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Treated timber for fencing projects

July 17, 2015

We are often asked what type of treated timber is required for a residential timber fence.

The most commonly purchased timbers for fencing projects are:

  • CCA H3 Pine Palings & Colonial Pine Palings
  • CCA H3 Pine Rails
  • CCA H4 Pine Posts
  • CCA H4 Hardwood Posts
  • CCA H4 Pine Sleepers
  • CCA H4 Hardwood Sleepers

So what do these “CCA” & “Hazard Class” Classifications mean?

The below guide assists in clarifying the Hazard Class & Suitable timbers for such projects:

Requirements for Hardwoods
& Softwoods

Above Ground







(rot), borers
& termites.

Fence palings &
rails, cladding,
decking, fascias,
pergola rafters,
beams & battens, handrails &
balustrades, posts
not in ground.

  • Hardwoods of Above Ground Durability Class 1 or better with sapwood preservative treated to H3. (Small proportions of untreated sapwood may be permitted by some grading standards.
  • Some Above Ground Durability Class 2 & 3 timbers are suitable in some locations for non-structural uses in these applications depending on climate, detailing & maintenance of the project coating.
  • Softwoods preservative treated to H3 or better with untreated heartwood limited.



Severe decay conditions, borers & termites.

Non critical applications such as fence posts, landscaping, garden walls & pergola posts.

  • Hardwoods of In-ground Durability Class 2 or better with the sapwood limited or preservative treated to H4.
  • Softwoods preservative treated to H4 or better with untreated heartwood limited.

Contact or
Fresh Water


Very severe decay conditions, borers & termites.

Critical applications such as house piles & posts, structural retaining walls, deck posts, poles, decking close to or on the ground & similar.

  • Hardwoods of In-ground Durability Class 1 with the sapwood removed or preservative treated to H5. In-ground Class 2 rounds with a complete envelope of sapwood preservative treated To H5.
  • Softwoods preservative treated to H5 or better with untreated heartwood limited.

For more information regarding “Natural Durability Class” & “Species Durability Ratings”

Timber Queensland - Outdoor Timber Performance

Resource: Timber Queensland

What is CCA Timber Treatment

CCA treated timber has been impregnated with Copper, Chromium and Arsenic salts.

CCA is impregnated into timber using a vacuum/pressure cycle & is designed to react with the wood cell components so that the active elements, copper (Cu), chromium (Cr) and arsenic (As) are fixed into the wood's structure.

These are chemical preservatives used to protect non-durable wood from rotting, fungal degrade, termites & other wood boring insects. The treatment is also resistant to leaching and therefore it can be used on timber that will be exposed to the elements or used in-ground.

Example of CCA H3 Treated Pine Palings.

Is it safe?

All treated timber manufactured by reputable companies & handled correctly is safe. CCA treated timber has been world-wide for more than 70 years without evidence of harm to human or environmental health.

Restrictions on sale of CCA preservative treated timber for some uses

Under an agreement that the timber industry has with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Chemical Authority (APVMA) timber treated with CCA before 7th June 2006 can continue to be sold for all applications. 

The APVMA requires that after 7th June 2006, timber may not be treated with CCA preservative if it is to be used for certain uses and the timber industry has imposed voluntary restrictions on the sale of timber treated with CCA for certain uses. 

Those uses are:

  • Children's play equipment
  • Garden furniture
  • Picnic tables
  • External seating
  • Domestic decking boards or
  • Handrails

In addition to these restrictions, CCA treated products must be individually and legibly marked with the words "Treated with copper chrome arsenate" to first point of use.

Example of Treatment labelling

Small CCA treated products don't have to be individually marked however the pack must be legibly marked with the words "Treated with copper chrome arsenate" to first point of use. 

Small products are:

  • Fence palings, battens and droppers
  • Veneers
  • Timber with a cross section of 1500mm2 and less (except light decking)
  • Timber less than 15mm thick (except light decking)
  • Timber less than 500mm long

Correct Timber Handling

Working with timber (treated or untreated) produces dust particles which can cause discomfort to skin, eyes & upper respiratory tracts. Therefore the protection of the hands, eyes, nose & mouth when sanding, sawing & planing is always highly recommended.

For more information refer to the following downloads:

Timber Queensland - Outdoor Timber Performance

Timber Queensland - Residential Timber Fences

Timbers Queensland - Recommendations for the use of Treated Pine Outdoors

Timbers Queensland - Timber Garden Walls (Retaining walls up to 1 Metre High)

Timber Queensland - Timber Retaining Walls for Residential Applications

Why winter is the best time to build your fence

July 7, 2015

Most of us think that waiting for the weather to warm up before installing a fencing system around our home seems like a logical solution, when in fact, building a residential fence or other outdoor landscaping & construction project during the colder winter months is actually a better choice for a conscious consumer.

Let us share with you some of the benefits of completing a fencing project during the winter months.

Beat the spring rush & install your fence now

Professional landscaping businesses time tends to fill up pretty quickly from September through to December with new & repeat contracted business. As soon as the weather starts to warm up, everyone decides it’s time to get that outdoor project finished asap. Trying to book in a job during the spring to summer period could mean a longer turn around as you wait for your name to move up on a waiting list. However, if you decide to start your fencing project during winter, fencing contractors will have more time to provide you with estimations, designs & bookings.

Want to save some dollars?

Winter is an off peak season for outdoor constructions, just as you can save money on accommodation & travel during off-peak holiday periods, it is more likely that you can pay a little less for your home fence installation or fencing materials during the winter months due to the fact that people aren’t considering their outdoor projects until later in the year.
“Check out the current Fencing Frenzy Sale at 5 Star Timbers”

Less time spent from start to finish

Queensland’s summer months, with all the rain & storms can be the worse time to install your residential fence. Digging in mud is never easy, post holes tend to fill with water when there’s lots of rain coming down & this can postpone any outdoor project. Don’t get stuck with a half constructed fence due to bad weather.

Ready to roll when the weather warms up

Let’s face it, people use their yards more in the warmer months, so if you produce your fence during the winter you will get less disruption to your outside time. When it’s cold outside, let those fencing contractors get the job done whilst you enjoy the warmth inside.