What is 'tanalised' wood?

Updated: 9/13/2023
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'TANALISED' timber has been impregnated with a preservative solution under high vacuum pressure in an industrial vessel. This treatment process ensures deep penetration into the timber cells, for a longer-lasting protective result against fungal decay and insect attack than the application of a surface coating. Pressure-treated timber is leach resistant, ensuring a long and trouble-free service life in a wide range of conditions, and assured performance in sensitive environments such as vegetable plots and areas of wildlife. Desired service lives range from 60 years for internal timbers and 30 years for external timbers such as fence posts in ground contact. The treated timber initially assumes a green colouration, which fades to a honey brown over time and eventually a silver grey. No surface applied product is needed to maintain the integrity of the treatment. Timber treatments are specified in line with BS8417, in order to ensure that an appropriate level is given according to the end use of the timber. The Use Class system is an indicator as to how the timber should be treated in order to match its end use. In the UK, 'TANALITH E' is the latest generative preservative, utilising a copper azole formulation which incorporates biocides that are also used to protect food crops. 'TANALISED', and 'TANALITH' (the preservative) are both internationally registered trade marks of the preservative manufacturer, Arch Timber Protection. These brands have been established since the 1940s, and are a key signature of treatment quality. An alternative to high-pressure treatments is VACSOL, which is a product applied under low pressure to create an envelope seal of protection. VACSOL Aqua is a water-based formulation, commonly used in the UK and across parts of Europe, and can impart a 60 year desired service life against fungal decay and insect attack for constructional timbers. Visit for further details of the Arch Timber Protection product range.

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Q: What is 'tanalised' wood?
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How to test to see if wood has been tanalised?

For more on tanalised wood check out the following:

What is h5 tanalised wood?

Tanalised is a term used in Europe for wood that has been treated to resist rot and insects. In the US it is known as CCA, after the metals used in treating the wood- Chrome, Copper, and Arsenic. This wood has been withdrawn from consumer contact applications- like handrails, surface deck boards, etc, due to concerns about arsenic leaching out of the wood. Wood treated with arsenic should NOT be burned due to health hazards, and safety measures should be taken to avoid breathing dust if sand, sawing or routing treated lumber.

Is tanalising an oil based or water based wood treatment?

TANALISED pressure treated timber has been impregnated with TANALITH E, a waterborne product.

Can tanalised wood be painted?

TANALISED timber relates to timber that has been industrially treated with TANALITH preservative under vacuum in an enclosed treatment vessel. The preservative manufacturer, Arch Timber Protection, has a website at with a Consumer Information Sheet which contains advice regarding compatible glues for TANALISED E pressure treated timber. A range of glues are advised, depending on the end use of the treated timber.

Can you get arsenic poisoning from handling Tanalised wood?

Tanalised timber refers to wood that has been industrially treated using a controlled vacuum pressure process with the Tanalith preservative.Tanalith C preservative contains chromated copper arsenate. In Europe, the use of Tanalised C pressure treated timber was restricted in 2006, and its successor in this market is Tanalised E pressure treated timber, which contains copper and triazole biocides.Timber treated with any Tanalith preservative is resistant to leaching but should be handled with care and any exposed skin is recommended to be washed before eating, drinking or going to the toilet. Avoid handling treated timber that is wet.See the Related links for more information.

Do I need to put wood preserver on tantalised timber?

No not really . Tanalised timer is pressure treated with a preservative to resist water ingress. However. it can be over coated with more water proofing agent if you feel that the weather conditions you have are that harsh. Points to remember: the tanalisation product can contain chemicals that are harmful to plant life near it and also to humans. Its a good practice to wear a face mask if sanding the wood, cutting or breaking up. You should never really burn this wood off as the chemicals can become air borne. If adding water resistant agents to tanalised wood (the wood should if high grade tanalisation last some 40 plus years) do not use water based proofer as this will only sit on the woods surface. Adding paints etc. are also an issue as these if water based will not sink into the wood surface, this is a common mistake when people use tanalised wood for decking and sheds etc - they paint it after and cannot understand that why the coating is peeling away sometime after

Will tanalised timber twist in hot dry conditions?


Can you burn tanalised wood on your fire?

Tantalized wood is industrially treated with the tanalith preservative. Tanalith treated wood is highly toxic and should not be burned in open fires or in homes. The chemicals released in the smoke and concentrated in the ashes is toxic and causes a variety of flu-like symptoms that vary depending on the severity of exposure.

What will happen to your health if you burn tanalised timber in an open fire?

Tanalised timber refers to wood that has been industrially treated using a controlled vacuum pressure process with Tanalith preservative. Tanalised and Tanalith are registered trade marks of Arch Timber Protection, and may not be used to describe other formulations.Tanalith C preservative contains chromated copper arsenate (CCA). In Europe, the use of Tanalised C pressure treated timber was restricted in 2006, and its replacement there is Tanalised E pressure treated timber, which contains copper and triazole biocides - which are commonly used to protect food crops.The options for disposal of Tanalised wood are dependent on the formulation of Tanalith preservative that the timber was treated with, which can be identified by analysis. The Code of Practice in Related Links gives recommended advice on how treated timber can be disposed of effectively.Tanalised E may be burned in approved industrial incinerators, but should not be burned in open fires or home wood burners. Please see the Related Link for more detailed information.When burned, Tanalised C or CCA treated timber releases toxic chemicals into the air and concentrates them in the ash. The treatment of this timber may incorporate Copper, Chrome and Arsenic. These can all be classed as heavy metal toxins. Symptoms will vary depending on the degree of poisoning but can include:loss of appetite,nausea,vomiting,diarrhoea,skin tingling,cramping of muscles,seizures,hearing loss,sleepiness,confusion,headaches,fainting,dizziness.

Can you burn tanalised wood in your wood burning stove?

NO!!! Tanilised wood is another term for lumber that has been chemically treated to resist rot and insects. The chemical used are CCA- copper, chrome, and arsenic. Chrome and Arsenic are especially toxic, and this wood is no longer sold in the US for "Consumer contact" lumber, such as decks, handrails, etc. Burning this wood in a wood stove or fireplace can expose you to very high levels of toxic metals. Illness or death is a strong possibility. Respiratory protection (a respirator or mask) should be worn when cutting or sanding this wood, and wash hands after handling it.

Will tanalised timber split?

Tanalizing, an impregnation with a copper chrome arsenate, only improves the timber's durability. Whilst the timber is wet, its splitting tendency will be reduced.

Does tanalised timber protect from dry rot?

It will help, but the best way to prevent dry rot is to keep timber dry and to ensure it gets enough ventilation.