Preserving standards: A brief guide to buy and sell treated timber correctly
21st July 2017

Preserving standards: A brief guide to buy and sell treated timber correctly

This blog post is by Peter Hunt, Chairman of the TTF’s National Softwood Division (NSD) and Procurement Manager for Arbor Forest Products. It firstly appeared on the Timber Forum News, June 2017 edition


Peter Hunt“Preservative treated timber is a great way to add value to timber products and increase the range of use applications they can be specified for. However, some merchants have expressed concern that in some cases, customers may be buying products not suited for their intended applications.

No merchant wants to be selling goods that don’t meet the required standards or aren’t right for the job and fail on customers. The TTF is always keen to maintain high standards and the reputation of the industry. Treatment is a big topic and one we are currently looking at to ensure standards are consistently met.

It is important that merchants know what to ask for when buying and stocking treated products. We recommend merchants familiarise themselves with this TTF guidance to help inform them of best practise in purchasing treated timber. It means you will get what you ask for, and your customer will be getting fit-for-purpose products.”

TTF DO’s and DON’Ts for Buying and Selling Treated Timber

—> TO DO <—

1. DO specify the right product for the right job. If you don’t ask for the right product, you won’t get it!

Timber Products class

2. DO ask your timber supplier if the timber has been treated to the standard BS8417 to meet its use class. If not, don’t buy it!

3. DO ask for verification or treatment certificate with your invoice to show that the timber delivered meets the correct standard for its use class.

4. DO make sure that Fence Posts are treated to Use Class 4 since they are in permanent ground contact. If they are not UC4, they will soon fail.

5. DO ask your customers exactly what application they are using the timber for. Only sell them a product which has been treated in accordance to the use class they need.

6. DO recommend using an end grain preservative for sealing any exposed wood.

7. DO ask a Timber Trade Federation Member for guidance, training and advice.


—> NOT TO DO <—

8. DON’T substitute and sell timber treated for internal purposes as external timber – It will fail.

9.  DON’T sell treated products without advising on how to seal exposed timber when cut, drilled or bored in installation.


For more information and guidance, contact the TTF.