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Old 05-13-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
Frank
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Default Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

If you are just going to tell me to use treated wood instead, save it.

I am on a tight budget and I have been collecting a ton of new scrap lumber from area house construction (I always ask before I take any of it) and about ready to start building my 12 x 14 shed. I have built 3 skids from sandwiched together 2 x 8's, 3 boards thick. The only problem is, none of this wood is treated. I will either make a bed of rock under each skid or bury some kind of stones, but this doesn't guarantee they won't sink into this black clay and make contact. What is an effective method to treat wood that may come in direct contact with the ground?

For that matter, how long has commercially treated wood been around?
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

If you Google, you will find home-brew ways to treat wood, but from what I recall the methods are slow, messy, and most likely toxic.

I have heard about old-timers using diesel fuel to provide moisture and insect protection. Seems risky to me, though.

Maybe soaking them in linseed oil, especially the end-grain, will help. At most, you are just going to buy yourself some time before the rot sets in.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

use treated wood instead
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

Use this:

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Old 05-13-2012, 10:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

If it is in contact with the ground, it will rot. I put some hardwood skids with blocks on them behind my barn about 5 years ago. Last week I needed to move them and the skids had sunk into the ground and were completely rotten, not much left other than scraps of wood and nails.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

I was thinking of using some concrete blocks around the perimeter to help lessen any sinking. I have heard of people stapling black plastic to the underside of the wood like in garden applications. I know any of it is postponing the inevitable.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

I would coat it with a couple of coats of foundation tar, wrap it all in 10 mil poly then put another coat of foundation tar over the plastic. There is also hard plastic foundation wrap that is dimpled material...if you could scrounge up some of that it would be good under the skids.

You could also use car undercoating in spray cans or get a pail of it , body shops have a sprayer they use and just fill from the bucket, and smear it on.

Not sure if you are using the 2 x 8's on the flat or edge. If on the edge you could run a 2 x 6 treated on the bottom where it contacts the soil but I would still tar everything.

Have fun.....
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
I was thinking of using some concrete blocks around the perimeter to help lessen any sinking. I have heard of people stapling black plastic to the underside of the wood like in garden applications. I know any of it is postponing the inevitable.
If you can raise the wood out of the ground by using concrete block it may not lessen any sinking but it may buy a little time before rot. Avoid any plastic on the wood.... the idea is to let it breathe..

Last edited by rasit; 05-14-2012 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

I read and understand the first post about not talking about treated wood, BUT I'm going to anyway.

Maybe just use (buy) some treated timbers as a foundation and set your wood floor deck on top of those. Same idea like someone above said about using concrete blocks to keep the untreated wood out of ground contact. I think that any way of allowing the untreated wood to breathe and not touch ground/stones would insure the longest lasting job.

If the above can not work for you. I'd then too say slather it with your choice of some kind of preservative and use and enjoy the shed for as long as it stands.

Last edited by malibu101; 05-14-2012 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

Put some layers of plastic sheet on the ground or over cement blocks before starting. that will keep the moisture and bugs away from the wood.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:46 AM   #11
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

Anything you do to protect the untreated wood will cost more time, effort and money than just buying some treated lumber for the bottom of the skids. Look for treated lumber in the scrap piles where decks are being built. Piece it together as the bottom surface of the skids.
In any case, even with treated lumber, it is good to have positive drainage down and away from your skids.
Dig a trench under where each skid will be, extend it away from the structure for drainage. Dig it down to firm earth (Sand or clay). Line it with landscape fabric to keep the stone from disappearing into the ground. Fill the trenches to above surrounding grade and tamp to compact.
Set the timbers on this and they will last far longer.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:53 AM   #12
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

