Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: Efficacy of a Borax-Copper Preservative in Exposed Applications

Source: FPL-RP-655, June 2009

Author(s)Stan T. Lebow; Patricia K. Lebow; Bessie M. Woodward; Steven A. Halverson; William Abbott; Michael M. West

Publication Year: 2009  View PDF »

Category: Research Papers

Abstract: This study evaluated the ability of pressure treatments with a borax-copper (BC) preservative to protect wood exposed above ground or in contact with the ground. Stake testing indicated that the 2.3% and 4.7% BC concentrations were fairly effective in preventing decay in Wisconsin but were not effective in protecting stakes exposed in Mississippi. The 1.4% and 2.3% BC concentrations effectively protected decking specimens exposed for 5 years at the Wisconsin test site. Assay of stakes at the Wisconsin site indicated that over 90% of boron in the below-ground portion of the stakes was lost within the first year, leaving copper as the sole biocide. Assay of the decking specimens after 4 years of exposure indicated that between 30% and 45% of copper and 80% and 95% of boron was lost from the BC-treated decking specimens. These copper losses were greater than those found with the laboratory simulated rainfall study, which indicated that 5% to 6% of copper was lost from the 1.4% and 2.3% BC treatments after the equivalent of 1 year of rainfall. Boron losses of 45% to 55% were noted with yearís equivalent of simulated rainfall. This series of studies indicates that the efficacy of BC as a pressure-treatment preservative in exposed applications is a function of copper retention.

Keywords: Preservatives, copper borates, stake tests, leaching, borax, copper, preserved wood, evaluation, wood preservation, wooden buildings, borax-copper, pressure-treated wood, above-ground, ground-contact, durability, leaching

File size: 824 kb(s)

Date posted: 06/26/2009

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 31155
Current FPL Scientists associated with this product (listed alphabetically)
Lebow, Patricia K.
Mathematical Statistician
Lebow, Stan T.
Research Forest Products Technologist

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »

Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »

Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »

Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »