US treated lumber prices have shot up due to the higher cost of new chemicals which have replaced chromated copper arsenate (CCA), says industry newsletter Random Lengths.

Several treaters report premiums on treated lumber of about US$105-120, compared to US$50-60 before production of CCA-treated wood for residential use was banned nearly a year ago. Some companies’ sales have gone down in 2004 compared with last year.

Treated southern pine decking is still cheaper than plastic alternatives but higher-priced treated lumber has reportedly casued some shock among consumers.

However, not all is negative, as other companies say the transition to the new alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) and copper azole (CA) treatments has been smoother.

But use of ACQ and CA has led to some mould and corrosion problems in the industry. Chemical companies have highlighted the need for consumers to use corrosion-resistant fasteners with treated wood.