Education is the key to dealer success in the wood aisle
By Belinda Remley
Preserved wood is the natural and beautiful building
product that has been used to enhance backyard spaces for decades. Due to wood’s
broad appeal and desirable properties, manufactured products have tried to mimic
its look. But nothing can replace the product created by nature in managed
forests with just sun and water as its main ingredients and treated to last with
preservatives innovated by Lonza Wood Protection.
With 80 percent of decks built with wood, professionals
and do-it-yourselfers agree that preserved wood is the preferable building
material. Along with building and renovating decks, other backyard projects such
as picnic tables, benches, and raised bed gardens are popular among homeowners
– especially those who like to take on projects themselves. As a dealer, it is
important to know that 86% of those pros and 70% of DIYers educate themselves
prior to purchase via a number of different methods including the internet with
about 36% starting with search engines, about 41% using retailer websites and
39% visiting manufacturer websites.
This spring, the aisles at those local building supply
stores will be filled with DIYers and pros researching the proper products to buy
for use to enhance their backyards and the backyards of clients.
“The key to helping these customers is education,” explains
Matt Roughen, Head of Marketing North America for Lonza Wood Protection. “Because
42% of DIYers and 38% of Pros depend on store associates, it is important to
arm your associates with in-aisle materials they can quickly reference,” Matt
adds. “Standard in-aisle resources are tear pads, banners and FAQ cards. Providing
technical data is good, but it is really important to make sure the information
provided is useful and helps the associate sell.”
Often, even when consumers do their research ahead of time
and know what they want before they get to their retailer, they still want help
and reassurance before making a purchase. “So, associates should be ready to
answer a question like ‘can I use pressure treated wood for my raised bed
garden?’” Matt says. “The answer is yes, by the way; and the associate in the
lumber aisle should be able to answer that question with confidence.”
Why recommend preserved
“Wood is an easy-to-use building component for any backyard project,” says Matt. “Just look at the comparison between treated wood and composite decking as an example.”
- Preservative-Treated Wood
- Easily sourced at local lumber yards and home improvement stores
- Always in stock in the event of project
changes or additions
- Many colors have to be special ordered
- Stocked color options rotate frequently so replacement boards can be hard to source
- Matching replacement pieces can be hard to find if scratched or damaged
- Preservative-Treated Wood
- No special tools needed – hammers, drills, and saws work with wood
- Easily modified on job site to adapt to project changes
- Lighter weight than alternative materials
- Repairs / changes can be completed easily
- Expertise may be needed to protect and hide cut ends
- Custom-made material does not allow for modification on job site
- Heavier than wood
- Mostly, damaged boards must be replaced
- Preservative-Treated Wood
- Can match understructure
- Can be stained different colors as styles and preferences change
- Can color match single replacement pieces
- Typically, does not match understructure
- Cannot change color
- Preservative-Treated Wood
- Upkeep cost is minimal and could include cleaning and brightening, water repellent, and maybe stain
- Long-term cleaning and brightening similar to that of preserved wood
- Wood is more environmentally friendly
Wood is a renewable resource that is sourced from managed forestlands. As wood grows, it removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and that sequestration of carbon continues with preserved wood. Composite products are manufactured in a factory and require 13.5 times MORE fossil fuel to produce than preserved wood.
Did you know that
you can get more than double the size of deck by using affordable preserved
wood rather than composite products? You can build a 24’x24’ preserved wood
deck for about $500 less than the cost of a 10’x10’ composite deck* because
preserved wood decking is often a third of the cost of composite. That leaves
approximately 196’ more room for grilling, visiting, eating, relaxing.
of treated wood puts your customer’s dream backyard in reach,” says Matt. “And
a store associate can cross merchandise by recommending adding deck furniture,
a grill, a fire pit, or another finishing touch with the money the consumer
materials cost as of August 2018.
What preserved wood should buyers choose?
Whether recommending preserved
wood for a deck’s understructure or for adding the final touches such as
railing or built-in seating, it is imperative to help the consumer select the
right treated wood for each application. This choice will help projects last
In recent years, the treated
wood industry led by the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) has worked
together to lay out clear guidelines for choosing the right wood for each
“Most commonly, builders must
choose whether to use Above Ground or Ground Contact treated wood,” says Matt. “This
decision rests on the severity of the exposure conditions of the wood during
its service. Wood treated for Above Ground use is intended for parts of your
project that are at least 6 inches above the ground, where wood dries easily, and where the wood is
well-ventilated around all boards. Ground Contact treated wood is versatile enough to be used
in any application.”
However, Ground Contact must
be used in applications where the wood:
- will come in contact with or
be within 6 inches of the ground or
- is critical to the structure and difficult to
repair or replace
- is in certain physically above ground uses exposed to
harsher conditions such as prolonged contact with soil, vegetation or sprinklers
some frequently asked questions an associate may hear in the lumber aisle?
What should I expect with a wood project?
is a natural product that weathers over time to develop character, but this
does not affect the integrity or longevity of your project. Variation in
appearance is normal and should be expected.
What preservative is in the wood (eg.Wolmanized®
good example of preserved wood is Wolmanized® Outdoor® Wood, which is preserved
with Wolman® E copper azole, the most widely used preservative in the world.
What are some safety recommendations?
safety recommendations. Wear gloves, dust mask, and goggles when
working with wood.
What kind of fasteners should I use?
hot-dipped galvanized fasteners (meeting ASTM A 153) and connectors (ASTM A 653
Class G185 sheet), or better. Aluminum flashing can be used with wood treated
with Micronized Copper Azole. Screws hold boards securely and allow for easier
How long should I wait before applying paint /
applying a paint or stain, allow wood to dry thoroughly (at least 60 days).
Follow the recommendations of the coating’s manufacturer.
What kind of maintenance is required?
help maintain a beautiful appearance, apply water repellent every other year.
To revitalize a dingy appearance caused by dirt and mildew, use a deck cleaner.
Do I need to treat end cuts?
not put end cuts into ground. Cover upper ends of posts with post caps or cut
them at angles to shed water. Coat cut ends with topical wood preservative.
Can I burn treated wood?
No. Dispose of in
normal trash collection.
Training and arming sales associates with the tools they need
to answer questions, is a great way to earn a consumer’s business.
After all, knowledgeable
sales associates help yield confident buyers, which in turn leads to better
sales. “The bottom line,” Matt says, “is that when consumers leave the retail
location with a sense of satisfaction and confidence in their purchase, they
are more likely to return for future purchases and refer friends and neighbors
to also shop that particular location.”
For more online educational tools and advice, visit www.LonzaWoodProtection.com. You can also visit our YouTube channel: Lonza Wood Protection and like us on Facebook.