Can You Use Non Pressure Treated Wood Outside ? Explained

If you’re about to work on an outdoor project, a question might arise whether you Can Use Non Pressure Treated Wood Outside? Because just the completion of the task isn’t the goal. You have to choose the right type of wood for high durability and to extend the life span of the wood. 

You can use the untreated wood outdoors but you have to take some precautionary measures in order to extend the life span of wood.

There are several ways like painting and sealing through which you can make the job a lot easier.

In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the possible methods to increase the endurance of your wood for outdoor projects. 

How you can differentiate between treated and non-treated wood

Can You Use Non Pressure Treated Wood Outside

If you’re a newbie to woodworking or planning to do some DIY project for your home, it might be confusing for you to choose and distinguish between non-treated and pressure-treated wood. And knowing the difference between both is essential for you to get the best out of your project.

For pressure treated wood you would need a great deck sealer, you can also go through our guide of Best Clear Deck Sealers For Pressure Treated Wood

Green tinted wood can be easily recognized as treated wood. The tint may fade over the years of use but still, it’s visible over the surface.

Another way to separate both types of lumbers is through their smell. Pressure-treated woods have a raw and natural smell. On the other hand, treated wood have a pungent smell indicating that these are coated with some chemicals and preservatives.

Why non pressured woods can be hazardous for outdoor use?

Using non pressure treated wood outside might seem an easy choice for you to go with. The untreated wood is easy to get done within a short time and is cost-effective as well. But in the long run, when under extreme weather conditions and sunshine exposure, it starts decaying will make you regret your selection. Especially the horizontally designed projects and decks are prone to early decay.

There are various factors that can make it clear to you why you can or can’t Can Use Non Pressure Treated Wood Outside. 

1.Wood Exposure To Sunlight:

Exposure to sunlight is equally hazardous for both treated and non-treated woods. But the difference in the reaction of both is different. Treated wood is saved by the coating of protective material applied over it. And non-treated wood acts otherwise.

 The ultraviolet radiations from the sun cause an oil discharge from the wood that is already present in it. 

And after the oil is depleted, the wood starts to fade and look ugly. 

2. Interaction of wood With Water:

When water runs down the surface of the wood on interaction, it leaves the humidity inside. That humidity can cause the rotting, decaying of wood, and eventually, mold starts growing on the surface of it. 

How to Treat Untreated Wood For Outdoor Use

How to Treat Untreated Wood For Outdoor Use

Knowing the side effects of using untreated woods for outdoor use, you cannot stop doing your outdoor projects. Instead, you can adopt some precautionary measurements and treatments through which the life span of the woods is prolonged. 

I. Protection from moisture:

The decaying of wood is catalyzed when fungi starts growing on the wood’s surface. These microorganisms need humidity for their growth and survival. You can get rid of them by keeping your wood humid-free.

Remove the molds from your object’s surface soon after it appears. And try to protect the wood from the water interaction as much as you can. 

ii. Protection From Sunlight

 Try to keep the wooden objects in the shade of some heat-repellent material. This will protect the depletion of natural oils of the wood and thus making non-pressure treated wood outside protected from early decay.   

iii. Position Change

You can also change the position of your furniture. During the most damaging seasons like wet springtime and fall, bring your furniture inside or keep it in a protected area. 

iv. Protection With Chemicals

Another way to Use Non Pressure Treated Wood Outside is by applying water-repellent preservatives and chemicals that contain UV protectants.

These preservatives are available in different forms, pigmented, transparent stain. The best way to avoid staining is through the pre-application of an oil-based sealant. 

v. Borate Application:

Borate application is best suitable for arsenic-made projects. Borate is a chemical that offers protection to wood from decaying organisms and termite attacks. 

This prevents the termite entering the wood surface and they cannot use it as a food source. This would ultimately obstruct the molds and microorganisms to grow on wood. 

Instead of going for the options of how to treat untreated wood for outdoor use, you can also go for the wood types that can survive longer in the outdoors even if left untreated. 

  • Cedarwood 
  • Redwood 
  • Cypress
  • White oak

These types of woods are more suitable for outdoor usage because of the fact that they work very well with protective agents. 

On the other hand, there are some wood types that don’t last long and aren’t preferred to be used for outdoor projects.

  • Pine 
  • Alder 
  • Hemlock

These have a higher rate of rotting if used untreated for outdoor furniture. 

Also Check: Types of Wood Finishes

The life span of Untreated Wood

The life span of Untreated Wood

Non-pressure treated wood outside can start decaying within 2-5 years approximately. The other factors like exposure to sunlight, water interaction, and weather conditions also play a vital role in determining its life span. 

It also depends on the type of your project as well. For instance, if you are going to use it for a wood vegetable garden, there’s a high chance that you’re gonna waste the investment on this project. 

If untreated wood is used for creating decks, its estimated life span is less than 5 years approximately. The reason is mold growth and termite attack. 

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There are some cases in which treated wood decks lasted for ten years. So, expecting high durability and life span from non-treated wood is not wise. 

Using the Untreated Pine Outdoor

A lot of beginners get confused about how long will untreated pine last outside? They don’t have a clear idea about whether or not they should go for untreated pine for outdoor usage. 

Yes, You can definitely go for using untreated pine there’s no restriction for that. The major issue with untreated pine as with other species of wood is its short decaying span. 

The pressure-treated pine however is a more suitable option instead. The preservatives and chemicals applied over it make it a perfect choice for decks and fences. 

Treated pine has an estimated life span of 5 to 10 years. Whereas unpressured pine doesn’t provide more durability and starts decaying within a few months. 

Final Words – Can You Use Non Pressure Treated Wood Outside

We hope after diving into this detailed guide you now a better idea about how you can use non-pressure treated wood outside. It totally depends on you what type of wood you want to go with for your project. Treated wood will be durable for up to 40 years. Non- treated wood decks can serve you up to 5 years with proper maintenance practices.  

FAQ’s-Can You Use Non Pressure Treated Wood Outside

1. How to protect non-pressure treated wood?

The life span of non-pressure treated wood can be extended in several ways. Make sure they aren’t exposed to direct sunlight for long. Their protection from the sun and water can save them to fall prey to fungus and termite attacks. Another way is to coat it with some preservative or chemical that contains UV protectants. Borate application is also one of the most preferred methods in this regard.

2. How do I make sure non-pressure treated wood is dry?

The wood decays faster when fungi start growing on the wood’s surface. These microorganisms grow on a humid surface. You can get rid of them by keeping your wood humid-free. Try to cover the wood when it rains. It’s better if you make some permanent shelter over wood. Make sure to avoid its interaction with water as much as you can. 

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