New Life for Demolished Decks Reuse Options Studied for Treated Wood

Millions of pounds of chemically treated wood end up in our nation’s landfills each year, but much of it still has plenty of useful life left.

Treated wood waste can often be reused rather than sent to landfills.

FPL engineer Bob Falk and his partners at Penn State University’s School of Forest Resources have been studying ways to reuse treated wood waste, which is often generated by the removal or replacement of residential decks.

It is estimated that more than 30 million treated wood decks exist in the United States. Thousands are torn down or replaced each year, but typically this is due to aesthetics, not decay or other strength-related issues.

So what to do with all this wood that may not look great but is technically holding up just fine? Falk geared his study toward determining the feasibility of turning salvaged decking lumber into nail-laminated (nail-lam) posts. Nail-lams are manufactured using treated wood and used to construct agricultural and utility storage buildings.

Experimental engineering tests have been performed, and the results show reclaimed decking to be a suitable source for manufactured nail-lam posts, keeping wood in service longer, and out of our nation’s landfills.

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