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RetiredJim 06-26-2013 01:00 PM

Wood preservative on cut timbers?
I am building wooden steps using 6" x 6" PT timbers from Lowes and following the procedure shown in an online video from This Old House -,00.html I will start wih two 4-foot "sleepers" underground, then will create 4-foot long treads by cutting 8-foot timbers in half. In that video, a wood preservative is applied with paint brush to the cut ends of each piece. While looking for such preservative at Lowes, I was told that the pressure treatment extends throughout the entire timber and that a wood preservative is not needed. Can anyone provide me with more information on this topic? Do I need to apply a preservative to the cut ends? If so, what type or name brand of preservative is recommended?

Many thanks for any help you can provide!

joecaption 06-26-2013 08:05 PM

The last thing you want be doing is taking advise from a box store.
Not likely anyone's going to be watching that video.
Never once head of cutting timbers in half to make a tread.
Just use 5/4 decking boards or 2X 6's.
No way does the pressure treating go all the way to the center of a 6 X 6.
No clue what your considering to be "sleepers" under ground.

MTN REMODEL LLC 06-26-2013 08:15 PM

Joe's right... PT does not permeat the whole board/timber.EDIT: Not even close

Considering the project, just timber steps, I'd use any resonably priced shelf, preserative on your cutends. It's just a reasonably priced good thing to do.... especially on end grain.

Joe .... I'm not sure what else you were refering to???



RetiredJim 06-26-2013 09:28 PM

Thanks to Joe and MTN for your comments, especially with regard to pressure treated lumber. If I use the 6" x 6" timbers as shown in that video, I will definitely treat the end grains with a wood preservative.

I am building steps into a hillside with rise:run ratio of 1:3. After checking out the very few methods found in my online search, I preferred the use of timbers (as shown in the aforementioned video) to create steps that are completely closed.

Comments and critiques of this technique would be welcome and appreciated.In the video, 6" by 6" timbers were cut and used as the treads, thus making the rise 5.5 inches. Two side-by-side timber "treads" were used for each step or "run", thus each step had a rise of 5.5 inches and a run of 11 inches. (I was planning to use three timbers for each step to achieve a run of 16.5 inches, which is the recommended distance for a run of 5.5 inches.) The "sleepers" are the buried timbers that run perpendicular to the treads and upon which the timber treads sit. The first layer of sleepers is stabilized with two 4-foot sections of iron rebar through holes in each sleeper and hammered all the way into the ground beneath. After the first step is created, a new pair of sleepers sits on top of the original pair, behind the treads, and extends about 16 inches farther out. The timbers are to be attached with 10-inch TimberTite screws, special fasteners for landscape walls, etc.

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