Preservative treatments protect wood from attacks by insects, microorganisms, and decay by fungi. The life of outdoor wood products can be significantly extended to well over 40 years, or up to 10 times the service life of untreated wood, by using appropriate preservative treatments.
Using treated wood makes environmental sense. The material comes from a renewable resource whose service life is extended with treatment. The environmental costs of plastics and steel are greater than those of treated pine for example.
Preservative-treated wood is economical. Substitute materials, such as steel, concrete and aluminum, can cost more partially due to greater manufacturing energy requirements, greater air/water pollution and/or environmental protection costs, and higher dependency on foreign source for imported materials.