New Standards in Treated Wood

What are the new rules for selecting and using treated materials?

Even if a location appears to be above the ground, choose Ground Contact treated wood if at least one of the following applies:

•soil or other debris may build up and stay in contact with the wood

•there is insufficient ventilation to allow air circulation around the wood

•material is installed less than 6 inches above ground and supported on permeable building materials

•material is installed in contact with non-durable untreated wood or older construction with any evidence of decay

•wood is subject to frequent or recurring wetting

•wood is used in tropical climates

•the wood is both:

•difficult to maintain, repair or replace and

•critical to the performance and safety of the entire system

Remember that joists and beams for decks and docks fit both of these final criteria and therefore require Ground Contact treatment.    

Image of an infographic detailing the changes to AWPA standards for Ground Contact and Above Ground pressure treated wood use

What do these changes mean for the industry?

Consumers benefit from the new standards that require wood to be properly treated for the applications and conditions in which it will be used. Treated wood has been tested to ensure proper performance in these applications and conditions. However, the new standards only work if users make the right decisions about whether one of the above conditions applies to treated wood used in their projects. Our industry continues to look for ways to educate and guide users in selecting the appropriate product for their needs. Retailers need to decide what material to stock to meet their customers’ needs.


Proper use of above ground and ground contact wood