You are only building a 12x14 structure, how much is it going to cost for two 2x6x14's and two 2x6x12 pressure treated boards? It is going to cost you as much time and money to protect untreated wood as it will to buy pressure treated for sill. But in the old days my uncle used to soak ground wood in used oil from oil changes with a little diesel mixed with it but it was temporary at best.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:04 AM   #13
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rasit View Post
If you can raise the wood out of the ground by using concrete block it may not lessen any sinking but it may buy a little time before rot. Avoid any plastic on the wood.... the idea is to let it breathe..
I built a 12x16 shed 20 years ago. Laid 6'' concrete block level on ground. Poured concrete mix in various locations for 1/2'' threaded rod to anchor sill plates. Then just stick built walls. No treated lumber at all. Building is still straight and level. The 4'x7' door openings are still square. Exterior is all 3/4 plywood.
If your building is going to stay in one location , you can pour four concrete piers. Post hole dig down say 3' and pour four columns to level height and set building on them. I did this with a corn crib, chicken coop, and grain bin. Not
too costly and effective.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:06 AM   #14
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

Foundation sealer works great for this.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:12 AM   #15
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

What about termites???

There are different ratings for treated wood. Some types are OK for earth contact and some are not.

That Woodlife Creocoat looks worth investigating.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:24 AM   #16
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

I understand from your post that you have a soft type of soil that things will sink in. That bein the case, if you used treated lumber I would be afraid that it would sink into the ground enough to get the untreated wood in contact with the ground and then the rot and insects would start.

The tar and plastic mentioned above by Boomer 343 sounds good. Don't know about the cost of doing that vs. buying treated lumber, you would have to put a sharp pencil to it.

What I would do is use the un treated lumber you have and concentrate on keeping it off the ground. Buying ready mixed concrete is expensive. The cheapest way is to buy sand, gravel and concrete mix and then mix it yourself. Make a small box out of your scrap 1 x lumber to mix it in. Use a garden hoe to stir it. have a shallow trench dug and leveled, pour concrete in, smooth it some, the it dry, then stack blocks 2 runs high.

Blocks are expensive. You could save by building 2 block high pollars at the corners and half way down the side, again pouring concrete footers under each pillar and leveling same. Assuming you are going to use the ground for a floor and don't want air blowing under the wall, use pirces of tin to fill in the space and make ground contact. Yes, it will rust eventually and need replacing, but not for a long time.

I would bit the bullet and get treated lumber for most of the door or doors it there is going to be ground contact.

Put a small piece of tin(these can be purchased commercially, I think, with turned down edges to let rain run off) to keep termites from clumbing up and attacking the wood.

Good luck.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:25 AM   #17
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

Signature on above post is KEH, sorry.

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Old 05-14-2012, 08:58 AM   #18
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

Castles made of sand melt into the sea, eventually.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:09 AM   #19
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

Here is a thought to ponder:

When I built my 10x12 shed 35 years ago, I got some used telephone poles

from the Elect Co. for free. Basically I used them as foundation pilings,

digging them down to below the frost line. If you have ever been to

the "shore" and I mean the ocean, you may be aware of the type of

construction to which I refer. You can not buy lumber that has the

treatment that these old poles get during manufacture. Also, the good thing

about putting your shed up in the air is it stays dry underneath, regardless

of the wx. 35 years later, no signs of rot, except around the north facing

window. Gee, I wonder why ?

Uncle Bob
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:37 AM   #20
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Default Re: Protecting untreated wood that will contact the ground?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomer343 View Post
I would coat it with a couple of coats of foundation tar, wrap it all in 10 mil poly then put another coat of foundation tar over the plastic. There is also hard plastic foundation wrap that is dimpled material...if you could scrounge up some of that it would be good under the skids.
Best solution I can think of as well. If you want to be super cheap, skip the poly and just coat the crap out of it with foundation tar. The tar typically keeps pests away and makes a fairly waterproof barrier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bczygan View Post
Anything you do to protect the untreated wood will cost more time, effort and money than just buying some treated lumber for the bottom of the skids.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KEH View Post
Don't know about the cost of doing that vs. buying treated lumber, you would have to put a sharp pencil to it.

Both my concerns as well. Make sure you aren't stepping on a dollar to pick up a quarter!
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