For 80 years, FPInnovations (and predecessor organizations) has undertaken field testing of a variety of treated and untreated wood products at Petawawa Research Forest (PRF), now part of the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre. Still being tested are many of the original creosoted posts installed in 1937. Products tested include fence posts, utility poles, sawn lumber, and timbers. FPInnovations uses the PRF as one of several key sites to test the service life of naturally durable and treated wood, and the efficiency of various preservative treatments in Canadian wood species.
Field data on the true service life of treated wood help industry resist substitution by alternative materials with greater energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Decking tests such as those undertaken at PRF support the competitiveness of Canadian forest products by facilitating registration of more environmentally friendly wood preservatives by Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Furthermore, ground contact tests supported modifications to CSA standards for treated wood, thereby enabling impermeable Canadian wood species to meet the standard without sacrificing the performance that consumers expect. Recently, data from this site and other FPInnovations test sites were used to support a change to American standards—a change that will improve market access to Canadian treated wood products. Other data from a test at this site, in addition to parallel material in Korea, are being used to support proposed changes to Korean standards. Field test data on untreated wood are also being used to determine under what climatic conditions the National Building Code of Canada should require wood elements to be treated.
Treated wood products are important to Canada’s economy since they provide key components of the transport, communication and energy transmission, and agricultural infrastructure and are widely used in residential construction for decking, fencing, and landscaping.
For more information on this topic, please contact Paul Morris, Research Leader of FPInnovations’ Wood Protection group.