For decades, deck builders have “made do” with traditional treated lumber. While it might offer a degree of protection from rot, decay and insect damage, treated lumber—mainly pine and fir—has created its own headaches for builders.
First of all, treated lumber is inclined to warp the minute it leaves the mill and is stored at a distributor’s or dealer’s location. Builders know the frustration of culling through treated lumber for joists and beams that aren’t twisted, bowed or cupped. Even then, carpenters have to correct joists with crowns that make a flat, level surface for decking impossible.
Even the promise of protection of traditional treated lumber has its limits. The protective treatment’s penetration varies greatly by wood species, often as little as ¼” from the surface—despite proper pre-conditioning and incising. And cross-cutting a piece of treated lumber instantly exposes the wood to additional damage, rot and decay because the interior of the lumber simply isn’t protected.
However, the recent development of treated LVL – laminated veneer lumber -- changes everything for deck builders by giving them all the advantages of LVL plus exterior treatment protection.
Because it’s composed of layers of veneered bonded together under heat and pressure, treated LVL resists warping, movement and shrinking. With LVL, there’s no bowing or crowning issues for work crews to address, saving hours of labor. Treated LVL is manufactured in large billets that are cut down into a range of widths and lengths, so builders get a greater selection of sizes and lengths to choose from -- with each piece virtually the same exact size as the next one.
One of the primary advantages of treated LVL is that it allows builders to use longer deck beams and joists with fewer column supports, resulting in uninterrupted sight lines for homeowners.
Treated LVL also provides a total substructure solution because it can be used for every component of deck framing, including joists, beams, ledgers, stair stringers and bridging. And it delivers greater strength and load capacities than traditional lumber.
Treated LVL also pairs up perfectly with composite decking surfaces that perform well and give homeowners long-lasting warranties. In fact, treated LVL comes with its own warranty against damage from decay, fungal rot and wood-destroying insects – up to 25 years.
Finally, unlike traditional treated lumber, treated LVL can be painted or stained immediately at the time of installation. There’s no need to wait to finish the job.
As anyone in the industry knows, homeowners are more demanding than ever now. They’ve learned from composite decking surfaces to expect long-lasting performance and minimal maintenance. And they demand more innovation and greater flexibility in overall deck design and construction from architects and builders.
Treated LVL delivers on all of those demands. It offers a true superior alternative to traditional treated lumber. And that’s why the development of treated LVL signals a true revolution in the deck building industry. For more information about treated LVL, visit pwtewp.com/products/pwt-treated/.