fence. Wood-boring insects like termites can quickly destroy an entire fence, so choosing a material resistant to their damage is crucial. You could choose to invest in metal or concrete fencing. However, pressure-treated lumber is a more affordable option that will still give you the protection you need.

Pro 6: Fire Resistance

If you’re planning to barbecue near your outdoor fence, there’s always a risk of accidentally starting a fire. But pressure-treated lumber is more resistant to fire damage than other fence materials. You can feel confident that your fence won’t go up in flames if a stray spark hits it.

Of course, no fencing material is entirely fireproof, so caution is still essential when grilling or cooking near your fence. But pressure-treated lumber will give you an extra layer of protection in an accidental fire. You can rest assured that your fence installation project won’t go up in smoke.

Now that we’ve explored some of the multiple perks of pressure-treated lumber let’s look at a few of the potential drawbacks.

Con 1: Chemical Risk

The process necessary to pressure-treat lumber involves using chemicals, and some of these can pose risks not only to your person but to your surroundings as well. The EPA has classified some chemicals used in pressure-treated lumber as probable carcinogens. When working with this material, it’s imperative to avoid inhaling any sawdust or other particles. And when you’re disposing of pressure-treated lumber, check with your local municipality about the best way to do so without contaminating the environment.

Setting this material on fire is also not advisable, as the chemicals can give off harmful fumes.

Con 2: Warping

If you use pressure-treated lumber for your outdoor fence, you can expect it to take several months to dry completely. As a result, sometimes this lumber will warp or crack as it dries. This risk is even greater if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions.

Once your pressure-treated lumber fence is installed, check it regularly for any signs of warping or damage. And if you do notice any problems, don’t hesitate to call a professional fence repair company for assistance.

For more on what chemicals feature in wood preservation, check out this article from the EPA.


If this is your first fence installation, we hope this guide helped you better understand pressure-treated lumber. Though it has its pros and cons, the decision of whether to use this type of lumber for your outdoor fence is up to you.

For more on how to improve your property’s outdoor aesthetic, check out our post on three reasons to install a pergola.

We at Trinity River Fence and Construction are proud to provide Keller, TX, with high-quality outdoor installation services. If you require a new fence, we’ll be happy to help you choose the perfect fencing solution for your needs.

Book a free consultation today!

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