Difference Between H2 and H3 Timber

The main difference between H2 treated timber and H3 treated timber is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde-free timber that meets the international EN standard for “ecological solid wood” has been used in the production of H3 since 2011. The IWF does not recognize these materials because they are not based on sustainable forestry or proper certification.

Timber produced using chemical treatments, genetic engineering or non-certified forest management does not meet the criteria set by the IWF, therefore cannot be endorsed by us as an official environmental label. If you are interested in ecological flooring make sure it’s made from certified or recycled material otherwise you’re probably helping destroy our ecosystem. There are different types of treating, going from H1, H2 and even H5 preservative treatment which is used for very severe decay.

What is H2 Treated Pine Timber?

H2 treated pine timber is a kind of chemical wood treatment, it’s a high formaldehyde emission content of the wood that has been impregnated with a suspension or solution of ammonium sulphite. This keeps it from rotting and protects against termites and other insects.

Due to the impregnation process, H2 can emit more than 50% of its dry weight in formaldehyde as well as other toxic compounds such as acetaldehydes. In order to meet environmental standards for indoor air quality, manufacturers have turned increasingly towards alternative chemicals such as phenol-formaldehyde resins (PF) which offer better ecological credentials even though they may be more dangerous to those who work with the raw material before processing into finished products if not handled correctly.

In most countries, H2 is not recognized as pine timber treatment because it has been treated by chemicals, other than those recognized in building products.

What is H3 Treated Pine Timber?

H3 treated pine timber is an engineered wood product (EWP), which means that it does not meet the criteria set out by the IWF for environmental labelling and certification. It doesn’t mean that H3 has no ecological value, but it can only be considered if all features of EN 350-2 are met, including a low emission level of formaldehyde (less than 1% of formaldehyde bound to hemicelluloses). This standard was established in 2004 to protect the health of workers who produce EWP products and domestic consumers. H3 is also susceptible to moisture which makes it more difficult to process than “normal” wood.

As with any chemical, formaldehyde can potentially cause skin irritation, respiratory problems and allergies. Fortunately, these are not serious health risks if the product is used according to instructions. It is always best practice to use gloves when handling this material in its liquid or dry forms. The liquid has a very strong smell so wear a mask if you are working with large volumes of a liquid solution, don’t use it near where you eat or sleep. Make sure the room is well ventilated before allowing anybody back into the area after using H2 or H3 timber because it emits toxic fumes for several hours after drying out.

difference between H2 and H3 timber
Wood Treating Proccess

Difference Between H2 Treated Pine and H3 Treated Pine

H2 treated timber and H3 treated timber do not emit formaldehyde in the same way and consequently, they cannot be compared with each other. The main difference is that H3 treated pine released less than 0.1% of formaldehyde from its hemicelluloses while H2 treated pine can have a level of more than 50%. In most countries, H2 treated timber is not recognized as a wood treatment because it has been treated by chemicals, other than those recognized in building products.

Timber processed using H2 treated pine emits greater quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as acetone and methylene chloride which can cause health problems when used for indoor flooring or wall panels long term. This doesn’t apply to all types of timber but it’s best practice to avoid using H2 treated pine impregnated timber if you intend to use it for long term projects or inside of your home.

When these things are combined, H3 treated pine is the alternative of choice unless H2 treated pine has been treated with PF resins which can be used legally in most countries, but only if it meets all criteria of EN 350-2 including low formaldehyde emissions (less than 1%). However, there are other wood preservatives that don’t require an environmental label.

All this means is that H3 treated pine may not be as environmentally friendly as some would like you to think simply because it still pollutes water and air with toxins during processing and long after installation. It may outlast untreated pine but only by a small margin. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a better choice than other types of preservatives, but not the absolute best alternative. In my opinion, you could choose your materials on price and availability rather than environmental impact because this may have a greater impact on the life of your building.

The bottom line is that while there are some important differences between H2 and H3, only one of them offers an improvement over untreated wood without any drawbacks associated with using chemicals in construction techniques. It would be great to see manufacturers develop more environmentally friendly alternatives such as organic solvents which could offer a win-win situation for both people and the planet.

What is Treated Pine Timber with in Australia?

Timber from sustainable sources is dried by natural methods with little exposure to high temperatures. It does not require chemical treatments or the use of formaldehyde, but some suppliers spray timber with a water-based adhesive that contains formaldehyde as a preservative against insect attack. In Australia timber treated practice is strictly regulated and low in VOCs, however, products treated in this fashion do not meet International environmental standards. Formaldehyde can also be used in kiln drying processes for engineered timbers such as plywood, particleboard and medium-density fibreboard (MDF).

Pine floorboards can be stained when raw to improve appearance. This process typically involves adding a pigment to the oil when conditioning the boards before manufacture.

The two main types of stains available are water-based and oil-based. These base coatings either soak into the raw timber or sit on top of it, respectively.

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