How to Choose The Right Brown Treated Decking

Are you thinking about building a deck out of real, natural wood? If you love the look of all-natural decking without the hefty price tag of composite, there are new brown treated decking options that are not only increasing in popularity, but also fitting into the aesthetic look many consumers want.

One of the most difficult decisions to make when building a wood deck is what type of decking to use. Even as consumers lean toward newer composite decking,

For many years, the choices have been cedar, pressure-treated (green) or composite decking. In this article, we’re going to break down the common differences between typical deck boards and also explain the recent advances in brown treated decking.

What is Brown Treated Decking & What Makes It Different?

Brown Treated Decking is wood that has gone through the wood-treating process, whereas the deck boards have been treated with a preservative such as MCA or ACQ.  And at the same time? It’s been colored during the manufacturing process to have a distinct “brown” appearance. The main difference is in both aesthetics and convenience. Normally, as the pressure-treated deck board is being treated with chemicals, the wood may be “infused” with a coloring at the same time. Brown treated decking already has a “finished” look without requiring immediate painting or staining.

Brown Treated Decking Vs. Green Treated Decking

Rich, Brown Treated (KDAT) Decking from Northern Crossarm Company. Unlike normal brown treated wood, KDAT Brown has been tried after being pressure treated, leaving you with a higher-quality product that’s more stable and less likely to warp, cup, twist, etc.,

Many homeowners go with economy pressure-treated wood as their first choice of decking. After 10 months to a year, it can be stained, and is normally warrantied for rot resistance. Standard treating decking will cost much less than cedar or composite decking. However, as an inexpensive alternative, green treated wood is often full of moisture – over time, this will shrink unevenly and twist when it dries. If your expectations are based on cost alone, regular green decking provides a solid option for weather protection; but, be prepared for a deck that will inevitably be less stable and can look “cheap” aesthetically as it dries over time.

Brown Treated Decking Over Composite Decking

Composite decking is often constructed of recycled plastic and wood chips/sawdust. It’s more expensive than cedar, and is often touted as a “zero-maintenance” decking material. After all, it won’t rot, splinter or twist. However, that doesn’t come without drawbacks. Besides being an expensive option usually out of the range of many homeowners, composite decking has a tendency to get very hot when exposed to normal sunlight. On top of that, if laid on a “green” or “traditional” treated wood substructure, composite decking will sometimes naturally warp. As moisture leaves the treated wood base, that movement can be extremely negative for the look and overall performance of composite decking. This effect is not necessarily a symptom of composite decking in itself, but is due to the moisture cycles of the pressure-treated substructure.

Not All Brown Treated Decking is Created Equal

Most brown treated decking companies inject stain or coloring into wood during the pressure-treating process. As the chemical is pushed, the stain is meant to be pushed into to, but this leads to uneven coloring results. In other products, the stain is applied to the surface of the materials, producing an even colored result, while carrying some of the characteristics.

But, it doesn’t stop there.

Did you know that most brown treated wood is still green/wet? What that means? That piece of brown treated wood you just picked up at your local big box store is going to be heavy and filled with moisture from the pressure-treating process.

But, that doesn’t have to be the case, as there are some brown treated wood companies that actually product a KDAT (Kiln Dried After Treatment) product, such as Northern Crossarm Company.

Unlike other brown treated wood, Northern Crossarm’s KDAT is dried after the pressure treating process, leaving you with a piece of lumber that is more resistant to warps, cups and twists. Plus, it’s lighter, drier and much easier to work with.

Common Brown Treated Decking Questions & Answers

1. Does Brown Treated Decking Fade?

Like any wood product, over time brown decking will fade and require re-staining. That’s why it’s important to use a sealer to not only prolong the life of your deck, but to minimize the year-to-year maintenance. Just know that when using a sealer on brown treated decking, you’ll need to wait at least 6-12 months first. The only exception is when you use KDAT Brown from Northern Crossarm. Unlike other brown treated decking, Northern Crossarm’s KDAT Brown is kiln dried. That means, you can seal, paint or stain your new KDAT deck boards immediately.

2. Can I Stain Brown Treated Decking?

Yes. If brown decking fades, you’ll be able to lightly wash and re-stain in upcoming years. We typically recommend a water-based sealer, and then follow-up staining can occur in years 4 and beyond for brown treated decking. Northern Crossarm offers clear or pigmented deck sealer for our KDAT brown treated decks.

3. Is Brown Treated Decking Safe?

– Depending on the treating process, brown treated decking is safe. Northern Crossarm’s brown treated decking is MCA treated, and is certified as being environmentally preferred.

4. Will Brown Treated Decking Warp, Cup, Twist, Etc.?

All pressure-treated wood will cup, warp and twist if it’s green treated or dried after treatment. But, by using KDAT Brown Treated Wood, as moisture is removed earlier in the process minimizes some of these potential problems associated with moisture.

5. How Long Does Brown Treated Decking (And the Stain) Last?

Not all brown treated decking is made the same. For example, Northern Crossarm’s KDAT brown will still be brown, even after 4 years with a good sealer. It may be slightly faded, but with our Northern KDAT Deck Sealer, you’ll have maximum protection for lower maintenance costs. The decking itself will hold up for a long time, as it’s manufactured with pressure treated lumber – a reliable, lasting product that’s been available for a long time.

6. What Is The Difference Between Brown Treated Decking And KDAT (Kiln Dried After Treatment) Brown Treated Decking?

Most brown treated decking on the market is considered “wet” or “green”. Though it has the coloring of brown injected into the wood, it also has much of the moisture from the chemical treating process that the wood has undergone. If you’re buying brown treated decking from a big box store, it’s likely heavy and filled with moisture. It’s also more susceptible to warps, twists and cups as the wood naturally dries out over time.

If you use a product like KDAT Brown Treated Decking, the wood has already undergone the drying process. As much as 80% of the moisture is removed to leave you with a board that has minimized moisture, and is less likely to warp, cup and twist. For the highest quality brown treated decking, consider KDAT Brown Treated Decking as a stable option.

7. Where Can I Find KDAT Brown Treated Decking?

If you’re looking for a stocking dealer that carries Brown Treated Decking, contact Northern Crossarm. Northern Crossarm is the largest KDAT wood treating company in Wisconsin.

8. Why Can’t I Just Stain My Wood Deck With My Own Brown Color?

This is absolutely an option – but, you’ll have to wait. Most homeowners are surprised to realize that you can’t seal, paint or stain pressure treated wood for up to 12 months after install. That means you’ll have to deal with the green wood look of your deck, until it’s ready to accept paint or stain. The biggest benefit of using brown treated wood is that it’s already colored, so you can enjoy the natural look of wood right away without having to wait.

If you’re looking for the highest quality Brown Treated Wood, contact the KDAT Brown Treated lumber experts at Northern Crossarm Company. Based in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Northern Crossarm Company is the largest KDAT Brown wood treater in Wisconsin. They have hundreds of stocking dealers East of the Rocky Mountains. To find your nearest dealer location, email or call to speak with the sales team at 715-723-4100.

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