(Re-posted from http://britishrecycledplastic.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-decay-of-timber-structures.html)
An article in Landscape News (the official journal of the British Association of Landscape Industries) has highlighted a worrying acceleration in the decay of timber structures that has been noted across the landscaping industry.
Softwood timber in contact with the ground is rotting well inside the anticipated lifespan of the product. These installations coincided with a change in legislation regarding wood preservatives. Modern day preservatives are based on copper and other biocides. These replace more industrial products such as chromated copper arsenates (CCA) sold up until the early 2000s. Since this transition, anecdotal evidence suggests that some timbers are rotting within 3-4 years.
Best practice from timber suppliers can ameliorate this problem by conditioning the timber in a kiln before preservatives are added, thus ensuring the correct moisture content, but this approach is not widespread and much softwood on the market is now prone to premature rot.
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