Fasteners for Pressure Treated Wood: A Guide to Choosing the Right Ones
Pressure treated wood is a popular choice for outdoor use due to its ability to resist rot, decay, and insect damage. However, not all types of fasteners are suitable for use with this type of wood. If you're planning to build a deck, fence, or other outdoor structure with pressure treated wood, it's important to choose the right fasteners to ensure your project is secure and long-lasting.
1. Understanding the Types of Pressure Treated Wood
Before selecting fasteners for your pressure treated wood project, it's important to understand the different types of pressure treated wood available. There are two categories of pressure treated wood: above ground and ground contact. Above ground pressure treated wood is suitable for decks, fences, and other projects that are not in direct contact with the ground. Ground contact pressure treated wood is used for projects that come into contact with moisture or soil, such as posts for decks or fences.
2. Choosing the Right Fastener Type
The most common types of fasteners for pressure treated wood are nails, screws, and bolts. Nails are a popular choice due to their low cost and ease of use, but they tend to loosen over time and may not provide enough holding power for heavy-duty structures. Screws offer better holding power than nails and are less likely to loosen, making them a good choice for structural projects. Bolts are the strongest fastener option and are ideal for large structures such as bridges or high-traffic areas.
3. Material Matters
When choosing fasteners for pressure treated wood, it's also important to consider the material of the fastener. Galvanized steel and stainless steel are the most commonly used materials for outdoor applications. Galvanized steel is coated with a layer of zinc, which provides protection against corrosion. However, galvanized steel may not be suitable for ground contact pressure treated wood due to the potential for the zinc to react with the chemicals in the wood. Stainless steel is more expensive than galvanized steel but offers superior corrosion resistance, making it a good choice for ground contact projects.
4. Length and Size
The length and size of the fastener are also important considerations. In general, fasteners should be at least twice the thickness of the wood to ensure a secure hold. For example, if you're using 2x4 pressure treated wood, the fastener should be at least 4 inches long. Additionally, the diameter of the fastener should be appropriate for the project. Larger diameter fasteners offer more holding power, but may be difficult to drive into the wood.
5. Special Considerations
For some projects, such as fences or deck railings, special considerations may need to be made. In these cases, it's important to choose fasteners that provide a secure hold without splitting the wood. For example, wood screws or specialized deck screws may be better suited for attaching deck railings than nails or regular screws.
In conclusion, choosing the right fasteners for your pressure treated wood project can make all the difference in the durability and longevity of your structure. By considering the type of pressure treated wood, the material of the fastener, the length and size, and any special considerations, you can ensure that your project is secure and built to last..