Ecolife® & Preserve® FAQs
What are the differences between Ecolife® and Preserve® treated lumber?
Ecolife® / Severe Weather® and Preserve® are both preservative treatments that can be used for above ground applications of treated wood, such as decking or fencing. Both products are standardized by the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA), indicating that they have demonstrated proven performance. Ecolife / Severe Weather is a non-metallic preservative with a built-in wood stabilizer which helps the treated lumber look better for longer. The built-in stabilizer helps reduce the amount of cracking, checking and splitting that occurs in wood exposed to the elements.
Ecolife/Severe Weather (with Ecolife) is approved for use in applications six inches or higher from the ground-- above ground use. At Lowe's, Ecolife is designated with "EL2" on the end tag and is available in heights and widths up to 2x6, railing components, fence pickets and panels.
DCOI, the active ingredient in Ecolife, won the EPA President's Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 1996 for replacing TBTO as an antifoulant in the hulls of ocean-going vessels. DCOI offers an environmentally advanced option and is also used in UltraPole NXT® and UltraArm NXT® for use in utility pole preservative treatment.
Preserve CA can be used in either above ground or ground contact applications depending on retention levels of the preservative treatment. Check the end tag for the appropriate use.
Are Ecolife® / Severe Weather® and Preserve® safe for building an in-ground, raised bed vegetable garden?
The construction of an in-ground, raised vegetable garden should use materials designed to withstand ground-contact exposure. So while the preservatives are safe for use near edible garden plants, Ecolife® is not intended or approved for ground-contact exposure. Preserve can be pressure treated for ground-contact exposure, is equally safe around edible plants, and is available in larger posts such as 4x4's or 6x6's which may work as the retaining wall or perimeter of a raised vegetable garden. Read more here on current research on treated wood use in garden beds.
Why is Ecolife® lighter in color than Preserve®?
Preserve is a copper-based preservative and it is the copper in the preservative which imparts the green color. Ecolife / Severe Weather is not a copper-based preservative although there is some colorant added to distinguish the Ecolife® treated wood from untreated wood. The colorant in Ecolife does not impart a strong green tint on wood after treatment.
What are helpful installation tips?
- For exterior project applications, treat all field-cut ends of boards and drilled holes with a brush-on wood preservative. Copper naphthenate formulations are available from home centers, lumber dealers and hardware stores. Deck stains and sealers do not provide adequate protection.
- Place the best-looking side of a deck board face up.
- Butt boards tightly together during installation as they will shrink slightly in width and thickness as they dry out.
- Pre-drill holes at the ends of boards to help prevent splitting.
- Use screws to improve holding performance.
- Install fasteners flush to the wood surface. Do not overdrive fastener.
- Install the un-cut end of support posts in ground contact applications.
- Click here for more details on basic design and construction methods for single-story residential wood decks and significant changes in the 2018 International Residential Code.