Preventing 6x6 from rotting - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-21-2016, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Preventing 6x6 from rotting

I have a stair path that's made of boxes built of treated 6x6 that are stacked and filled with gravel like the ones in the picture. Some of them have developed rot in the piece of 6x6 that makes the leading edge of the stair. It's rotting from the inside out, so I suspect it's due to the fact that the end grain is in constant contact with the moist soil. I suppose it's possible that maybe it was just a bum piece of treated lumber ( it ain't what it used to be), but I'm wondering if when I replace them with new 6x6 if I should try to do something to the end grain to Make it less susceptible to absorbing the dirty water that starts the rot. I was thinking about wrapping it in copper, but wondered how much good that would really do. Any ideas or advice?
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Last edited by Quickstep; 05-21-2016 at 12:28 AM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-21-2016, 03:17 AM
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6x6's are rated for ground contact and should take decades to rot like you are describing. I think it likely the wood wasn't properly treated. I've had treated wood that looked like someone just hosed the wood down with the chemical to color it. It wasn't treated more than 1/8" deep. If you can catch it when you are cutting the parts the store will take them back.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-21-2016, 04:33 AM
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Not all 6x6s are equal. Some of the big box stores sell rough sawn 6x6s that are pressure treated lumber but not stamped for ground contact.

Cut it twice, measure once and it's still too short.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-21-2016, 07:45 AM
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Thompson's Water Seal is as good a treatment available to a home owner.

George
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-21-2016, 07:18 PM
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Quickstep
If you buy a gallon of Penta and coat your wood prior to reinstalling your steps, it will add many years to your steps. I would use this on treated lumber also if I planned to lay it in the dirt.
You can Google Penta to get the information.
Penta is as thin as water and you can paint it on with a paintbrush.
Coat the ends well and allow to dry before setting.
Good luck to you.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-21-2016, 08:29 PM
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Replace it. Once it rots, it rots.

"When I have your wounded." -- Major Charles L. Kelley, callsign "Dustoff", refusing to recognize that an LZ was too hot, moments before before being killed by a single shot, July 1, 1964.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-21-2016, 08:59 PM
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Another thing you could do for the wood is the side which is against the soil you might coat it with tar.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-21-2016, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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There are hundreds of feet of these 6x6 in the path and only these four stairs are rotten. And, they're all in a row. Everything else seems solid. I'm guessing the rotten ones all came from the same improperly treated board. Sound like I get a new board, make sure it's rated for ground contact and roll the dice. I'm guessing it's not possible to get creosote 6x6 any more, Eh?
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-21-2016, 09:20 PM
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It's possible, but you don't want it.

"When I have your wounded." -- Major Charles L. Kelley, callsign "Dustoff", refusing to recognize that an LZ was too hot, moments before before being killed by a single shot, July 1, 1964.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-21-2016, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep
There are hundreds of feet of these 6x6 in the path and only these four stairs are rotten. And, they're all in a row. Everything else seems solid. I'm guessing the rotten ones all came from the same improperly treated board. Sound like I get a new board, make sure it's rated for ground contact and roll the dice. I'm guessing it's not possible to get creosote 6x6 any more, Eh?
Rail road ties although they're more like 6x8.
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