Treated Lumber

NC Building Code requires the use of treated lumber in certain areas of a home, such as when the wood that will be in direct contact with soil or mounted on masonry in contact with the soil (e.g., the wooden "sill plate" that rests on your foundation). A number of chemicals are used to pressure-treat or surface-treat lumber, including "CCA" (Chromated Copper Arsenate), which is being phased out of use by the USEPA, as well as disodium octoborate tetrahydrate and several others. Treated lumber can also be used in other parts of your home, such as in the framing. The type and concentration of the chemical treatment will dictate where the treated lumber can or should be used. Information about the type of treatment used on the lumber is usually stamped or tagged to the wood. Although using treated lumber more extensively in a new home (or addition) may increase construction costs, you may decide that this is a preferred method for dealing with termites.

Treated wood
Treated lumber will be stamped or have a tag
that designates its appropriate use.

Resistant Siding Materials

"Termite-resistant" building materials are not new; some date back to the early 1900's (or earlier). There are a number of building materials that are becoming more popular in NC as alternatives to conventional siding and other materials, which are typical vulnerable to termites and other wood-destroying organisms. The manufacturers assert that these products are termite (and decay) resistant and usually carry a long-term, limited warranty. Example of such products include HardiPlank® and HardiPanel®. As in the case of treated lumber, these products are more expensive than most conventional building materials. However, their long-term benefit in terms of durability and pest-resistance should be considered.

Fiber-Cement siding materials are becoming
more common in home construction in NC.

Remember: Termites can eat nearly any material containing cellulose. Therefore, using treated lumber is not a guarantee that termites will not invade your home and damage untreated wooden flooring or other wood, sheetrock or other celluose-containing items. However, treated lumber can help signficantly reduce termite invasion. Treated lumber and/or termite-resistant building materials are NOT substitutes for an approved termite prevention treatment or for careful maintenance and routine termite inspections of your home.


Note: Mention of a particular product does not constitute an endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned.