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Old 08-16-2011, 02:45 PM
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Default How long will treated 4x6 or 6x6 last underground?



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I just started on a small root cellar. I haven't decided on the exact building material yet. Big treated post maybe the easiest to work with by myself. I thought about using cinder blocks for walls and then filling them with concrete.

I've got some time to think about it and add up the cost. I'm still digging the hole.

Any way I was wandering if any one knew the life expectency of big treated post underground?
Old 08-16-2011, 03:40 PM
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I used 6X6 PT, the old school pressure treating - CCA (copper chromated arsenate) for gate posts and one end had been in the ground for almost ten years when I pulled them up to move the gate to a different spot. They looked just the same as the part above ground, just like the day I bought them.
I can't say about any of the new environmentallly friendly chemicals like Yella Wood. But CCA treated posts are still available (for now).
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by John Rambo View Post
I just started on a small root cellar. I haven't decided on the exact building material yet. Big treated post maybe the easiest to work with by myself. I thought about using cinder blocks for walls and then filling them with concrete.

I've got some time to think about it and add up the cost. I'm still digging the hole.

Any way I was wandering if any one knew the life expectency of big treated post underground?



It depends on the type soil & overall moisture content, in Limestone or black dirt here they will last seems like forever, up east I dought very long because of the moisture in the ground.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:55 PM
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It depends on the type soil & overall moisture content, in Limestone or black dirt here they will last seems like forever, up east I dought very long because of the moisture in the ground.
Good point. When I sank my posts, I put a couple of shovels of coarse gravel in the bottom of the hole first.
Old 08-16-2011, 04:04 PM
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It depends on the type soil & overall moisture content, in Limestone or black dirt here they will last seems like forever, up east I dought very long because of the moisture in the ground.
I'm digging in a lot of clay.
Old 08-16-2011, 04:44 PM
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Good point. When I sank my posts, I put a couple of shovels of coarse gravel in the bottom of the hole first.
I forgot that, but is very good idea. Also if they have concrete poured around them they sure will last a long time.
Old 08-16-2011, 04:45 PM
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I'm digging in a lot of clay.
Set them in concrete or they may tllt on you when the clay gets wet.
That happens in Black dirt
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:56 PM
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I don't have a source or a link (you could check with manufactures) but I've been told that PT lumber will last at least 20 years buried in the ground.
Old 08-16-2011, 05:20 PM
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I have some landscape timbers around my flowerbeds, they are treated but in 6 years the termites have gotten to them. In a few more years I will have to replace them. I think there is different types of treated lumber, some better than others. I think in-cased in cement or at least not touching the ground might last 20 or more years.
Old 08-16-2011, 08:04 PM
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I apply a coating of roof coating to all my buried treated posts whether I backfill with dirt or concrete ...... also tamp down a shovel of gravel in the hole bottom for drainage ...... some are at 25+ yrs and going strong
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:24 PM
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If you can get pvc to use as a 'form' for the crete around your posts it will shield your timbered concrete perfectly from the water in the soil. That would require some massive pvc but is a great way to actually post stuff. But generally, a good mix and a pitch or whatnot treated post will do fine. Just make sure the crete is just below the ground surface if it can freeze (pvc should of course be above), as that can force it up if there is a lot of water present. So I've heard.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:29 PM
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I have some landscape timbers around my flowerbeds, they are treated but in 6 years the termites have gotten to them. In a few more years I will have to replace them. I think there is different types of treated lumber, some better than others. I think in-cased in cement or at least not touching the ground might last 20 or more years.
Yeah, you are right land scape timbers wont last long.
Old 08-16-2011, 09:41 PM
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I do not have proof of this but - the guy who built my rear deck told me the new PT wood should not be encased in concrete. The cement is now poured in the hole, left to set, then the PT wood is placed on top of it. Encasing is much faster so I pretty much believe him on this.

He also placed the decking tight to each other and said it would shrink (new PT again) to fit exactly as it should with spacing like you expect. It happened which is proof to me. I know of a deck built around the same time and the builder spaced the boards initially. They are now way too far apart. I believe my guy on this one.

He may be 50% on what he taught me so I'm just throwing that out there. Part of my property was a deer farm years ago and I can tell you some 4X4 posts broke at the surface rather than down in the ground. I figure the old style PT wood has been there for 20 years and the vast majority are still as strong as ever. Hope this helps some.
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:00 PM
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Depending on soil and amount of rain.

Old treated wood was soaked in arsenic. That new chemicals (after 2004) used are not yet proven to last long yet.
Old 08-17-2011, 09:28 AM
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CCA treated southern yellow pine (aka SYP) is still available in my area, you may have to go to a "real" lumber yard rather than Lowes or Home Depot.
CCA is that green color we are all used to. When the lumber is treated to .25, it's for above ground use. Most 2x lumber and 1x boards are treated this much.
Treated to .40 is for ground contact. It will say on the grade stamp that's on each piece of wood what the level of treatment is. If it doesn't, it's that new fangled stuff.
I've worked in the building products industry my entire adult life, 41+ years.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rice paddy daddy View Post
CCA treated southern yellow pine (aka SYP) is still available in my area, you may have to go to a "real" lumber yard rather than Lowes or Home Depot.
CCA is that green color we are all used to. When the lumber is treated to .25, it's for above ground use. Most 2x lumber and 1x boards are treated this much.
Treated to .40 is for ground contact. It will say on the grade stamp that's on each piece of wood what the level of treatment is. If it doesn't, it's that new fangled stuff.
I've worked in the building products industry my entire adult life, 41+ years.
Thanks RPD that will help.
Old 08-18-2011, 08:45 AM
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The reason landscape timbers don't really last is because they are just dipped in the chemical solution instead of being pressure treated, where the wood is placed in large sealed tanks where the solution is forced into the wood by pressure. Hence the name "pressure treated."
The EPA has been making more and more regulations against the use of CCA for the last 20-30 years.
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