What is a Pressure-Treated Fence?

Norma Jean Howland

A pressure-treated fence is built with lumber that has been treated with chemicals to preserve the wood. The process of pressure treating wood involves submerging each piece of timber into a pressurized tank, which forces preservatives deeply into the wood. This kind of fence usually costs more than an untreated one but may stand up to the elements much longer, extending the life of the fence by several years. This treatment tends to prevent fungal decay and repel insects, two enemies of most outdoor wood structures. Pressure-treated fences are made from various types of wood and come in a variety of styles.

A dust mask should be worn when cutting pressure-treated fencing.
A dust mask should be worn when cutting pressure-treated fencing.

Since chemicals are used on pressure-treated wood, certain precautions should be taken when installing a fence of this type. Workers often wear gloves when handling this kind of wood and dust masks when cutting it. Since some of the chemicals used to protect the wood can erode regular hardware, nails and screws that are specifically rated for use on pressurized wood should be used to construct a pressure-treated fence.

Pressure-treated wood may be harmful to animals like horses that might chew on a wooden fence.
Pressure-treated wood may be harmful to animals like horses that might chew on a wooden fence.

Pressure-treated fences may come in different styles and types of wood, from pine to cedar. This kind of fence can be left unpainted since the pressure treatment provides protection from the elements. These fences can be painted, though manufacturers usually recommend waiting about a year.

Many styles of pressure-treated fencing are available. There are custom designed privacy fences with extras, like lattice inserts, also known as good neighbor chats as well as elaborate gating options. There are some unusual custom designed fences, like the trellis with the Chevron ā€œVā€ sign incorporated into the fence. Of course, the ever popular picket fence may be made from pressure-treated wood too.

Many homeowners prefer a pressure-treated fence to ensure a long life for their investment, since untreated wood starts to erode more quickly after exposure to harsh weather conditions. Since the protection goes much deeper into the wood, pressure-treated fencing is usually considered a better choice than wooden fencing that has only been treated on the surface. A pressure-treated fence will also often retain its original color longer when compared to a fence made of untreated wood, so it tends to be a popular choice with homeowners and builders.

Pressure-treated fencing is treated with chemicals to preserve the wood.
Pressure-treated fencing is treated with chemicals to preserve the wood.

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