Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>Best wood preservative for ground contact?
2 posts / 0 new
Last post
Best wood preservative for ground contact?

I have a small pile of reclaimed lumber that I originally bought to build shelves in my basement. Instead, my parents bought us heavy duty plastic shelves as a housewarming gift. I had to admit they were excellent quality, and ended up doing my whole basement wall with the store bought ones, just so we could get things off our garage floor.

Now I have a small pile of 2x4's that I'd like to use up. I also have a need for some sort of edging around my newly planted fruit trees and a blueberry hedge, to hold the mulch in, and give me a visual border for the grass. (so I don't end up mowing the mulch, etc.)

The wood was very cheap - bought it reclaimed at a thrift store that gets it out of old houses when they demolish them. Good quality wood, though, with nice corners - unlike the rounded 2x4's you see today.

Anyway, I know I can't just place this lumber on the ground - it will absorb water, and be attacked right away by critters, mold, etc. I'm interested in finding something I can apply to help them last a lot longer when in contact with the ground.

Years ago, I read a book with a recipe for making your own creosote using about 6 ingredients. I don't necessarily need them that preserved, nor do I really want them black. However, getting them to last 6 or 7 years instead of 2 or 3 would be great. Wish I could find some sort of preservative that was soluble in oil, but not very soluble in water. I'd mix it with some diesel, then dip the 2x4's in that. However, I haven't been able to find 'any such animal'.

Can anyone recommend something I can pick up at a store or online that might work in this instance? It seems silly to spend all the $$ on treated lumber, when I'd be able to recycle this lumber I already bought (& harvested probably 100 years ago) if only I can find a decent preservative.

I've been researching this for about 3 weeks now, and the only thing I can really think of might be linseed oil. However, I've been told by a couple of guys it won't preserve that well.

Thanks up front for your help!

Re: Best wood preservative for ground contact?


There are many types of wood preservatives available at your local paint or hardware store. Most use a compound of copper or zinc to control rot. Both metals are toxic to plant life. Rot is basically fungus trying to feed off the cellulose in the wood fiber. Kill the fungus and no rot!

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.