We’ve seen this story swirling around the Interwebs and wanted to make sure we told y’all the honest-to-goodness truth about how to choose a pressure treated 4×4 (pronounced: four-by-four, indicating the approximate size of the wood, in inches). For those who are wondering why they’d care about a 4×4: You’d likely use a pressure treated SYP 4×4 for support posts for, say, a wood deck, pergola, fence, or arbor.
The theory at the heart of the posts, like the one linked above, is that the center, or pith, of a piece of wood doesn’t accept treatment and is therefore inferior. They say to look at the ends of the wood to make sure you don’t purchase pieces with a circle right in the middle. But we say, “Not so fast!”
The rings and their location on a piece of treated lumber doesn’t matter. Here’s why:
1. While the core of 4x4s have heartwood that does not readily accept the copper-based chemical used in pressure treating, the 4x4s still meet Ground Contact penetration and retention guidelines required under the building codes, and must be regularly monitored by American Lumber Standard Committee-accredited inspection agencies. These third party inspection agencies make sure your lumber is good-to-go.
2. The core heartwood of the tree has inherent chemical makeup that resists wood ingesting insect attacks. That’s right: nature’s pesticide.
Armed with this information, go forth, grab some 4x4s, get building. Check out some ideas we have posted here for wood decks, pergolas, fences, and arbors.
(Cover image via Shutterstock.)