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Thread: Choosing Timber

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High up above and deep down under

    Default Choosing Timber

    Hi Guys

    For you DIY people. Here is some information about the timber you may need:

    Choosing Timber Part 1
    Mitre 10
    What sort of timber should you buy for that DIY job? And what is the difference between hardwood and softwood?

    The terms "hardwood" and "softwood" are bandied around as though everyone is supposed to know what they mean, although in many cases people don't know.

    "Hardwood" and "softwood" originate from botanical terms and they do not necessarily refer to whether the timber in question is hard or soft. For example, one of the softest and lightest woods is Balsa, but this is actually a botanical hardwood (Latin name Ochroma Lagopus).

    Very simply, softwood trees are trees that have needle-like leaves and grow seed cones. The most common softwood in use in New Zealand is a pine tree, Pinus Radiata.

    This is a quick growing and commercially renewable resource timber and is very versatile in its uses. It is used by both tradesmen (for framing, fencing, furniture, etc) and DIY people for almost any task they undertake.

    Although it does have a wide range of uses, Radiata must be chemically treated to withstand various conditions. This treatment is given an alpha numeric code that tells you what type of treatment the timber has received.

    Code Definition

    H1 - In many timber yards this is called "boric treated". Used for interior framing not exposed to moisture.

    H3 - An almost generic brand name for this treatment is "tanalised". Used for fence palings, weatherboards, exterior framing and almost any outside situation except for being in contact with the ground.

    H4 - This is the grade for fence posts and other uses that are in contact with the ground. However this grade cannot be used for foundation work.

    H5 - Used for house piles and other areas where ground use is a critical part of the building process; this treatment is expected to last about 50 years.

    H6 - Used for marine applications where the wood is completely immersed in water such as wharf piles.

    Untreated timber is used for furniture, shelves, toys and almost any interior application.

    Using treated timber

    Remember that the chemicals used in treated timber are toxic so take care when using this wood.

    Do not use off cuts as firewood.

    When burning treated timber you will release toxic chemicals into the air therefore using treated timber as BBQ fuel is a definite no-no.

    If you saw ground retention timber (H4 and above), use the un-sawn end in the ground or treat the surface you have cut with preservative.
    The reason for this is there may be a small area on the sawn face that the chemical has not fully penetrated and this area will allow the timber to rot quickly.

    After sawing treated timbers wipe down your tools to remove any residue from the timber.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Default Don't use treated timber in the gardens!

    Thans for that useful information again Muppet

    From bad past experiences I can advise other PT readers NOT to use treated timber in the garden. I have done some fencing work and even got a mulcher from my builders offcuts and lost just over a hundred dollars worth of plants and the soil was stuffed for nearly 2 years; all from the chemicals in the treatment process!

    David W

  3. #3

    Default You may want to know ...

    As of a couple of months ago the 'H' rating of timber changed ... now H1 (untreated) timber isnt good enough for interior subfloor framing. You will need the new H1.2
    Dont worry if you're already in the midst of a project though, because it's ok to continue under the terms of your building consent. -- Just another one of those 'it was ok yesterday, but today it's bad' things

    Bottom line is however that H1.2 is more expensive, about $6/meter retail, and I've found some of the new H3.1 is actually cheaper! (H3.1 is for internal/external framing deemed to be at 'medium risk')

    Of course with the changes came detailed publications outlining the changes, which you can download from various places like BIA/Origin/CarterHolt:
    BIA Wood specs at a glance


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