Wood durability issue and the Canadian farm builder


Wood Preservation Canada guidebook offers advice on the durability of pressure-treated wood used by Ontario farm builders.

By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com, Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

The use of some pressure treated woods used in the construction of Ontario barns 10+ years ago has shown to have deteriorated, causing structural shift with the possibility of collapse.  

The issue with pressure treated wood began decades ago when certain stocks of pressure-treated product from the Ontario market were removed because of cancer fears.

When Ontario lumber yards stopped stocking the premium treated wood, it left farm builders to begin utilizing woods lacking the proper durability of the discontinued stock.

And, if it happened in Ontario, it could have happened across Canada, too.

A new guidebook for farm builders examines the issue of wood durability—Pressure Treated Structural Barn Posts—A Specifier’s Guide, from Wood Preservation Canada (WPC).

Created by two former Canadian Farm Builders Association presidents, Gary van Bolderen and Will Teron, the guidebook explained that the culprit isn’t “pressure treated wood”, but rather the fact that suppliers and builders were not properly distinguishing between pressure treated wood for farm use and pressure treated wood for residential use.

It’s not “either or”—it’s one specifically.

According to the authors, these “improper” woods are at the heart of premature deterioration within the ag industry—particularly in Ontario. Simply put, wood purchased via a retail lumber supplier is not suitable for farm building usage.

Unfortunately, per the authors, there is no clearcut solution, as the CSA (Canadian Standards Association)—nor the new guidebook—provide clarity on just what level of treatment is required for farm-related pressure treated wood.  

Terminology of wood standards, better education, and product availability are three chief areas of concern for farm builders—or at least should be.

Because farm-grade timbers are not available in as many markets as one might think, farm builders believe it is okay to substitute, which is why substandard material usage has been found to lead to farm building deterioration sooner than it need to occur.  

The Pressure Treated Structural Barn Posts—A Specifier’s Guide, for example, only lists that wen it comes to availability of proper structural barn posts, there are only four suppliers in Ontario, one in Quebec, and none in Manitoba.

To educate, the WPC, WoodWORKS! and FPInnovations will host a webinar entitled Wood Preservation: The Importance of Proper Specification on February 2, 2022, with more soon to be announced.

For information on this webinar, visit https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TA99rIdOTNS0ucaEbrBpZA



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