Wood utility poles play a crucial role in power distribution all over the world. However, like any other wood products, they are susceptible to damage from insects like termites and wood borers, fungi, mold, and other environmental factors.
Therefore, for the utility poles to remain strong and functional for a long time, it is essential to treat them with chemical wood treatment. It ensures that the wood remains safe from damage from the environment and rot from the soil.
However, when choosing a chemical treatment for utility poles, companies need to consider the following factors to ensure that the treatment is both safe and effective for the poles.
Type of Preservative
There are different types of chemical preservatives, depending on the carrier of the preservative and the chemical compounds in them. The chemicals can either be oil-borne, water-borne, or light organic solvent preservatives.
Water-borne preserving chemicals are the cheapest and are becoming among the mainly used because of how safe they are for the environment. Copper or copper-based compounds are the main ingredients in water-borne chemicals.
They also contain other potassium silicate and sodium silicate-based preservatives. Preserving poles with water-borne chemicals gives them a paintable and dry surface and also eliminates odor. Water-borne chemicals, however, could cause the wood to warp or swell, especially if it is porous.
Oil-borne chemicals, on the other hand, have been around for a long time. The most common types of these chemicals are pentachlorophenol and creosote.
Finally, the organic solvent preservatives are mainly paraffin-based solvents like white spirit. However, these are not commonly used because of the recent volatile organic compounds regulations.
Type of Tree
People use different types of trees to make utility poles. Some are more vulnerable to damage than others, and they also react differently with various chemical treatments.
Therefore, you need to understand the tree species that the utility poles are made from and how well they will take different chemical treatments, then choose the best one.
Where the Utility Poles are Being Used
Different locations have different climatic and weather conditions, which means that it takes different amounts of time for the utility poles to get damaged. Some places are wetter than others, and others have more pests than others.
When choosing a chemical treatment, determine how the location’s weather will affect its damage. For wet places, the best type of chemical treatment is an oil-borne one. It prevents water damage because it is has a high resistance to leaching.
The Desired Finish Look
Different chemical treatments give the utility poles a different finish look. For example, Copper Chrome Arsenate gives the pole a greenish finish because of its high copper content. Creosote, on the other hand, gives the pole a dark brown to a black finish.
Also, water-borne preservatives give the poles a dry finish that you can paint over, unlike oil-based chemicals that you cannot paint over. When applying a chemical treatment to poles, there are different methods you can use, and all of them have different outcomes. Also, because of the compounds in the preservatives, you need to protect yourself during the application.
To understand different application processes and the best ways to protect yourself, you need to research the information from reputable sites like NISUS. That way, not only will you choose the best chemical for the poles, but ensure that you apply it safely and in a way to make it last longer.