Wood is prone to damage from light, moisture, humidity and fungus. Most of the damage to wood is mainly caused by fungus and other wood degrading insects. Secondly, the life of wood is highly affected by the environmental factors and the conditions it is being kept in. For the very reason wood preservatives are used. Wood preservatives, as the name suggests, are basically chemical products which control wood degradation due to fungus or other wood destroying insects. This process of wood preservation is also known as timber treatment or lumbar treatment. Wood preservation enhances the life of wood by providing resistance from fungus and insects.
There are many methods of wood preservation, for example, chemical preservation, pressure treatment, microwaving, charring and so on. However, chemical preservation is the most sought out process because of it being economical and easy to use. Among the array of chemical preservatives there are numerous options available like:
- Acid copper chromate.
- Copper Azole.
- Micronized copper.
- Copper Green.
- Alkaline copper quaternary.
Most of the wood preservatives being used contain copper because of it being an efficient and durable compound. Among these preservatives, Copper Green is mostly used.
Copper Green Wood Preservative
As you know that wood is highly prone to damage by degrading insects and hence a preservative becomes a necessity in protecting the wooden items from deterioration. Chemical preservation is the most economical method out of others as it can be done at home by using limited sources as well as provides durability and sure resistance from the fungi and insects.
Copper Green is a traditional wood preservative which has been in use since 1889 in Europe. Copper imparted a green color to the wood and hence the name “copper green” was given to the wood preservation technique. Copper Green is chemically Copper Napthenate. It is predominantly used in commercial and industrial wood preservation for pressure and non pressure treatments and provides protection against fungal rot, termites and wood boring insects in unfinished wood and fabricated wood products. It can also be used as a wood preservative for surface treatment when applied to seasoned woods. It is readily available in the market and sold over the counter for easy use.
For many years, copper alone was used a fixer for wood deterioration. However, with the advancement of technology and age later chromium was incorporated to protect the wood from damage. Other compounds such as copper azoles, alkaline copper quaternary, micronized copper came in the market as an upgrade to the copper green. The main reason of copper being an active compound in such products is its antimicrobial nature and a broad activity against wide range of fungi, bacteria and insects.
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Best Wood Preservative Review
There are plenty of copper green wood preservatives available in the market that choosing the right one might get difficult. The best way to opt for the right preservative is avoiding the cheaper products available in the market because of the toxicity concerns. Some of the best copper green wood preservatives are listed below:
Black Flag 61249 Terminal 8 Copper Green
It is one of the best copper green wood preservatives available in the market. It provides protection from termites, carpenter ants and powder post beetles as well as mold, mildew and stain fungi. It protects from decay both above and below ground. The water based formula of the product is light in weight and dries easily when applied. It is great for decks, fences, roofs, pressure treated end cuts, posts, structural lumber for insect protection. However, the preservative may cause irritation due to the smell. Hence, it is recommended to be used in a complete ventilated area.
Green Products Cb 1 1 Gallon Copper-Green® Brown Wood Preservative.
It is again by far one of the best preservatives. It provides a good coverage and resistance with fewer coats. The durability of the product is also long and it stays for a few months even when exposed to sunlight. It provides protection from termites, fungi and other wood degrading insects. The toxicity concern associated with the product is also less than others available in the market.
Woodlife 01902 Copper Coat Green Wood Preservative, 5-Gallon Pail
The copper green wood preservative from Woodlife is somewhat thicker than water. It provides protection from fungus, mold, termites and moisture. The preservative is promptly consumed by the wood after application. It does take a while to dry and the green colour lasts for a considerable amount of time. The only drawback of using this product is certainly its strong and pungent smell. Apart from being a durable product the smell may cause irritation. It is highly recommended to be used only in outdoors with proper ventilation.
Green Products Cb Spray 14 Oz Copper-Green® Brown Wood Preservative Spray
The biggest turmoil of using a copper based preservative is its copper naphthalene content which directly impacts on the toxicity levels. Green Products Cb Spray provides low levels of copper and thus helps in competing with the toxicity. The green colour of the spray also stays for a long time than others. The spray is readily absorbed by the wood. The only concern related with the product is its strong smell and thus it should be used only for outdoor purposes.
Green Products Co. 30001 Copper Green Wood Preservative, 1-Gallon
This copper green preservative from green products is one of the strongest preservatives in the market. It should strictly be used with gloves and make sure the product stays away from the eye. The treated wood should be kept away from sunlight and warm spaces for around 72 hours. Being one of the strongest preservative it provides protection from termites, fungi and all other wood decaying insects. The green colour of the preservative also stays around for a long time. Overall, this is a great product but should be used with precautions.
Copper Green Wood Preservative Toxicity- Is it bad for health?
Despite of being the most favoured wood preservative copper green surely comes with few drawbacks one of them being its hazardous effect on health. Recently, the United States of America has limited the use of copper green as a wood preservative for the very same concern. It is recommended only for external use like poles or railroads. The interior use of copper green may lead to serious toxicity in some individuals due to repeated contact with the treated wood.
The main concern behind the toxicity of copper green is its strong odour. Once sprayed, the odour from the wood takes months to leave. The vapors from the wood may cause nausea in some individuals. The strong odour begets a headache and cause toxicity when repeatedly inhaled. Therefore, only external use of copper green is recommended by the government.
Copper Green Recommendations
As mentioned earlier, copper green can only be used for external purposes like:
- Window frames.
- Outdoor furniture.
- Fence posts.
It can be used on any external fabricated wood product that is prone to moisture or humidity. It can also be used to treat woods for greenhouses. Apart from providing protection from decay copper green also provides protection from warping, swelling, shrinking and end checking caused by moisture fluctuations in plywood and lumber products.
Directions for use
These are the steps you should ensure while using copper green wood preservative:
- The wood should be completely dry prior to the use.
- Lumber and wood products should be dipped in the copper green solution for not more than 3 minutes.
- If dipping is not possible then several coats of the solution can be applied with a brush.
- Let the wood dry after each coating. The more the wood absorbs the preservative the better its protection.
- Fence posts and poles should be devoid of barks and dry. Fence posts along with heavy duty wood products should be immersed in the copper green solution for 12-48 hours for effective protection against insects and fungi.
- Copper green cannot be used as stain to the wood. The green colour of the wood shall eventually fade within a few months if continuously exposed to sunlight. For this reason, oil paints can be applied after drying of copper green treatment.