What Type of Nails Should I Use With Treated Lumber?

Pressure-treated lumber can be the ideal product to use for outdoor projects such as decks, mailboxes and light posts, swing sets and playscapes, picnic tables and landscape ties.

Characteristics of Treated Lumber

It can last for many years and works well in high-moisture or ground-contact installations. Using the proper nails and drilling technique will ensure the integrity of your pressure-treated lumber project.

Pressure-treated wood has been infused with chemicals to make it more resistant to deterioration and insect infestation. It comes in the form of boards, posts and plywood. Treated lumber usually has been treated with amine copper quat (ACQ) and copper azone (CA), which are less toxic alternatives to the chemicals used when treated lumber was originally developed, but caution should be used when handling it. The Natural Handyman suggests wearing a mask and eye protection when working with treated lumber.

What Type of Nails to Use

The Natural Handyman recommends using galvanized screws or nails that are specially made for treated lumber, especially if it is outdoors, to prevent rusting and deterioration of the nail. If you need extra support or reinforcement for your project, use galvanized metal brackets as well. Treated lumber can be extremely hard, and you should pre-drill the nail or screw holes, keeping them about an inch from the ends of the boards to prevent any splitting while drilling or from the wood drying out as it gets older and is exposed to the elements.

Other Tips

If using the treated lumber for a deck, install it with the bark side up, since it will cup as it dries out. You can see the bark side by looking at the end grain of the board.

When laying a deck floor, there should not be any spacing between boards, since the wood will shrink even if it is treated with a preservative.

Deck posts should be made from treated lumber, as it will not rot due to exposure to cold and moisture when buried in the ground. There may be regulations against burying treated posts for mailboxes or decks, and you should check with your local building inspector before starting your project. Some cities require you to use a concrete footing for posts exposed at ground level.

About the Author

John Fechik has been writing since 2009. He owns a business in Michigan and is a licensed builder with over 35 years of experience in kitchen/bath design and cabinet making. He also has over 40 years of experience in the music and recording industry and buys and sells items on eBay. He has an Associate of Applied Science degree in orthotic/prosthetic technology from Baker College.