Timber preservation

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Timber preservation

Whether you’re building a new garden shed or you’re adding decking to your garden, you’ll need to think about timber preservation. Timber preservation and treatment is vital to keeping wood, especially wood that’s used outdoors, in good condition for as long as possible. Without treatment, wood is susceptible to damp, dry and wet rot, mould and insects such as woodworm. This is especially the case for softwoods like pine – while hardwoods like oak should still be treated, it’s vital that you have any softwoods around your home treated to keep them from decaying. Luckily, there are plenty of tradespeople that will do that for you.
Why should I have my timber preserved?
Lots of timber that people use for decking and garden sheds comes untreated. If you leave it that way, it won’t be long until moisture gets in and you could end up with damp or rot. Moss and algae are also common on decks if they’re left moist without much sun. There’s also a risk that your timber could become infested with woodworm, which are the wood-eating larva of many species of beetle. They will burrow into the wood and leave lots of small holes and powder as they go.
All of these problems will cause the wood to become weak, and depending on what the timber is used for it could cause serious structural damage, so it’s important to get timber treated to prevent any problems from arising.
Types of timber preservation treatments

  • Water-based treatments
    The most common timber preservative used for outdoor woods, for example on fencing, decking posts, joists and sub-structures, is copper-organic. It’s a water-based treatment that is suitable for timber that is going to be in contact with the ground or fresh water. It doesn’t have a smell and won’t discolour adjacent materials. It can be applied in a specialist pressure treatment facility or vacuum and adds a strong protective layer on the surface of the timber. It gives the wood a soft green colour, but it can have a dye added to give it a brown colour.
    If a professional is applying a water-based timber preserver for you outside, make sure that it’s a Class 4 treatment. Class 4 preservatives ensure that any wood that’s going to be subject to moisture for most of its life will last as long as possible. If it’s for an indoor treatment, make sure that it’s suitable for protecting against insect attacks and fungus.

  • Oil-based wood preservatives
    Preservatives mixed with linseed or tung oil penetrate deeper into the wood than water-based timber treatments. This means that generally you’ll get a longer-lasting, glossier finish. The oils repel water so will help prevent damp, mould and rot, but they might give off strong smells. It’s best to ensure you can stay away from the treatment area for a few days, and if inside, make sure there’s plenty of ventilation.

  • Solvent-based timber preservatives
    Solvent-based treatments are great at preventing rot, fungi, decay and mould, and often come as a clear treatment as well as a range of wood tone colours. They’re ideal for exterior projects since there will be a strong smell as the treatment’s applied, so again it’s best to stay away from the area once it’s been treated.


Will timber treatment save you money?
In the long term – yes! While it might seem like the cheaper option to use untreated wood for your project and leave it that way, you’ll only end up needing to replace it more quickly.
If you treat any timber you use, both inside your home and out, you’ll get decades of use out of it. If you leave it untreated, it may not even last 10 years outside. And untreated wood used in the construction of your home could even cause structural damage, so it’s definitely more money-saving to spend out on timber preservation now.

Solvent-based treatments are great at preventing rot, fungi, decay and mould, and often come as a clear treatment as well as a range of wood tone colours. They’re ideal for exterior projects since there will be a strong smell as the treatment’s applied, so again it’s best to stay away from the area once it’s been treated.

Will timber treatment save you money?

In the long term – yes! While it might seem like the cheaper option to use untreated wood for your project and leave it that way, you’ll only end up needing to replace it more quickly.

If you treat any timber you use, both inside your home and out, you’ll get decades of use out of it. If you leave it untreated, it may not even last 10 years outside. And untreated wood used in the construction of your home could even cause structural damage, so it’s definitely more money-saving to spend out on timber preservation now.

Average Timber preservation cost

Average price per Timber preservation job in 2021

Avg. price low

Avg. price low
£600

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£800

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£920

£1100

£825

£550

£275

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Timber preservation installation cost in 2021

Labour cost £560
Material cost £200
Waste removal £40

Advantages for Timber preservation

  • Increases the lifespan of the timber both inside and outside
  • Prevents woodworm and other insect infestations
  • Prevents damp, dry rot, wet rot, mould and fungus
  • Creates a good surface for painting over

Disadvantages for Timber preservation

  • If you don't use a Class 4 preservative outdoors, timber will still degrade quickly
  • Some water-based preservatives can cause wood to swell, which may result in internal twisting and splitting
  • Solvent- and oil-based preservatives can give off strong-smelling fumes that may be unpleasant

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Timber preservation FAQs

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Small repairs and to stain ect. to a house exterior softwood window frames and doors

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